I'm going to take a break from Runs Credited for this post to focus on pitching for a minute.
I've been in an NL-only old school roto 4x4 fantasy baseball league since 1989. The other owners are sharks. Seriously, like Great White Sharks. I'm a bit ashamed to admit how badly I get my ass kicked some years. The owners are so shrewd, it's nearly impossible to have any kind of edge, as every owner knows every NL player as well as many of the minor leaguers.
Back in February, I was preparing for this year's auction, focusing on pitchers. I was just thinking about what makes them good and whatnot when I dreamed up a new stat. I can't publicly say what the stat is*, but it does make sense** that good pitchers are good at this and poor pitchers are poor at it, regardless of whether they are starters or relievers.
I calculated this stat, I'll call it Stat X, for every NL pitcher with 25 or more innings pitched. I chose 25 innings because Ryan Franklin pitched 27 2/3 innings, or rather 27 2/3 horrendous innings in his disastrous 2011 season. I figured if a pitcher didn't pitch more than Ryan Franklin, I'm not interested in him. I quickly calculated the mean and standard deviation for Stat X, then determined the corresponding z-score for each pitcher. Voila, Stat X, ready to be scrutinized.
Before going any further, I just want to say that these are the results from 2011, and their predictive value, like any other stat from last year, is entirely questionable and, well, unknown.
There are some interesting z-scores on the list. Let's start with Sergio Romo, the highest on this list. His z-score compelled me to look up his other stats from last year, and I found that he did indeed have an excellent year. I picked him up at the auction along with Joe Blanton (z-score 1.83) and Jeff Karstens (z-score 1.58) based on their Stat X from last year. Our league changed the Saves category to Saves + Holds/2 starting this year, so Romo has been especially valuable. Blanton has not been as good as he was last year, but he has a z-score of .93 for this year as of his last outing for Stat X, so he remains on my team for now. Karstens has been hurt, but his return is imminent.
On Philadelphia's staff, Hamels, Lee, and Halladay were quite good at Stat X. Hamels rated a little better last year, and he may be better than Lee and Halladay again this year due to injuries.
On the other end of the spectrum, Carlos Marmol, Brian Wilson, Edinson Volquez, and Heath Bell rated very poorly last year. Volquez has been better this year, perhaps because of the change in scenery, but the others are doing poorly this year as well, so beware.
Finally, what's the deal with Christhian Martinez? He had the third-best z-score (1.85) last year. His other stats were also very good. This year, he has pitched well, except for a 10 day stretch in mid-May. The Braves, though, only use him for long relief mop up duty. I realize they have a great thing going with O'Flaherty, Venters, and Kimbrel to finish close games off, but Martinez is wasting away. Some team ought to make an offer on him.
*If I gave away publicly what this stat is, the other owners will seriously make me pay for it. I'm willing to show you what I came up with - just click the link that says "Stat X". Write me and convince me you're not in my fantasy league, and I'll even tell you what Stat X is.
**I ran this by a couple of people whose baseball wisdom I respect, and they agreed that Stat X is potentially a valuable pitching stat.