Friday, 18 April 2014

Third Time's the Charm

This is the third time I have started writing this blog post, and it's starting to get annoying. I am in a car passing the time. I started writing twice on my phone and I guess don't know how to properly use the app yet so both of my drafts are gone. This attempt is on the iPad - hopefully it works. If you are reading this, it worked.

Okay. The title of this post should be and originally was: PedroBot2000.

This (of course) refers to the great Pedro Martinez, pitching what was his greatest season, in 2000. He went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA. You could make the argument (and I'm not sure I would, but I also haven't looked closely enough) that this was the greatest pitching season there has ever been.

Quickly, I'll list some of the greatest single season pitching performances I can think of, in chronological order, not in the order I am thinking of them.

Old Hoss Radbourn, 1884
Christy Mathewson, 1905
Smokey Joe Wood, 1912
Walter Johnson, 1912 or 1913
Lefty Grove, 1931
Sandy Koufax... Pick one from the mid 1960s
Bob Gibson, 1968
Steve Carlton, 1972
Ron Guidry, 1978
Dwight Gooden, 1985
Roger Clemens, 1986
Greg Maddux, 1994 or 1995,
Steroid Roger Clemens, 1997
Randy Johnson, 2001 or 2002
Clayton Kershaw, 2013 (he was pretty freaking good)

And yes, Pedro. 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002. Even 2003. His 7 year peak is ridiculous. But 2000 stands out for a few reasons:
1. A 1.74 ERA during the middle of the steroid era works out to a creepy-good 291 ERA+, the best of all time (or since 1880 which doesn't count in my books). That means he was 191% better than league average. Clayton Kershaw just won his second straight Cy Young award with a 194 ERA+. In the last 10 years, only two starters have gone over 200: Zack Greinke in 2009 (205) and Steroid Roger Clemens in 2005 (226)
2. Hs WHIP was 0.737. That's the best ever for a starting pitcher. It's not that close, either. Only two others have gone below 0.8: Walter Johnson in 1913 and Guy Hecker in 1882. That's not normalized to era, so we can give Pedro extra credit for doing it in the crazy offensive era of 2000. 
3. His 2000 season is something that I can remember and appreciate. I watched Pedro do incredible and amazing things during this time and it was like nothing I have seen before or since. With Greg Maddux, his genius was in getting hitters to just miss and hit pop outs or meek groundouts. With Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens, they would attack hitters and occasionally lose. Pedro made batters look like children. He could see the holes in any swing, and attack mercilessly so it felt like they just did not have a chance. I felt like if he wanted the ball to move in a new way, he could just invent it on the spot. 
4. Pedro put up an 11.7 bWAR. Wow. There have been only 8 seasons since 1900 with better totals, and only 3 since Deadball ended: Steve Carlton 1972 (12.0), Dwight Gooden 1985 (12.2), and Steroid Roger Clemens 1997 (11.9). WAR is a counting stat; think of it as a product of quantity x quality. Clemens pitched 264 innings in 1997. Gooden pitched 276.2 innings in 1985*. Carlton pitched 346.1 innings in 1972. Pedro pitched 217 innings in 2000. To have a similar WAR in so many fewer innings, the quality would have to have been (and was) that much higher.

Pedro was so good that year that I want to go through the process of looking at his season closely, but in a different way: the perfect pitcher, the PedroBot2000. Pedro went 18-6 in 29 starts. How on earth did Pedro lose 6 games? He gave up 42 ER in 217 IP. How on earth did he give up any runs, let alone 42 of them?? Apparently Tanaka, the new Japanese pitcher for the Yankees, went 24-0 during a single Japanese season. How come this wasn't Pedro in 2000? And what would it have taken for something like that to happen?
Game 1: vs Jamie Moyer, a 2-0 victory over Seattle. 
7IP, 2H (both singles) 2BB, 11K, 0ER, Game Score = 82. 108 pitches.
Pedro: (1-0) 0.00 ERA
A well deserved win. 

