2011 Pitcher Ability Ratings

One thing I enjoy doing is drawing pictures on my computer. They usually have something to do with the Indians, and this one is no exception.

The goal here was to create a kind of video game style ability rating system, that could be used to compare players skills against one another.

The top hexagon is a representation of the perfect pitcher. Each category is based on a scale from 0-99, which was developed using every Indian to ever pitch more than 60 innings in his career. The abilities are based on a players average season (basically their career numbers divided number of years played).

The abilities I have rated are:

Durability – Games played per season. Very high for most relievers and medium for starters. Often injured players or those who spend more time in the minors, than the majors will be very low in this ability.

Endurance – Innings pitched per game. Very high for most starters, very low for pure relievers.

Contact Against – Hits allowed. The best in this are pitchers who can get through innings without allowing too many base runners.

Power Against – Home runs allowed. Separate from hits as these are the only hits that fielders have nothing to do with.

Control – Ability to throw strikes compared to balls.

Swing & Miss – Ability for those strikes to miss bats.

Fausto Carmona: The ace. Like all starters Fausto has a higher ‘Endurance’ rating than ‘Durability’, but his levels aren’t as extreme as others, because he spent time as a closer (oops)  in 2006 and in the minors in 2009. Carmona’s best quality is that he has no bad quality. Many pitchers are great at striking batters out, but give up a lot of homers. Other pitchers don’t walk anybody, but give up lots of hits. Carmona is right in the middle of everything. Hopefully this season, Carmona can get back to his 2007 form and will increase his averages in ‘Control’, ‘Endurance’ and ‘Power Allowed’.

Justin Masterson: The number 3 guy. Why is number 3, number 2? Because I made this a month ago when I didn’t know the rotation. Overall Masterson is pretty even with Carmona, with one exception. Justin is way better at striking people out, with only a small drop off in his control. Masterson’s has earned a score of 73 out of a max of 99 in the ‘Swing & Miss’ category. If he can keep this up, he will be one of the greatest Indians strike out pitchers ever. Right now he is rated just slightly under C.C. Sabathia in that category.

Carlos Carrasco: Number 2. Carrasco has a funny looking shape, because he’s been injured and in the minors, so he hasn’t pitched many games per season. When he does pitch, though, he pitches deep into the game. Carlos also gives up a ton of hits while having great control and striking out a lot of batters.

Mitch Talbot: The 5 guy. Talbot is another well rounded pitcher, in the vein of Fausto Carmona. Talbot is a little better in ‘Endurance’ and ‘Power Against’, while Carmona is a little better in everything else. Since Talbot only has one season with the Tribe, it will be interesting to see if he can keep up his success from 2010.

Josh Tomlin: #4. When you make a lot of these, you notice that different types of pitchers have different shapes. Tomlin’s shape is shared by Cliff Lee, Sonny Siebert and Luis Tiant (I will publish historical pitchers at a later date). Take that for what its worth, since Tomlin had just over 70 IP in 2010, barely qualifying for this project. Tomlin is another young starter, like everyone else, except Fausto, who will be fun to watch in 2011.

Four Relievers –

Joe Smith: The best Indians reliever on the 15 Day DL. Looking at these for awhile, you will find that Joe Smith has the prototypical relief pitcher shape. Relief pitchers in general tend to have extremely high ‘Swing & Miss’ and ‘Contact Against’ scores, while having zero or almost zero scored for ‘Endurance’. All these derive from pitching to only a couple batters at a time, usually batters that they are predicted to be successful against. Using this system, one of the best Indians relievers of all time was Paul Assemacher, who’s stats were no doubt inflated by only pitching against left handed hitters, which he was particularly good at getting out.

Tony Sipp: The Set-Up Man. Sipp is an extremist in every way. There isn’t a more all or nothing player that I’ve made a picture for. Every one of Sipps ability ratings is either over 85 or under 10. This relates very well to his 2010 season, when, if Sipp was throwing well, he would strike out the side and never let a runner on. However, if he was pitching against the Yankees he would allow more home runs in one inning than are ethically reasonable.

Rafael Perez: The wily veteran? Perez is much more well rounded than the other relievers on the staff this year. That doesn’t make him better or worse, but it is nice to know there is one guy in the pen who can pitch more than one inning and not necessarily allow a home run.

Chris Perez: The fire-balling Closer. He’s thrown less than 100 innings for the Indians and I’m ready to call him the best Tribe closer ever.  His 97 in ‘Contact Against’ beats all other current Indians pitchers and his 98 in ‘Swing & Miss’ beats everyone, but Tony Sipp. All this, plus what you can’t see in this picture. His hair and beard are fantastic and everyone knows that in order to be a World Series winning closer, you need a giant beard.

This visual representation has been edited to fit this format. Click here for the original. Look for more of this style of post from me in the future.

Joe Coblitz

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since its inception in 2011. He also writes for The Outside Corner and the Comeback and hosts the Tribe Time Now podcast. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians. Follow on twitter @BurningRiverBB