Luck Factor Continued: AL Starting Pitchers

Photo taken from Google Images

As John Lennon once said, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I love baseball, but baseball doesn’t pay the bills. This happens to be the busy season at work, so I had to sit on all of the luck factor data I had generated. I know all of you were waiting with baited breath to see the rest of the results. As it stands, it is more about making sure it gets out before the season begins. Making pronouncements in May or June is really hollow.


For those who have no idea what I am talking about, the last time I looked at projected lineups for the American and National Leagues. Essentially, luck factor is a crude metric I created to account for the differences between a hitter’s BABIP and the league average. Other factors are included as well. Grounded into double plays and home run per outfield rates were also included. For pitchers, the luck factor is a mirror image. In their case, we look at defensive efficiency rating, home run rate (like with the hitters), and left on base percentage. I usually like to take a quick look at the numbers first, but here’s a few quick words before we begin. The numbers you see represent 2010 numbers but projected 2011 rotations. Each team has six starters in their rotation. Obviously very few teams make it through with only one extra starter, but we have to cut it off somewhere.


With the hitters we did not see any strong correlations outside of luck factor, but here we do see one major correlation. As DERs go up so do LOB percentages. This makes perfect sense of course. If you can get to more balls then fewer hits will occur in all situations. So, if you improve your fielding then you go a long way to improving ERA. Naturally, this means that FIPs are far more predictive than ERA.


Considering that the Blue Jays have shed so much payroll over the last few years (dealing Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells, and Alex Rios) they are likely to fly under the radar. With even an average fielding season, the rotation will surprise a lot of folks. Count in a fairly dynamic offense and they could challenge for as high as third place in the daunting AL East. On the flip side, the Mariners and Athletics look better than they actually are. Obviously, in the Mariners case this is a bit scary indeed.


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