2. Vs Kent Bottenfield, a 5-2 win over Anaheim. 
7.1 IP, 5H, 1BB, 12K, 1ER, GSc 75. 111 pitches.
Pedro (2-0), 0.63 ERA
PedroBot2000 leaves the game with one out in the 7th and runners on first and second. Derek Lowe comes in and promptly gives up an RBI single before retiring the next two batters. The run is charged to PedroBot2000, his first ER.

3. Vs Tim Hudson, a 14-2 win over Oakland.
7 IP, 5H, 1BB, 9K, 2ER, GSc 67. 93 pitches.
Pedro (3-0), 1.27 ERA
Pedro gives up a home run to Olmedo Saenz to start the 2nd. Up 6-1 in the 3rd, he gives up another run on HBP-1B-1B. He then goes another 4 shutout innings, leaving after 7, up 14-2. Rough start for Tim Hudson!

4. Vs Rick Helling, 6-3 win at Texas.
7IP, 5H, 1BB, 8K, 3R, 2ER, GSc 64, 103 pitches.
Pedro (4-0), 1.59 ERA.
After skipping a start, Pedro returns to beat the Rangers. In the bottom of the 2nd, Gabe Kapler reaches on E3, two runs score (one earned). In the 6th, Pedro gives up a solo HR to Ruben Mateo. The Red Sox score enough to win. 

5. Vs Charles Nagy, 2-1 win over Cleveland's juggernaut lineup.
7IP, 5H, 3BB, 10K, 0ER, GSc 74, 107 pitches.
Pedro (5-0), 1.27 ERA. So far so good.
Pedro shuts down the Indians over 7 innings, working out of a couple of jams. One thing I am noticing from doing this is how the Red Sox used their closer, Derek Lowe, that season. I hit his gave, he relieved Pedro in the 8th after Pedro hit the first batter of the inning. A two out save. This isn't the first time this pattern has appeared, either. Two out saves seem old fashioned, but this was only 14 years ago.

6. Vs Steve Traschel, 1-0 loss to Tampa bay (ouch).
9IP, 6H, 1BB, 17K, 1ER, GSc 87, 130 pitches.
Pedro L (5-1), 1.22 ERA
Pedro records the first 6 outs by strikeout. In the 8th inning, a single, stolen base, and single leads to the game's only run. Sometimes baseball happens this way and Steve Traschel pitches a 3 hit shutout against you, but this first of 6 losses was clearly not on Pedro.

7. Vs Sidney Ponson, 2-0 win over Baltimore.
9.0 IP, 2H, 0BB, 15K, 0ER, GSc 98, 113 pitches.
Pedro W (6-1), 1.01 ERA.
Since the end of 2000, there have been 11 games with a game score of 98 or better. 5 of those 11 were perfect games. This was Pedro's first of two 98s in 2000, an utterly dominant pitching performance. Pedro gave up both singles in the 5th inning; there were no base runners in any other inning.

8. Vs Chris Carpenter, 8-0 win over Blue Jays
7.0 IP, 3H, 2BB, 6K, 0ER, GSc 75, 91 pitches.
Pedro W (7-1), 0.90 ERA
Pedro makes short work of the blue jays, needing only 91 pitches to get through 7. I haven't been loggi ng HBP, but Pedro hit 2 in this game. that was kind of his thing for a while.

9. Vs Chris Carpenter, 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays
8.0 IP, 7H, 3BB, 7K, 3ER, GSc 60, 115 pitches.
Pedro L (7-2), 1.19 ERA
This is by far Pedro's worst start up to this point in the season. He gets torched for three whole runs by the blue jays and takes the loss. The first run scores on a wild pitch. The second run scores on a sacrifice fly. The third run scores on a Tony Batista solo shot. Tough loss. S far Pedro has not thrown a non-"quality start".

