Perception Isn't Always Reality
Sometimes we think we know how a player is performing but when we dig deeper we learn that perhaps our initial impression is wrong.
I got an email from a follower recently, an I think it will be instructive to use his question as a springboard to point out that sometimes that what we think isn't always backed up by the day. Perception isn't always reality.
The email went something like this.
Is that an accurate statement? Let's investigate.
Cliff Lee has an 8.51 K/9 mark an a 1.17 BB/9 mark.
The last three years the numbers are 9.01 and 1.38.
His career marks are 7.62 and 1.94.
Lee's 2014 effort is the same as always – and an elite level by the way.
Lee has a 0.73 HR/9 mark.
His career mark is 0.93.
Lee has a 20 percent line drive rate.
His career mark is 19.9 percent.
Lee has a 50.8 percent ground ball rate. That would be a career best.
Career 40.6 percent.
Lee has a 1.75 GB/FB rate. That would be a career best.
Lee has a 2.91 SIERA.
The last three years: 2.71, 3.07 and 2.83.
Lee has a 2.77 xFIP.
The last three years: 2.68, 3.06 and 2.78.
I'm sorry, but Lee is the same pitcher he has always been.
'But Ray, he's 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, that's disappointing.'
The process matters more than the results sometimes. The process, i.e. the skills, suggest Lee is his regular dominating self. The results? The win-loss thing I don't worry about, you know that by now. As for the ERA that's nothing three solid starts won't bring down. The WHIP? That would be a seven year high, but let me ask you two easy questions to address that.
Lee has a .297 BABIP mark for his career and the last four years the mark has been between .287-.309. Do you really think Lee's going to end the year with a career worst .340 mark?
Lee has a career left on base percentage of 73.6 percent. The last three years the mark has been at least 76 percent and it's been at that level in five of the previous six seasons. Do you really think he's going to end the year with his current mark of 68.6 percent?
You know my answer to both of those questions.
Wilson has a 9.06 K/9 mark an a 3.19 BB/9 mark.
The K-rate is literally a full batter above his career mark (8.05). It would easily be his best mark since he became a starting pitcher. His was rate would be the second best mark of his 10 year career. It's also a major improvement over his 3.75 career rate.
Wilson has a 1.17 WHIP. That would be the best mark of his 10 year career (the mark has been 1.34 the past two years).
Wilson has a 14.2 percent line drive rate. He won't keep that level all year, but the fact is that it blows doors on his 19.6 career rate.
always an impressive ground ball arm, Wilson is currently sporting a 56 percent ground ball rate. That would be the second best mark of his career (49.7 percent for his career average).
Wilson has a 1.88 GB/FB ratio. That would be the best mark he's posted in five years – i.e. since he became a starting pitcher.
Wilson has a 3.26 SIERA.
The last three years: 3.44, 4.26 and 4.01.
Wilson has a 3.28 xFIP.
The last three years: 3.41, 4.10 and 3.93.
Lee has a 3.69 ERA.
The last four years: 3.37.
His career mark is 3.60.
Just like with Lee, what are we complaining about with Wilson? He's pitching the same – or better – in just about every measure.
Remember... “fantasy numbers” of players do NOT tell the whole story. There is much more to a player and how he is performing than his batting average or ERA. Take into account the skills of player, the overall performance of the player, before making snap decisions on them based on first look.
With all the injury news with Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Chris Sale, Jose Fernandez, Cole Hamels, Mat Latos, Matt Cain, Anibal Sanchez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tony Cingrani, Mike Minor, Alex Cobb, Doug Fister... maybe we should be more excited to own stable, consistent and dependable starting pitchers? At least that's the position I continue to maintain.