Making their own luck

In my last post I pointed out that Kenny Rogers, Nate Robertson, and Justin Verlander were the beneficiaries of some combination of good defense and good luck. Basically I was trying to point out that while all 3 had solid seasons, there were some breaks that were beyond their control that went their way. But I as thought a little more, specifically about gold glover Rogers, how much did the pitchers help their own cause?

Fortunately, Pinto has already published the individual PMR numbers for pitchers. By subtracting the pitcher’s contribution from the total team’s defense when he was on the mound, we can see who was leaning on the guys behind him the most.

The order of the list gets shuffled. Kenny Rogers accounted for a third of the plays above expected. And Justin Verlander had pretty much neutral defense behind him. Meanwhile, Nate Robertson got the most help.

In the comments to the other post Brian questioned why some pitchers consistently exceed or lag their fielding independent stats. The pitcher’s ability to help his own cause may – emphasis on may – in some cases be a part of the reason.


  1. Brian

    March 14, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    I think this could be one of the reasons to look at. Both Verlander and Rogers are known for above average pickoff moves. Rogers is a gold glove defender that makes plays that a lot of pitchers won’t.

    Perhaps it is the fact that they get runners that reach base out by themselves at a decent clip.

    One other theory I have heard is that a high groundball ratio can lead to a luck in the dips performance.

    I think that makes sense because you limit the number of extra base hits, especially homeruns, and ground balls can erase runners comepletely if hit at the right fielder.

  2. Jeff M

    March 15, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    may – emphasis on may – in some cases be a part of the reason.

    Please be careful out on that limb. 😉

  3. jvwalt

    March 15, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    One obvious point is that the two left-handers fared well, and the two right-handers did not. It might indicate that the 3B/SS/LF defense is collectively better than 1B/2B/RF. Aside from Inge being an outstanding defensive third baseman, I don’t know if this was true for the 2006 Tigers. Did Guillen have more range than Polanco? How do Monroe and Ordonez compare?

  4. Brian

    March 15, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    One interesting point with the right side defense is that statistically there was a drop in defense from Shelton to Casey. Perception says it is the other way but Shelton was actually an excellent 1B.

  5. billfer

    March 15, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    I’ll see if I can mine some data that shows the rate of ground ball hits to the right side in August and September when Polanco was injured and Casey took over first.

  6. David

    March 16, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Guillen was third in assists in the American League for shortstops after Michael Young, and Jhonny Peralta. While I think his range was good, it was alot better in ’04.

    Whereas Inge had the most assists of any 3rd bagger and by a wide margin. Shoulda won a gold glove, sigh…

    As for outfielders I think you can measure their range somewhat by putouts. Monroe was 10th in the AL in putouts. Somehow Magglio was 3rd (after Dye and Abreu) in putouts, and 3rd also in assists after (Cuddyer and Abreu), Monroe was second in assists for leftfielders after Melky.
    Although one could interpret this to say that Maggs was a very quality defender, I would disagree. He seemed to be able to turn himself on and off when he wanted to…

  7. jvwalt

    March 16, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    David: I haven’t checked any statistics, but maybe Tigers’ opponents hit a lot of fly balls to right. Many of their right-handed pitchers were hard throwers (Bonderman, Verlander, Zumaya), while their primary lefties throw softer (Rogers, Gum Time, Walker). That could have skewed the distribution of batted balls toward the right, and provided a big boost to Maggs’ putout numbers.

  8. David

    March 16, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Yea maybe with a combo of the fact that he played roughly half of his games in COPA, and also he was one of only 4 other rightfielders to play more than 140 games

  9. Brian

    March 17, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Nate typically is between 91-93. That is actually a hard throwing lefty.