10. Vs Roger Clemens, 2-0 victory over the Yankees,  at Yankee Stadium.
9.0 IP, 4H, 1BB, 9K, 0ER, GSc 87, 128 pitches.
Pedro W (8-2), 1.05 ERA
Now this would have been a fun game to be at. Pedro out-duels Roger Clemens, who struck out 13 and did not walk a batter in throwing a complete game in the loss. The game was scoreless until Trot Nixon took Clemens deep with two outs in the top of the 9th. In the bottom, Pedro hit Chuck Knoublach, and allowed a single to Derek Jeter. Then he hit Posada with two outs to load the bases enforce getting Tino Martinez to ground out to end the game. Seriously, I wonder if this is in the archives...

11. Vs Bartolo Colon, 3-0 victory over the Indians.
8.0 IP, 1H, 1BB, 10K, 0ER, GSc 89, 101 pitches.
Pedro W (9-2), ERA 0.95
After skipping a start, Pedro lowers his ERA under 1 on June 8 with a gem against the Indians, in another pitchers duel. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 7th. The Red Sox scored 1 in the 7th and 2 in the 8th to pull out the win. Pedro gave up one double. This caps a 5 game stretch of giving up 0ER four times. 
At this point, Pedro has not yet received a no decision. He could easily be 10-1 or even 11-0 at this point. Of course, he could have also been 0-5 in 11 starts too. Baseball. But still, through 11 starts, he has allowed runs 5 times and allowed no runs 6 times.

12. Vs Roger Clemens, 2-1 loss at New York Yankees.
6.0 IP, 6H, 2BB, 7K, 1ER, GSc 61, 100 pitches.
Pedro ND, (9-2), 0.99 ERA
In the bottom of the first, Pedro loads the bases with a hit by pitch and then walks in a run. Ouch. Clemens leaves the game after the first inning. Ramiro Mendoza comes in and pitches well. Nomad ties the game with a home run. Pedro leaves with the score tied. Tim Wakefield gives up the winning run on a solo HR to Tino Martinez in the 8th. Hard luck no decision for Pedro.

13. Vs Andy Pettite, 3-0 loss to the Yankees
8.0 IP, 5H, 1BB, 9K, 3ER, GSc 68, 117 pitches.
Pedro L (9-3), 1.18 ERA
Pedro has faced the Yankees lineup in 3 of 4 starts. This time he gets Andy Pettite, who gets the best of him. All three runs in this game come from solo home runs: Jeter in the 4th, Bernie Williams in the 7th, and Paul O'Neil in the 8th. Stupid Yankees.

14. Vs Chris Carpenter, 6-5 loss to the blue jays, in 13 innings.
6.2 IP, 6H, 1BB, 10K, 5R, 4ER, GSc 53, 134 pitches.
Pedro ND (9-3)
Imagine what would happen in 2014 if a manager sent his 5'11", 175 lb ace pitcher out for 134 pitches when he did not have anything close to a no hitter going? H would be universally blasted by media and hung out to dry. How the game has changed.
Anyways, Shannon Stewart gets the jays in the board in the first with a solo home run. A HBP, error and a double score an unearned run in the 3rd. Tony Batista hits a solo home run in the 5th; Carlos Delgado adds a two run shot in the 7th. All four earned runs come on three home runs. If you are keeping score at home, it's 7ER on 6HR in two games, as the only earned runs allowed. I'm not sure if this is an indicator of talent or not. I think it speaks more to Pedro's apparent ability to keep runners off base, although HBP continues to be a problem! Then again, maybe he's just hitting guys he wants to pitch around instead of bothering to walk them. I've heard him (I think) say something like if you are going to walk a guy, why not just hit him and save a few bullets in your arm. Haha, Pedro.

