FanPost

Derek Holland has a 61.8% chance of being awesome!


Earlier this week, Joey Matches at BBTIA made a comment when discussing the Trade That Didn't Happen.

"...there is a greater-than-zero chance that Holland performs better than Garza next year, and in 2012-13 as well, when Garza is playing out his final two pre-free agency seasons. I don't think that probability extends too far beyond 20-30 percent, if at all, but it's there."

And that got me thinking... what *is* the probability of Derek Holland outperforming Matt Garza? My off the cuff guess was 50/50. This was just my gut feeling based on what we've seen from Holland and the general slow development of left handed pitching.

But I wanted to try and quantify it better, so I pulled some data from FanGraphs and did some digging. I took the season of each pitcher since 2000. I only examined pitchers who's career began in 2000 or later. I then took every season where a pitcher made at least 10 starts.

Based on that, I examined 393 different unique pitchers and their seasons. The next thing I did was try and classify each pitcher as a level of starter. The groupings I made are based on the pitchers best season:

1) Ace - At least one season of 5.5 WAR or higher
2) Two - At least one season of 4.0 WAR or higher
3) Middle - At least one season of 2.5 WAR or higher
4) Back - At least one season of 1.0 WAR or higher
5) Spot - Everybody else that had a season of at least 10 starts

The breakdown of my 393 starters came out to:

Allpitcher_medium

Then I wanted to try and gauge where Holland might fit with similar pitchers. So I looked at his 2010 stat line and saw:

3-4, 4.08 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 8.48 K/9, 3.77 BB/9, 57.1 IP

And I thought, man... those strikeout and walk numbers are pretty interesting.

So I took at look at my 393 pitchers and filtered it down to any pitcher with a season:

1) With at least 10 starts in a year
2) With a K/9 of 8.00 or higher
3) With a BB/9 of 4.00 or lower

And that brought me down to 68 pitchers with this breakdown:

68pitchers_medium

That's the basis for the 61.8%. The first two categories combined, since Garza falls into the "Middle" category with a career high of 3.2 WAR. Pitchers who put up the kind of numbers Derek did last year frequently go on to be very reliable starters.  Additionally, these aren't the final classifications for these pitchers, several of them including Derek should continue to put up better seasons climbing the ladder of success.

That said... I'm using the 61.8% number sort of tongue in cheek. This is a relatively myopic way to evaluate a pitcher purely on K's and BB's. But it is an interesting slice of data to see the success of pitchers who K and BB at the rate Derek did.

Additionally, if you want to be really fair, I added another qualifer of a season with at LEAST 3.5 BB/9 and whittled down to 26 pitchers.

26pitchers_medium

Still pretty promising, but a little less promising.  And while this is proof of absolutely nothing, it's certainly encouraging to compare the Dutch Oven to other pitchers with similar peripherals and how their careers turned out.  After the jump, I'll dive into one pitcher with a second season thats remarkably similar to Derek's 2010.

In going back through the data, I found an interesting comparable for Derek Holland.

Derek's numbers thus far in his career:

 

Year  W  L  G GS    IP  K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP  GB%  ERA  FIP WAR

2009  8 13 33 21 138.1 6.96 3.06 1.69  .321 41.5 6.12 5.10 1.1
2010  3  4 14 10  57.1 8.48 3.77 0.94  .313 42.1 4.08 4.02 0.8

 

My comparable pitcher put up these numbers in his first two years in the big leagues:

 

Year  W  L  G GS    IP  K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP  GB%  ERA  FIP WAR

2006  7  4 18 16  90.0 5.90 5.80 0.70  .304 48.2 3.80 4.88 0.6
2007 12  5 43 20 147.0 8.63 3.92 0.92  .298 41.0 3.31 4.02 2.0

 

Look at the similarity in K/9, BB/9, HR/9, GB% and FIP between 2010 and our other pitcher's 2007.

Nearly identical. Now, obviously the other pitcher threw three times as many innings which in itself is pretty relevant. But clearly... those season's are very comparable for a 2nd year from a pitcher. With a better BABIP for Holland (which having an amazing defensive left side should help with) the ERA likely starts come closer to our other pitcher.

Now let me show you the next three years of our comparable pitcher:

 

Year  W  L  G GS    IP  K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP  GB%  ERA  FIP WAR

2008 16 10 35 32 200.2 9.01 3.59 0.63  .323 49.0 3.14 3.35 4.4
2009 12 11 33 32 196.1 8.21 3.94 0.78  .294 45.3 4.03 3.82 3.2
2010 12 11 31 31 191.1 8.03 3.24 0.38  .313 49.6 3.57 3.07 4.6

 

If you get that from your next three Derek Holland years, are you pleased? I know I would be. Tickled pink to be precise.  If you haven't guessed yet, our comparable is Chad Billingsley.  A pitcher I would love for the Rangers to have and certainly hope Derek can provide similar performances for the Rangers.  

