A Great Line From The Book | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

In Chapter 7 of The Book, Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, and Andy Dolphin discuss starting pitchers. One section deals with the question of whether a pitcher should start or relieve.

It stands to reason then that you put your better pitchers, on average, in the starting rotation. We can go through each team and we’d find this to be true. While you might have one team with an Eric Gagne or Trevor Hoffman, and so the #1 reliever is better than the #1 starter, it is more likely that the #1 reliever falls in somewhere among the top two starters.

Having experienced both the Gagne era and Hoffman era in Milwaukee, it can be hard to imagine a time when this statement was true.

Of course, when The Book was written, in the early parts of the 2000s, these players were truly dominant pitchers. Gagne had a crazy 1.14 xFIP in 2003 and may have been the most dominant pitcher against right handed batters of all time. We saw Hoffman pitch like a Hall of Famer just last season.

I recommend that everybody who reads this site also reads The Book. It completely changed the way that I look at baseball and offers some great insights to the game, even if it is a bit on the heavy side. Check it out if you’re at all interested in sabermetrics.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Jamal G. says: June 14, 2010

    “It completely changed the way that I look at baseball …”

    Same here. What I have realized after reading The Book is that the two most misunderstood things amongst baseball fans are bullpen management and bunting. I really had a complete and utter turnaround on my view of bunting after reading.

    RE: your tweet about the league-average wOBA now being .326, do you see an offensive rebound coming anytime soon? If the league-average hitter is so poor, that likely correlates to teams now more willing to carry a poor hitter that brings tremendous value via his play in the field and on the basepaths, no? Unless a drastic market correction takes place with those types of players, is it likely that the more playing time they receive correlates to the lessening of the chance we will ever see league-average offence return to that .335-.340 range?

  2. James son of Zebedee says: June 14, 2010

    I would love to see a blown-out discussion of pitcher or position player role fluidity. i.e. When does it make sense to move position players up the positional adjustment ladder to maximize value? What have the examples of this shown by career stage? When does it make sense to move a pitcher from a relief role to starting role, vice versa. Is it strictly xFIP dependent? Is it batted ball profile dependent?


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