Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Astros acquire Kevin Chapman

In the trade to Kansas City, the Astros received Kevin Chapman and a player to be named later (whom Jeff Luhnow noted would be the "key component" of the trade).

Kevin Chapman (24 years old, 6'4", 210lb) was the Royals' 4th Round pick in 2010, and has been a reliever his entire professional career. In 54 games he has thrown 80IP, striking out 110, and walking 36. He spent 2010 at High-A Wilmington, and 2011 between Wilmington and Double-A NW Arkansas.

While the Orlando Sentinel said his fastball hit 96 while at Florida, Chapman said this, about his pitches:
On a good day my fastball is at 92-94, slider 80-83, change-up 83-85. On an off day I really just focusing on getting ahead of the hitters and keeping the ball low in the strike zone.

He missed the entire 2008 season due to Tommy John surgery, but "is now considered one of the better relievers in his draft class."

Looking at his FanGraphs page, there are some major inconsistencies with his ERA/FIP:

2010 ERA: 5.50
2010 FIP: 3.20
2011 ERA: 4.84 (High-A)
2011 FIP: 1.14 (High-A)
2011 ERA: 4.99 (Double-A)
2011 FIP: 4.06 (Double-A)

He has posted BABIPs of .339, .451, and .337 on his pro lines, so don't freak out when you see his ERA.


Anonymous said...

Do unlucky runs count on the scoreboard?

BABIP is one of the most useless of tools. Guys that are easy to square up have higher BABIP, guys that induce weak contact have a lower BABIP. That is a pitching skill by the way. That there is some imaginary mean for BABIP is pure folly.

Not to say this guy won't be good, or that his ERA in the minors means all that much, just wanted to attack one of the most misused and useless metrics in baseball.

Sorry to be a jerk, as I love this site, but BABIP drives me nuts.

Anonymous said...

Roy Halladay career babip-.292
Gil Meche career babip-.291
Felix Hernandez career babip-.297
Mike Maroth career babip-.303
C.C Sabathia career babip-.291
Roy Oswalt career babip-.296
Kip Wells career babip-.299

Most pitchers are going to fit into a range. There will always be outliers, but you get what I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

So, you are saying that to last in MLB, you have to have a pitching skill that prevents getting squared up all the time? I get that. Those that do get squared up all the time have higher BABIP, either don't progress up the ladder, or don't last.

Have you ever seeen a pitcher get shelled, or a pitcher on his game inducing weak contact? In the BABIP world, one is unlucky and one is lucky. Why one would overlook obvious explanations to explain the phenomenon, and instead resort to a poorly conceived overlay is beyond me.

Ironically, it is basically anti-science coming from the "science-oriented" folks in baseball. An intellectually dishonest theory that doesn't even begin to explain the phenomenon.

Terence said...

Just because you don't understand DIPS theory, doesn't mean you should call it anti-science and useless. BABIP is an extremely useful tool if you understand it and use it the way it's supposed to be used.

There is a BABIP mean and to claim there isn't is extremely ignorant. Last year it was .291 and a great pitcher is just as likely to be above it as below it. One guy with exactly a .291 BABIP last year was Cliff Lee. Another was Fausto Carmona. Are you telling me that batters square up Lee as well as they do Carmona? Lee has no substantial skill to make hitters miss more than Carmona? That's foolish. Last yar Guillermo Moscoso led all pitchers in MLB with at least 100 innings in BABIP. Are you telling me Mr Moscoso is the best pitcher in the majors at inducing weak contact?

You're just mad because the numbers are telling you something you don't want to believe. Go read a book.

Anonymous said...

First off, why would one exclude home runs. One would only exclude home runs if one was interested in culling data to support a pre-determined theory. It's like this: one observer gets a notion that some pitchers (or hitters) are luckier than others, then they run off seeking data to support that notion, and a theory is born. If you don't know, that is not how science works. I think I even read that in a book once.

As to your examples, I have no first hand observation of their pitching to comment on their ability, but why would I want to analyze some subset of outcomes to determine how batters fair against them.

