Sunday, July 13, 2008

Meloan by month in the 2008 starter experiment season

With these stats (calculated from the numbers here): BFP, szERA (ERA estimator using K, BB, BFP), siERA (same as szERA but also with GB and FB thrown in), and LD/BIP:

April: 112, 4.01, 3.94, .267
May: 143, 5.06, 4.70, .131
June: 136, 4.52, 4.52, .223
July: 48, 3.90, 3.57, .143
2008 total: 439, 4.50, 4.32, .196

I guess some people think that sucks for a pitcher who turned 24 on Friday in his first season since being converted to starting, and other people (me) think those numbers, while not exactly encouraging, are what we would expect based on his track record as a reliever (good, but not other-worldly), the move to starting, and the run environment (especially given the import of Meloan's curveball). If he were a run better as a reliever, would people consider it a disappointment? I guess if they were simply using ERA, but by the peripherals I have my doubts. Meloan isn't a good, major league quality starter yet. It would be pretty amazing if he was. He was converted in hopes he could become one, and I don't think those hopes have been dispelled by his performance so far.

Of course, maybe the argument is that Meloan is ultimately responsible for his .351 BABIP allowed, but I'm not so much of that persuasion.

UPDATE: Let me show some more comparison.

Jax, 2007: 176 BFP, .398 K/PA, 1.85 szERA
Lvg, 2007: 87 BFP, .241 K/PA, 3.74 szERA
Lvg, 2008: 439 BFP, .200 K/PA, 4.49 szERA

The difference between starting and relieving is worth about a run a game. The difference in R/G between the Southern League and the PCL is about .6-.7 runs, and the adjustment for competition level is about the same. So, if we do a rough and ragged translation of his szERA at each stop to his 2008 context we get 4.05, 4.74, 4.49. I agree Meloan has not taken a step forward this season, but in converting to a starter the odds of doing that are not high, especially after a season of such a high quality that regression toward the mean is absolutely to be expected. I don't know nearly enough to seriously weigh in on whether Meloan ought to stick to starting, but I don't seriously see the evidence against it in the numbers.

UPDATE2: I should also point out that the True Blue LA post linked above succumbs to the Billy Ashley fallacy.


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