For the first installment of this series we’ll focus on several statistical categories for pitchers in Pine Tar. This should be short and sweet, but hopefully enlightening. My hope is that everyone can gain a better understanding of the top players in our league. Just remember all stats are taken after Game 40.The first category we will look at is SO/9, this stat shows us what pitcher has the best Strikeout Rate per 9 innings (duh). Why do we look at SO/9 though? Well, for one thing, the “K” is pitching’s homerun, all the chicks dig the K. More importantly, the SO/9 statistic shows us which pitcher is making people miss; hence, keeping runners off base and helping their team win. To make this statistic work, I choose the 10 top starters and 10 top relievers (both middle relief and closers) based on the number of Innings Pitched, Games Started, Games Appeared and Save Opportunities.
Top SO/9 Starting Pitchers:
1. Alex Martis (HOU/RHP) – Martis has a SO/9 of 10.5 in 8 Games. However, Martis is plagued by short starts and a porous bullpen managing a record of 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA.
2. Rock Randall (STL/RHP) – Randall is the Arch Angels’ young flamethrower who has a SO/9 of 10.2 in 8 Games. Randall also sports a sweet 2.45 ERA.
3. Sean Shipley (STL/LHP) – Shipley is the Arch Angels’ other young stud pitcher who sports a 10.1 SO/9 with 8 Games Started. Shipley is looking at a 4-1 record with a 2.56 ERA.
4. Orlando Cruz (DUR/RHP) – Cruz has a SO/9 of 9.9 in 8 Games with the Doormats. Cruz has a strong supporting cast for his starts, he has a flat 81 pitches thrown per start with 40 IP but holds a record of 4-1.
5. Miguel Rivera (SEA/RHP) – Rivera is the Strikers 5th starter AND has the league’s 5th best SO/9 at 9.8. However, Rivera has control issues as evidenced by his 2-2 record and an ERA of 5.19.
6. Hipolito Owen (BOS/RHP) – Owen has anchored the Pilgrims staff all season and holds a SO/9 of 9.7. Owen has only started 7 games and last around 5 innings each outing.
7. Enrique Santiago (DOV/RHP) – Santiago has a SO/9 of 9.5 in 8 games.
8. Vinny Napoli (STL/LHP) – Napoli, the Arch Angels’ 5th starter, has a SO/9 of 9.1, basically a strikeout per inning pitched. Napoli has stamina issues only going 39.2 innings in 8 starts this year.
9. Sammy Johnson (DOV/LHP) – Johnson has a SO/9 of 8.9 in 8 games and is the only pitching in this Top 10 list to have a losing record at 3-4. However, Johnson also has the most decisions in this list.
10. Bill Crabtree (VC/RHP) – Crabtree enters the Top 10 only because of Larry Brow’s (Nashville Nalas) DL status. Crabtree has a SO/9 of 8.6 (Brow sits at 8.8).
Top SO/9 Relief Pitchers (min 10 games or min 5 SVO):
1. Tom Leonard (MON/LHP) – The Leaf Blowers’ pure closer, Leonard has 6 Saves on the season with 8 SVO and sports an outstanding 12.5 SO/9. Leonard is helped by only pitching 8.2 innings.
2. Apollo Fletcher (NAS/LHP) – The Nalas’ closer, Fletcher has appeared in 13 games with 11 SVO and produced a 11.7 SO/9.
3. Stretch Teixeira (PHI/RHP) – Stretch is listed as the MoneyMakers Long Reliever but with a SO/9 of 11.6 a role change may be needed.
4. Jesus Amezaga (NO/LHP) – Amezaga has appeared in 14 games as the Zephyrs Closer but has recorded a Save in each of his 7 opportunities, no doubt spurred by his 11.3 SO/9.
5. Chico Guerrero (STL/RHP) – Guerrero is the first Setup pitching on the list and represents the Arch Angels’ fourth addition to these top K-men. With a SO/9 of 10.5 in 19.2 IP, Guerrero has been the go-to for St. Louis when they need a bridge to help them to reach the later innings and Guerrero’s 25 appearances proves his worth.
6. Brendan Taylor (IA/RHP) – Taylor has a respectable 9.9 SO/9 for the Hawkeyes appearing in 24 games with a record of 3-1, 5 SV (5 SVO), truly one of the most dependable relievers in the game.
7. Dennis Coleman (IA/LHP) – The other side of the Hawkeyes coin is Coleman whose relief work has earned him 9.7 SO/9 in 23 games. Coleman’s 0-2 and 1 BSV may be a sign of instability.
8. Tony Moreno (HOU/RHP) – Moreno has a SO/9 of 9.6 with appearances as the Roughnecks’ Long Reliever in 13 games this season.
8. Jamie Saito (STL/RHP) – One more pitcher from St. Louis, Saito has appeared in 17 games in Long Relief and put up 9.6 SO/9.
10. Esteban Avila (CHA/LHP) – Avila has 20 appearances for the Knights and a 9.5 SO/9.
You might still be saying, whoopty-doo, what does it all mean? When you look at these rates: 12.5 or 8.6; you should be thinking to yourself, “that’s around a strikeout per inning/that’s 1 batter I don’t have to worry about.” It helps you plan and move your pitchers around on the rotation or possible add to a Closer’s pitch count (Tom Leonard). To go deeper let’s take four of the above pitchers, Alex Martis and Rock Randall as well as Tom Leonard and Apollo Fletcher.
These four represent the top of their roles. But with high SO/9, what happens when they don’t get the K? For this we’ll look at their BABIP (Batted Average of Balls In Play).
· Martis – 10.5 SO/9 – .259 BABIP
· Randall – 10.2 SO/9 - .283 BABIP
· Leonard – 12.5 SO/9 - .116 BABIP
· Fletcher – 11.7 SO/9 - .507 BABIP
Well, it was looking good until Fletcher. The first three pitchers all have very respectable BABIPs (.300 is considered league average in the MLB). Leonard is by far the best Closer in the game with a .116 BABIP. That means 89% of the balls hit into play will not result in a Hit.
But, the Grim Reaper known as Apollo Fletcher shows that he better strike the batter out or more than likely that batter is getting a hit.
We’ve just scratched the surface and it’s getting late. I’ll try to get a batter statistical breakdown sometime this week. It’s amazing the amount of time it takes to look at all of the players in our league. Stay Frosty!