15. Vs Bobby Jones, 4-3 victory over the New York mets
7.0 IP, 5H, 1BB, 10K, 2ER, GSc 68, 104 pitches.
Pedro ND (9-3), 1.51 ERA
This start took place 18 days after his last start. Pedro hit the 15 day DL after his blue jays start. Apparently he had been feeling "tight" before that start, and the tightness persisted after his 134 pitch outing. Well.
In this game, the mets scored one run in the second on back to back doubles, and another in the 7th on a Jay Payton solo home run. Pedro left the game after 7 with the game tied. The mets took the lead before the sox walked it off in the bottom of the 9th off of Armando Benitiez. All of these old names! What a trip down memory lane. Pedro certainly pitched well enough for the win, but picks up a no decision here.

16. Vs Javier Vasquez, 3-1 victory over the Montreal Expos
8.0 IP, 5H, 3BB, 12K, 1ER, GSc 77, 128 pitches
Pedro W (10-3), 1.49 ERA
Pedro gave up a triple and a double in the 7th inning to bring in Montreal's only run and tie the game. Boston went ahead in the bottom of the inning to give Pedro the win. Of the three walks issued, two were to Vladmir Guerrero, who is not exactly known for his patience. It's interesting to me to think that part of the approach against the weak Montreal team would be to pitch around the only dangerous hitter in their lineup. Guerrero hit .345 with 44 home runs that year. 23 of his 58 BBs were intentional.

17. vs Mike Sirotka, 1-0 victory against the White Sox
9.0 IP, 6H, 0BB, 15K, GSc 90, 131 pitches.
Pedro W (11-3)
The Red Sox won this game on an unearned run charged to Sirotka, who also threw a complete game. Pedro was dominant, clearly. He got 7 of his last 9 outs by strikeout. By game score, this was his third best start all year, and his third of four shutouts he would pitch.

18. vs Mark Mulder, 4-1 win over Oakland.
7.0 IP, 4H, 1BB, 11K, 1ER, GSc 75, 109 pitches.
Pedro W (12-3), 1.38 ERA
Terrence Long led off the bottom of the first with a home run. That was the last run Oakland would score, not getting much going. Again, all the offence against Pedro came from the home run. Nomar hit a 2 run home run in this game. It is at this point that I am noticing that Boston in 2000 was not a very good team. They were in that they won 85 games and finished second in the AL East, but they were not deep and had few contributors. Nomar collected 7.4 WAR. Carl Everett added 4.6, and Trot Nixon 2.4. No other player was over 2. Only two others (Jason Varitek and Troy O'Leary) were over 1. That's not very good. Pitching wise, Pedro tallied 11.7 WAR, followed by the closer, Derek Lowe, with 3.5. Only two other pitchers reached 2.0: Tomo Ohka with 2.3 in 12 starts, and Rich Garces with 2.0 in a setup role. Not deep.

Boston finished first in the AL by a large margin, with a team ERA of 4.23. Take Pedro off the staff, and that jumps to 4.67, which would have been fourth. I might come back to this later. Turns out this is NOT a short post driven by my use of mobile devices, as I am home now and continuing on a real computer!

19. vs Freddy Garcia, 5-2 victory over Seattle.
9.0 IP, 5H, 2BB, 7K, 2ER, GSc 74, 119 pitches.
Pedro W (13-3), 1.42 ERA
Pedro throws a complete game, gives up two runs, and his ERA goes up! Oops. The Red Sox go up 4-0 in the first, so Pedro cruises for the rest of the game. The Mariners mount a rally in the 8th inning, with 3 of their 5 hits in the game, to score two runs. Finally some good run support early!

20. vs Ramon Ortiz, 2-1 loss to Anaheim.
8.0 IP (CG), 3H, 2BB, 9K, 2 ER, GSc 77, 112 pitches.
Pedro L (13-4), 1.46 ERA
Another 2-run complete game, another increase in ERA. This is the fourth time this year that Pedro has thrown a complete game against a complete game by the opposing pitcher. He is 2-2 in these games. Ramon Ortiz throws a 2 hit one run gem to lower his ERA to 5.17. Pedro gives up a home run to Tim Salmon in the bottom of the second to go down 1-0. The other two hits are singles in the fourth inning. A single followed by a groundout to 1B where the red sox don't turn a double play*; the runner advances to second and is driven home by Garret Anderson. The red sox score one in the 5th, but it is not enough. Pedro loses a tough one!

