FanPost

Balfour Response to SF1


I wanted to reply on a fanpost to a comment from SF1 in the Balfour thread. The comment reads:

We agree on Balfour and his need for a fast start

I can only hope i’m wrong, but what really concerns me is his command issues

Only ’08 saw a really good K/BB ratio in his entire career

If his command doesn’t return, those HRs will once again be with men on base and catastrophic results

I wish him and the Rays the best

by sternfan1 on Mar 25, 2010 5:31 AM PDT reply actions   0 recs


There are two points I want to address. 2008 featured a 2.22 FIP for Balfour and an elite K/BB of 3.42 for a pitcher who struck out over 12 per nine.  Why do I say its elite? Below is the 3 year top 10 relief pitchers in MLB based on K/9:

Name

K/9 

BB/9

K/BB

Jonathan Broxton

11.93

3.21

3.72

Carlos Marmol

11.82

5.5

2.15

Octavio Dotel

11.7

4.33

2.7

Brad Lidge

11.12

4.57

2.43

Jonathan Papelbon

10.9

2.16

5.04

Grant Balfour

10.84

4.61

2.35

Juan Cruz

10.82

5.08

2.13

Francisco Rodriguez

10.61

4.68

2.26

Rafael Soriano

10.47

2.84

3.69

As you can see only Broxton, Papelbon, and Soriano (yay!) were able to eclipse a K/BB of 3 over a 3 year period. Strikeout pitchers are tough to put the ball in play against leading to drawn out counts. There's a pretty good discussion going on at the Book Blog on K:BB vs. K-BB. It's worth at least a glance over and through the comments.

The second issue I want to touch on is the notion that he wasn't unlucky with the multi-run home run give up. The following is a table of the number of batters Balfour faced with the bases empty, one man on, two men on, and the bases loaded.

Men On

PA

HR

Empty

138

1

1 On

85

0

2 On

54

5

Loaded

12

0

So 83% of Balfour's home runs allowed came in a base state that comprised just 18.7% of Balfour's total batters faced. Assuming each batter has an equal chance to hit a home run regardless of the base state (this is a  bold assumption), we would have expected the average home run to amount to 1.67 runs off Balfour in 2009. The reality was that the average home run was nearly a full run higher at 2.67 runs. Walks or no walks, high BABIP or low BABIP, this distribution amounts to very bad luck.

This post was written by a member of the DRaysBay community and does not necessarily express the views or opinions of DRaysBay staff.

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