Friday, May 30, 2008

Reversing the WHIP

We're far enough into the season that I enjoy looking for statistical oddities amongst the player pool. With that large of a sample size, there are always going to be a few strange outcomes.

It's pretty axiomatic in baseball that any pitcher with a significant amount of innings is going to have a higher ERA than WHIP, right? I mean, the opposite just doesn't happen.

Last year, only one pitcher with 20 or more innings managed to reverse his WHIP. That would be Joba Chamberlain, who pitched 24 innings, had 35 Ks, and managed a .38/.75 split. Pretty impressive, and a sign of things to come.

A couple guys did it in 2006. Brian Bruney, in an injury-shortened season, had an entirely implausible .87/1.40(!!) split in 20.2 IP. He managed 25 Ks. Far more impressively, Dennys Reyes in 50.2 IP had ratios of .89/.99, with 49 Ks.

So, who has a chance to join this group? Well, actually I'd guess no one will do it, but here are the candidates amongst those who have pitched more than 10 innings:

Tim Byrdak (ATL) -- 0.00/1.29, 6 Ks in 14 IP (yeah right)
E. Ramirez (NYY) -- 0.00/1.14, with 15 Ks in 14 IP (this guy's really under the radar)
M. Rivera (NYY) -- 0.39/0.52, with 21 Ks in 23 IP (damn, that WHIP's low!)
B. Wagner (NYM) -- 0.41/0.82 with 25 Ks in 22 IP (draft day steal?)
B.J. Ryan (TOR) -- 0.53/1.12, with 20 Ks in 17 IP (maybe he can do it. High WHIP plus injury?)
B. Lidge (PHI) -- 0.82/1.00 with 26 Ks in 22 IP
H. Okajima (BOS) -- 0.82/.95 with 25 Ks in 22 IP

So, what conclusions can we draw from this list? Probably not many, as none of these guys are likely to keep this up because it's just so friggin' hard. I would say that Byrdak is definitely on the road to an ERA explosion, and the others on their way to career years unless something goes really wrong. Also, this list further emphasizes that when you take high-strikeout pitchers, the ratios, by and large, are going to be better.

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