*The batter is Mo Vaughn. How perfectly must he have hit his groundout to 1B so that they did not have time to throw to second to get the lead runner and throw back to first to get slow Mo?

21. vs. Dave Eiland, 7-3 victory over Tampa Bay
4.0 IP, 6H, 0BB, 6K, 3ER, GSc 44, 63 pitches.
Pedro ND (13-4), 1.59 ERA
This seems to have been a pretty exciting game (for the red sox). Boston fell behind early when Pedro gave up a 3-run home run to Miguel Cairo in the top of the 3rd inning. He left after 4 innings with some shoulder stiffness. Finally the sox decide not to roll the dice with their ace, coming off games with 128, 131, 109, 119 and 112 pitches since coming back from the DL, including complete games in the previous two games. In any case, the sox, down 3-0, come back to tie the game. In the bottom of the ninth, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays decide to intentionally walk Nomar AND Carl Everett to get to Rico Brogna with the bases loaded. And of course, Rico takes Billy Taylor yard for the walk off grand slam. I love when the intentional walk fails! Pedro snaps his streak of games with a Game Score of at least 50. More on this later, as long as I remember.

22. vs Matt Perisho, 9-0 victory over the Texas Rangers.
7.0 IP, 3H, 0BB, 10K, 0ER, GSc 81, 89 pitches.
Pedro W (14-4), 1.53 ERA
The sox ease Pedro back in, pulling him in this blowout win after only 89 pitches. Pedro cruises through the lineup, not walking a batter and striking out 10. It looks as though the extra rest from a less strenuous previous start did him some good! The game is 9-0 by the fourth inning, with zeros the rest of the way.

23. vs. Mac Suzuki, 9-7 win over Kansas City.
8.0 IP, 8H, 0BB, 6K, 6ER, GSc 48, 112 pitches.
Pedro ND (14-4), 1.77 ERA
This is the first (and only) start of the year where Pedro gives up more than 4 ER. The Royals get started early, scoring five runs on four singles and two doubles in the bottom of the first inning. Mike Sweeney adds a solo home run in the bottom of the second. Pedro then faces the minimum number of batters for the next six innings (a double play cancels a 5th inning leadoff single). That is how you give up six runs and get left in the game to finish eight innings on only 112 pitches. Remarkably, the red sox tie the game 6-6 and send it to extra innings. They score three runs in the top of the 10th, and Derek Lowe closes it out. Pedro breathes a sign of relief that his team wins his worst start of the season!

24. vs. Dave Eiland, 8-0 over Tampa Bay.
9.0 IP, 1H, 0BB, 13K, GSc 98, 110 pitches.
Pedro W (15-4), 1.68 ERA
After his worst start of the year, Pedro bounces back with maybe his best. He cruises through the Tampa Bay lineup. He has a perfect game through eight innings with 13 strikeouts. In the 9th, John Flaherty singles to lead off the inning, ending the perfect game and no hit bid. Pedro retires the next three batters to close out the shutout. I know that Tampa Bay was bad in 2000, but still, this was a dominant start.

25. vs. Jamie Moyer, 5-1 win over Seattle.
8.0 IP, 6H, 1BB, 11K, 1ER, GSc 76, 121 pitches.
Pedro W (16-4), 1.66 ERA
The Red Sox score 5 in the bottom of the third to give Pedro all the run support he needs. The lone run against Martinez comes on a Mike Cameron home run in the top of the 7th. Other than that, Pedro works out of a couple jams but strikes out 11 Mariners, including A-Rod thrice. Dan Wilson went 0-4 4K- congrats! As of this September 4 game, Boston is 71-63, 6 games back of the Yankees in the AL East.