 

As an addendum, here's the full data of the 68 starting pitchers with at least 10 games started, 8.00 K/9 and less than 4.00 BB/9:

 

                                                                 BEST    TOTAL 

NAME               CLASS     YRS    GS      AVG IP     IP        WAR     WAR
CC Sabathia        Ace       10     322     212.5     2124.9     7.6     49.5
Roy Oswalt         Ace       10     303     201.2     2012.2     6.6     47.7
Johan Santana      Ace       11     263     173.3     1906.1     7.7     46.4
John Lackey        Ace        9     266     190.5     1714.6     6.0     35.4
Josh Beckett       Ace       10     246     152.5     1525.4     6.5     33.4
Brandon Webb       Ace        7     198     188.4     1318.5     7.0     32.9
Ben Sheets         Ace        9     241     171.7     1545.0     8.0     31.8
Barry Zito         Two       11     353     199.6     2196.0     5.0     31.6
Dan Haren          Ace        8     222     182.6     1460.5     6.5     31.2
Carlos Zambrano    Two       10     258     167.8     1678.2     4.9     30.6
Jake Peavy         Ace        9     232     163.0     1467.1     6.1     27.9
Felix Hernandez    Ace        6     172     192.1     1152.8     6.8     27.2
Zack Greinke       Ace        7     169     158.2     1107.3     9.4     26.8
Justin Verlander   Ace        6     165     177.2     1063.4     8.3     25.3
Tim Lincecum       Ace        4     122     202.6      810.3     8.2     24.0
Aaron Harang       Two        9     234     161.0     1449.1     5.4     23.3
Erik Bedard        Two        7     141     117.2      820.6     5.4     19.0
Jered Weaver       Ace        5     144     179.1      895.3     5.9     18.9
Jon Lester         Ace        5     123     153.1      765.3     6.3     18.8
Kerry Wood         Two       11     152     104.7     1151.8     4.2     18.6
Adam Wainwright    Ace        6     119     145.7      874.1     6.1     18.5
Jeremy Bonderman   Ace        8     193     146.9     1175.3     6.1     18.2
Cole Hamels        Two        5     149     188.7      943.7     4.4     18.2
Ubaldo Jimenez     Ace        5     116     145.3      726.6     6.3     17.5
Scott Kazmir       Two        7     178     145.5     1018.7     5.3     17.0
Rich Harden        Two        8     145     105.5      843.8     4.5     16.9
Brett Myers        Two        9     216     156.2     1405.7     4.0     16.9
Josh Johnson       Ace        6     104     110.6      663.6     6.3     16.8
James Shields      Two        5     151     195.3      976.5     4.5     16.6
Mark Prior         Ace        5     106     131.0      654.9     7.6     15.9
Ervin Santana      Ace        6     170     177.9     1067.6     5.8     15.6
Chad Billingsley   Two        5     131     164.9      824.5     4.6     14.8
Wandy Rodriguez    Two        6     167     163.8      982.9     4.0     14.3
Francisco Liriano  Ace        5      89     109.5      547.6     6.0     13.3
Ricky Nolasco      Two        5     115     143.1      715.4     4.3     11.9
Clayton Kershaw    Two        3      83     160.8      482.3     4.8     10.4
Daisuke Matsuzaka  Middle     4      98     145.9      583.7     3.9     10.3
Yovani Gallardo    Two        4      82     126.1      504.3     4.6     10.1
Matt Garza         Middle     5     118     144.9      724.4     3.2     10.0
Chris Young        Middle     7     135     107.2      750.5     3.7      9.1
Chris Capuano      Middle     6     125     129.5      777.2     3.9      8.5
Joaquin Benoit     Back       9      55      72.3      650.5     2.0      8.5
Max Scherzer       Middle     3      68     140.4      421.3     3.7      8.1
Adam Eaton         Back      10     201     117.7     1176.8     2.2      7.9
Joba Chamberlain   Middle     4      43      88.1      352.4     3.3      7.4
Ian Snell          Middle     7     136     114.7      803.2     3.5      7.0
Tommy Hanson       Two        2      55     164.7      329.4     4.3      6.9
Casey Fossum       Back       9     120      87.2      784.6     2.2      6.4
David Price        Two        3      55     116.8      350.3     4.3      6.0
John Patterson     Middle     6      78      75.5      452.7     3.9      5.9
Oliver Perez       Two        9     195     123.4     1110.5     4.5      5.8
Johnny Cueto       Middle     3      92     176.8      530.3     2.8      5.5
Colby Lewis        Two        6      66      69.6      417.4     4.4      4.9
Rich Hill          Middle     6      70      66.3      397.7     3.1      4.9
John Maine         Middle     7     105      83.5      584.5     2.7      4.6
J.P. Howell        Spot       5      33      64.1      320.6     1.5      4.5
Scott Olsen        Back       6     127     120.1      720.9     2.3      4.4
Chuck Smith        Middle     2      34     105.1      210.2     3.3      4.3
Mat Latos          Two        2      41     117.2      234.4     4.0      4.1
Brandon Duckworth  Back       8      84      63.7      509.6     1.4      3.8
Homer Bailey       Back       4      56      75.8      303.3     1.9      3.3
Stephen Strasburg  Middle     1      12      68.0       68.0     2.6      2.6
Kyle Snyder        Back       5      29      47.3      236.5     1.3      2.0
James McDonald     Back       3      16      46.7      140.2     1.7      1.9
Derek Holland      Back       2      31      97.6      195.2     1.1      1.9
Felipe Paulino     Back       3      34      69.1      207.4     1.7      1.6
Hisanori Takahashi Back       1      12     122.0      122.0     1.6      1.6
Jordan Zimmermann  Back       2      23      61.0      122.1     1.8      1.6
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