Maybe This is True

 

 

I was going to look up some statistics in order to refute the opinion of Mets people*, as reported by Andy Martino above. But then I did  look up Parnell’s splits in high, medium, and low leverage situations — that is, his splits depending on how important the situation is — and Mets people may have a point:

*Mets people = Mr. Met and family?

Split G PA R H HR BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
High Lvrge 92 291 64 87 5 27 56 2.07 .344 .412 .455 .867 .425
Medium Lvrge 94 218 20 47 4 26 50 1.92 .249 .343 .360 .702 .319
Low Lvrge 123 414 27 90 5 33 85 2.58 .239 .304 .314 .618 .297
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/17/2012.

Parnell’s .425 BABIP in high leverage spots should set up little sabermetric warning lights and beanie propellers, but Parnell’s struggles in big spots are not driven just by his poor batting average against on balls in play. Scoot over to Fangraphs, and Parnell’s FIP (3.03 in low, 3.61 in medium, and 4.24 in high) and xFIP backup an ERA that grows proportional to the importance of the spot.

So, yeah, Mets people are correct. Bobby Parnell has pitched poorly in high leverage situations thus far in his career. The real question is whether or not that’s likely to continue, or if it’s just a fluky thing that happened and now saddles Parnell with an undeserved reputation.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Maybe This is True

  1. The alternative to Parnell in many of these spots has been Acosta. And I think its fairly obvious to most of us that Acosta comes up small in big spots just as much.
    Parnell has been better this year in approach and use of his stuff. Maybe that is enough to overcome his jitters or whatever it is that holds him back. You can’t tell unless you let him try.

  2. Obviously the numbers themselves are much lower (and the jumps less extreme because of quantity) but Mariano Rivera’s splits look similar.

  3. Wow, this is very interesting. I was completely convinced until reading this that Parnell should be the closer (I’m not yet unconvinced but I at least have concerns).

    Your level of nuance in analysis is admirable and should encourage other sports writers and fans to always dig deeper. Nicely done.

  4. does high leverage spots have anything to do with the batter the pitcher is facing?

    Is facing a #8 hitter with runners on base less leveragey then facing a #4 hitter?

    • Patrick Flood

      No, it’s only based on the score, number of men on base, and if the team is home or away. So a tied game, bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth is treated the same whether the pitcher is facing Albert Pujols or Ronny Cedeno.

  5. One aspect to this: pitching poorly tends to increase the leverage of your situation (until you put the team so far behind that LI decreases again). So it’s not just a one-way thing. Parnell may have worse numbers in high-leverage situations because he pitches himself into higher-leverage situations on the days when he’s got no feel for his sinker.

  6. it’s a better bet to just not read anything andy martino writes.

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