26. vs. Andy Pettite, 5-3 loss against the Yankees.
7.0 IP, 4H, 2BB, 9K, 3ER, GSc 64, 119 pitches.
Pedro L (16-5), 1.74 ERA
Pedro allowed his first hit to David Justice in the 4th with two outs before retiring the side. He allowed another hit to Derek Jeter in the 6th, but got out of the inning with a double play. Finally, in the 7th inning, with the sox up 1-0, a single and a walk led to a two-out three-run home run by Scott Brosius. One mistake ruined what might have ended up as another fantastic start.

27. vs. Charles Nagy, 7-4 victory over the Indians
7.0 IP, 4H, 1BB, 10K, 3ER, GSc 66, 112 pitches.
Pedro W (17-5), 1.81 ERA
Pedro pitches four perfect innings before getting into trouble in the 5th, on a walk then two run home run by David Segui. Three singles around three strikeouts in the 7th lead to another run, but by then the sox are up 7-2 and cruise to the 7-4 win. Pedro dominated Cleveland in the 1999 playoffs, and appears to have their number again in 2000*. Then again, in those two years he dominated pretty much everyone!

*I spoke too soon

28. vs. Steve Woodard, 2-1 loss to Cleveland
8.0 IP, 5H, 1BB, 9K, 1ER, GSc 76, 124 pitches
Pedro L (17-6), 1.78 ERA
Well, I was wrong about completely dominating Cleveland in 2000. The Indians get the better of Pedro this time, but that is mostly due to Steve Woodard (Steve Woodard?) shutting down the Red Sox for six innings, and the bullpen holding on. Pedro gets off to a rough start, giving up three singles to lead off the game without recording an out, leading to the game's first run. Pedro settles down and pitches 4 perfect innings before a lone single in the 6th. Despite allowing two more baserunners, Pedro faces the minimum 6 batters before leaving after the 8th, down 1-0. Cleveland gets one more run against Derek Lowe, and the sox can only manage one in the bottom of the 9th of Bob Wickman.

Okay, last start. Is anyone still reading?

29. vs. Kevin Beirne, 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox
5.0 IP, 1H, 0BB, 6K, 0ER, GSc 71, 60 pitches
Pedro W (18-6), 1.74 ERA
By this point, I'm guessing Boston has conceded the Wild Card race and is just putting Pedro out there to pick up the W, which he does with ease. The game score of 71 for a 5 inning start ties for the 9th best score for a 5 inning outing, with 74 as the best ever. Only two of these games were no hitters, and both of those were games that ended after 5 innings. None of the games were perfect (0H, 0BB).

So. Where does that leave us?
Well, some of my impressions include:
1. Pedro was remarkably consistent. I believe he gave up more than three runs only twice. That's amazing.
2. He pitched less than 6 innings only twice, in that last 5 inning start, and in the 4 inning start where he came out with injury. That's consistency too. That's 25/29 "quality starts".
3. The pitch counts in 2000 were allowed to be a lot higher than they are now. Pedro would not have averaged as many pitches per start... but maybe he would have been able to make all of his starts.
4. I want to see how many games Pedro pitched something like: 7.0 IP, 5H, 1BB. That seems to be the most common line he put together. Depending on luck, the strikeouts and runs change, but those numbers appeared quite a bit, plus or minus.
5. 17/29 starts, Pedro allowed fewer baserunners than innings (13-3). 3/29 he allowed the same number (2-0), and 9/29 times he allowed more baserunners than innings (3-3).
6. The Red Sox averaged 4.51 runs during Pedro's starts. In 2000, that was bad. The league averaged 5.30 runs per game, and the sox themselves averaged 4.89. Tampa Bay finished last in the league with 4.55 runs per game. So, the sox offence behind Pedro was worse than the worst offence in the league.

