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Revisiting Kevin Millwood's Strand Rate

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On July 2, R.J. Anderson had a post up at FanGraphs that led to a huge internet uproar.  The premise was that Kevin Millwood wasn't pitching as well as his ERA indicated -- his ERA was being driven by an unsustainably high strand rate of 86.9%.

Anderson argued (and I agreed) that this wasn't because Millwood was getting more ground balls or digging deep within himself to make a great pitch in key situations...rather, it was owed primarily to simple dumb luck.

And less than two weeks later, where do things stand?  Millwood's ERA has shot up by almost a run, of course...and not surprisingly, his strand rate has dropped down to 80.0%.

In other words, as one would expect, he's experiencing a regression to the mean.  I expect he'll end up the season with a strand rate around 75% or so.

Millwood has had a nice season.  But he's not been an All Star caliber pitcher, and he's not suddenly figured something out.  He's pitching about as well as he has the last couple of seasons.  He's just got a better defense behind him, and (up until the last couple of games) had been extremely fortunate in the results with runners on base.