Category Archives: Analysis

Building a Simpler Pitcher WAR Metric – Part 3

Hello again, my HHS friends! Dr. Doom here again. Thanks for bearing with me through those first two parts; I know they were review for most of us, but I figured I should make sure to explain everything, just in case someone new needed a primer. In any case, welcome to the final part of the series. As always, a special thanks to Doug for posting these, and to the community for tolerating them. This truly is a great place to talk baseball on the web.

As you’ll recall, in Part 1 we discussed the Pythagorean Record and how innings pitched relate to decisions. In Part 2, we saw how ERA+ works. Now, using those tools at our disposal, it’s time to build our WAR paradigm! More after the jump. Continue reading

Building a Simpler Pitcher WAR Metric – Part 1

Greetings, HHSers from Dr. Doom!

OK, so here’s the thing. This website is called “High Heat STATS.” And while Doug will occasionally enlighten us with a beautiful, table-filled column about some statistic or other through time, I think we all just like talking baseball. But in this series of posts, I’m going to get into the nitty-gritty of building a mock-WAR that I think you’ll all enjoy. It’s a quick-and-dirty way to do a couple of things I think are important.

  1. It takes ERA (or FIP) numbers and prioritizes them over won-lost records;
  2. It allows (more) direct comparisons of starters and relievers;
  3. It simplifies down to one dimension VERY quickly and easily (or stays two-dimensional, if you prefer);
  4. It is easily figured with a computer/calculator and only TWO stats, easily found on Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs.

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Let Youth Be Served: Baseball’s 40-40 Teams

The NL East has to be baseball’s surprise division this season, with the upstart Braves and Phillies so far besting the pre-season favorite Nationals, currently just a .500 team after running away with the division a year ago. For the Phillies, it’s their second straight year as a 40-40 club, a back-to-back they also accomplished in the 1949 and 1950 seasons, the latter a pennant-winning campaign. So, what’s a 40-40 team? If you guessed 40% of PA and 40% of IP given to players aged 25 and under, you nailed it. More after the jump.

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Swinging away: 3-0 counts are a changin’

The 3-0 pitch is possibly one of the most predictable events in baseball, a short interlude in which the competitive game usually takes a break. We’ve all seen it – the hitter resting his bat on his shoulder and affecting body language that tells everyone in the ballpark that he won’t be swinging. And, the pitcher responding by grooving a center cut fastball. Heck, even the umpire gets into the act, expanding his strike zone to include anything even close to being a strike. After this, the game resumes, with the batter suddenly dialed in and looking to do some damage to the still vulnerable pitcher. As familiar as that scenario seems, things have been changing in recent years, as more hitters are taking their cuts on 3-0 offerings. More after the jump.  Continue reading

The Old Orioles as the Tipping Point between Early and Modern Baseball

This is the third in a series of posts on the 1890s Baltimore Orioles by HHS contributor e pluribus munu. if you’ve written something you’d like to share with the HHS community, drop me a note at

In 1897, Oriole manager Ned Hanlon was quoted in The Sporting News, saying: “We didn’t play ball in 1889 as we play it now.” Although the pitching change of 1893 had been made midway in that eight-year interval, the article went on to specify something entirely different as the point of Hanlon’s remark. “In the old days, once a man got to first base the next batter walked to the plate and promptly attempted to knock the cover off the ball.” By 1897, however, teams were increasingly playing what was called “scientific baseball” or “inside baseball”: they were focusing on complex one-run-at-a-time tactics that required hitters to execute their at-bats in support of team strategies, rather than swinging away to try to build up their individual batting records. Continue reading

How Did the Old Orioles Win?

Thanks again to e pluribus munu for contributing these posts on the 1890s Baltimore Orioles. if you’ve written something you’d like to share with the HHS community, drop me a note at

In his first post, epm identified that Orioles’ manager Ned Hanlon completely overhauled the Orioles’ personnel and style of play over the space of two years, from 1892 to 1894, and, in doing so, turned a last place team into a championship club. In part two, epm takes a closer look at this new style of play and its influence on the major league game. More after the jump. Continue reading

The Old Baltimore Orioles and the Transformation to Modern Baseball

It is my pleasure to introduce a series of posts by e pluribus munu, a regular contributor to the HHS community. Just a reminder that if you’ve written something that you might like to have posted, drop me a line; my e-mail address is on the About page.

The subject of epm’s posts is the old Baltimore Orioles, as in 19th century old. If you’re not familiar with them, they were one of four American Association (AA) franchises (the others were in Louisville, St. Louis and Washington) that were absorbed by the NL in 1892 following the AA’s demise. The Orioles finished dead last in a 12-team NL in that 1892 season, but turned that around to become league champions just two years later, the first of three straight championship seasons. How did they do it? epm will answer that question and many others as he takes it from here.   Continue reading

Impasse: Marathon Plate Appearances

Brandon Belt last Sunday turned in a 3 for 5 afternoon, including a home run, to lead his Giants to a 4-2 win over the AL West-leading Angels. But, the talk of the game was not Belt’s three hits or his home run, but rather his first inning line out on a 3-2 pitch, the 21st pitch of that AB. That is the most pitches in a single plate appearance since MLB started officially recording such things in 1988. More after the jump on marathon plate appearances. Continue reading