The league hit .167/.213/.259 against Pedro for the season. That average is the best for qualified starting pitchers since 1901 (and maybe ever).

in chasing down some of these summary stats using an actual computer (where it's not so awkward as an iPad or phone), I made my way to fangraphs. As you may know, fangraphs uses a different (I think simpler) method for calculating pitcher WAR and how good of a season a pitcher has had. It uses FIP (fielding independent pitching), which depends on only the walks, strikeouts, and home runs allowed by a pitcher. Then it does some math and comes out with WAR based on era and context and how good "replacement players" were supposed to be at that time.

Fangraphs lists Pedro's 1999 as better than his 2000, by FIP and by WAR. Superficially, it's easy to see why: both seasons were dominant. Of the four stats that really matter for determining WAR (K, BB, HR, IP), and considering that the context of both seasons were about the same:

1999: 213.1 IP, 37 BB, 313 K, 9 HR
2000: 217.0 IP, 32 BB, 284 K, 17 HR

1999 has a few more walks, a few more strikeouts, but about half the number of home runs in about the same number of innings pitched. Fangraphs credits 1999 Pedro with the 4th best FIP ever (1.39 - imagine it is on an ERA scale). The only other seasons in the top 40 FIP since 1919 are 1984 (not 1985) Dwight Gooden (18th - 1.69) and 1968 Bob Gibson (29th - 1.77).

Now I'm really off on a tangent. And since it was kind of exhausting and a little boring to do (and probably to read) the game by game of 2000, I'm not doing that again for 1999. No!

I think that the difference between 1999 and 2000 may boil down to some chance and luck. How about that?

Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) varies from year to year, for both hitters and pitchers. Some hitters and pitchers have shown an ability to keep this high or low consistently, but for the most part it fluctuates and has a lot of impact on whether a player appears to have a good season or not. Is the player hitting line drives into the gaps or at fielders? Hitting ground balls through holes or where they can be turned into outs?

Pedro's BABIP in 1999 was .325, the highest of his career for any full season.
Pedro's BABIP in 2000 was .237, the lowest of his career for any full season.

Together, they average out to .281. His career BABIP is .282.

BABIP is calculated like this:
(Hits - HR) / (AB - SO - HR + SF)

1999: (160 - 9) / (780 - 313 - 9 + 6) = (151) / (464)

2000: (128 - 17) / (768 - 284 - 17 + 1) = (111) / (468)

In 1999, Pedro's HR/9 was 0.38 (home runs allowed per 9 innings). In 2000, his HR/9 was 0.71. His career average was 0.76. In general, his stats from 1997 - 2003 (with the exception of 1998, his first year with the red sox) show a relationship between BABIP and HR/9. Lower BABIPs go with higher HR/9, and vice versa. This makes sense. Balls that leave the park are not counted in BABIP since they are technically out of play.

Let's reverse the home run totals from 1999 and 2000 and see what we get. We are just changing the number of hits that instead went over the fence.

1999: (160 - 17) / (780 - 313 - 17 + 6) = (143) / (456) = .314
2000: (128 - 9) / (768 - 264 - 9 + 1) = (119) / (476) = .250

There is a change. Not a huge change, but a change. What I am suggesting is that 1999 Pedro's very low HR rate, combined with his excellent strikeout and walk rates, causes his 1999 FIP to be lower than his 2000 FIP and therefore considered better by Fangraphs. Fangraphs says that he had an unlucky BABIP in 1999, and doesn't care about hits allowed when considering his season. Pedro had almost the same season in 2000, but managed to give up 32 fewer hits and 7 fewer runs while allowing 8 more home runs with a career low BABIP and career normal HR rate.

This is getting confusing. The reason for this long long long post was to marvel at the brilliance of PedroBot2000.

Three months later, I'm just going to post this monster so that I can get on to other stuff - I still can't get past having an unfinished post and working on another one.

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