As to your point about what numbers I want to believe, I'n not sure what you are talking about. All I assume is when I see a guy with a plus 400 BABIP, I assume he was getting tagged and not demonstrating much pitching skill. You assume he was merely unlucky, like it was entirely outside of his control.

You should read less books, observe more athletics, or maybe pitch to some batters so that you can realize you do have control over much of your pitching fate. Far more than BABIP fools can apparently admit.

Terence said...

I am going to attempt to be mature and polite here (it is a struggle for me). But it is obvious from what you are saying, that you have not attempted to study DIPS theory, and that you do not understand what it is, or what it is meant to tell us. If you had, your questions would be answered, and you would not talk the way you do. There are people and resources much better suited to explain it you than I am, but I'm going to give it an honest attempt.

First BABIP does not equal luck. BABIP=Fielder Ability+Fielder Inability+Fielder Positioning+Ballpark Factors+Statistical Probability and Variance (Luck if you prefer). Major League BABIP means have very little to do with minor league performance, and almost nothing at all in common with A level baseball. When you see that 45% of Mr Chapman's balls in play turned into hits that tells you nothing about his ability. It gives you no idea of how he will perform in the future. It tells you that he had terrible defense behind him. He had highly improbably outcomes (or was definitely unlucky.) In the future you would expect more of his balls in play to turn into outs, and that he would allow fewer runs. Especially in MLB. In the minor leagues Jordan Lyles had BABIP's of (.278,.342,.327,.328, and .397). Last year in 100 MLB innings it was .307.

How can I say with confidence that BABIP is not a skill? Because smarter men than I have studied thousands of pitchers, over hundreds of thousands of innings, and determined that pitchers can not control whether balls in play turn into outs or not. I know you disagree with that statement. If you disagree with that statement scientifically prove it through it through a number, don't tell me about hard hit balls and weak contact.

In the decade of the aught's (2000-09) MLB BABIP was .294. The top ten pitchers of that decade had BABIP's of .298,.293,.297,.279,.304,.289,.304,.311,.299,.275. That is an average BABIP of .295. If BABIP was a skill the best pitchers of the decade would be much better than statistically average. Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay, Javier Vazques, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, CC Sabathia, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, and John Sanatana are great pitchers. We can look at their K%, their LD%, and SwST% and tell that they are hard to hit. It is difficult to "square them up." Yet they are statistically indifferent from thousands of other pitchers who pitched in the same environment. BABIP is not a skill.

Anonymous said...

I never said BABIP is a skill; I said inducing weak contact is a skill, and it is. A pitcher geting hit hard, will yield a higher BABIP than one inducing soft contact. This is apparent to any honest observer. Only those with multiple statistical veils over their eyes have difficulty recognizing this phenomenon.

A thought experiment: just put 100 pitchers out there, ranging from a little league slacker to Halladay. Let them have a 1,000 balls hit of them by major league hitters with the same fielders, in the same feilding position, in the same ballpark, etc.. Let's perform this experiment 1,000 times. Now the kicker: We'll actually put our money based on our theories. I get to bet on Halladay 1,000 times and you get to bet on the little league scrub. Just to overcome your possible concern about falling on the wrong side of randomness, I'll put in $10 to your $9.

If you are true to your belief, you will have no problem with this bet, as you assume it will be a push with each of us winning roughly half, and you will come out ahead due to my proportional gift.

To one of your other points: it is not surprising that if you cull out all the bad pitchers on earth, and select only the best, their abilities (as described by a ridiculous stat) will appear to cluster around some mean. I also realize their is an element of variability/randomness from year to year, and this population will move around within a range fitting their great skill relative to the rest of pitchers on earth, but that hardly leads toa conclusion/theory that pitchers have no control over how hard a ball will be hit, and thus the likelihood of it being and out.

Imasalmon said...

I think that the error is in only looking at BAPIP. A high BAPIP could be the result of ridiculously bad fielding behind the pitcher, or could be the result of the pitcher not inducing weak contact. BAPIP is just one tool in the overall construction of a player profile. It is not, and should not ever be touted as a stand alone predictor.