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Baseball Update: Starting Pitching

I took a bit of time to update starting pitching numbers for the Jayhawks today. I'll post the bullpen and batting update separately, hopefully later tonight.

I've decided to start running starting pitching data differently as the Gamescore system just didn't seem to deliver an accurate picture of performance at the NCAA level. The numbers I am using are mostly the "four true results" which scouts love. A "true result" is when a pitcher resolves a plate appearance in a way that does not require any input from the defense behind him. Scouts love this numbers because they isolate pitcher from team performance. The "four true results" are: Strikeouts, Walks, Homeruns and Hit batters. I dropped the last category and instead included Hits per nine innings and ERA. I am also tracking exceptional performances, quality starts vs. teams in the RPI top 100. While this table is not as simple as the Gamescore table, maybe it will give more meaningful information.

Please note, I ran these numbers by hand so I bet I made a few mistakes. If you notice any please let me know so I can correct them.

So, what comes out of this new view? A few things stick out to me.

On the team level, KU starting pitchers are roughly league average, which is actually good news considering how inexperienced the staff was at the start of the year. A 5.24 ERA is about where you would expect to see an NCAA team. Jayhawk starters tend to be around the NCAA average for hits per nine, walks per nine and home runs surrendered. What they do well is strike out batters. In fact, all three weekend starters are good K men. Marks leads the way with 10.8, but Czyz (8.8) and Ashwood (8.1) also are getting the job done. If I had been told in January the staff ERA for starting pitchers would be this low I would have been pretty been surprised.

Individually - Czyz only has one area of concern, a somewhat high walk rate. Ashwood's numbers are a bit down across the board, but no area truly alarms. Marks' 3.0 vs. 10.8 BB/K rate is phenomenal. His trouble area seems to be his elevated hits/9 and, more alarming, his 1.6 HR/9 rate. Marks has given up seven long balls in seven starts. Marciel has pitched relatively well for a weekday starter but until he can go deeper into games (he averages less than four innings per start) he will not be usable on the weekends. His 10/16 BB/K ratio also needs improvement. Of course Marciel has only pitched at this level for a few months. What he does in April and May will be more revealing than this early work. I remember Nick Czyz and Brendan McNamara both started last year in similar fashion and by May both were fixtures on the staff. A lot of development happens during a players first NCAA campaign.

Andres Esquibel's numbers surprised me. As a starter he has produced good results. It is his recent work in the bullpen which has been so rough. Maybe Esquibel is one of those pitchers who performs best when in a predictable pattern of work?

Games as Starting Pitcher

Pitcher W-L ERA Starts Innings
as Starter
Quality starts
vs. RPI-100
Hits/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
Czyz 2-4 4.00 8 45 2 9.4 4.0 8.8 0.4
Ashwood 3-3 5.57 8 42 1 10.1 4.3 8.1 0.9
Marks 3-3 6.18 7 39.1 10.1 3.0 10.8 1.6
Marciel 2-1 6.39 5 18.1 9.8 4.9 7.9 1.0
Esquibel 2-1 3.94 3 16 9.0 1.1 6.8 0.6
Marcin 0-0 6.67 2 2.2 6.7 13.3 10 0.0
Team 12-12 5.24 33 163.1 3 9.7 3.8 8.8 0.9