Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shamelessly Exploiting Kevin Correia's Hot Start for Pageviews

Do you like meaningless stats?  Do you enjoy cherry-picking?  How about fallacy?

Are you enamored with Kevin Correia and his shockingly awesome start to this season?

Do you like being asked questions?

I thought it might be fun to look at Kevin Correia's stats, with an eye toward history and multiplication.  If you think that sounds fun as well, please keep reading. 

Pro-rated stats

The Twins have played 22 games this season.  Correia has started five games and stands to start about 28 more (give or take, depending on whether the Twins move to a one-man rotation or something bizarre like that). 

Wait, let's explore that.  If the Twins decided, "hey, let's see if we can't make Kevin Correia's arm explode" and allowed him to become the full-time starting pitcher, he would get 140 more starts.  Right now, he is winning three of every five starts and losing once in five.  This would be his record if those numbers held (which I am pretty sure they would):


Hmm, that's an awful lot of losses.  He would probably lead the league.  Here is how many strikeouts he would have, averaging 15 for every 5 starts:


That's a lot.  However, that would be over roughly 1050 innings, and thus not very impressive but really impressive. Nolan Ryan struck out a modern record 383 batters in 1973, and did so in 700 fewer innings.  Not nearly the workhorse Correia could become under this scenario though.

Ok, this is just not realistic.  I mean, if any team is going to a one-man rotation, wouldn't the Twins be the last team you would expect?  Let's try to be normal here.

If Correia keeps this pace and gets 28 more starts, here will be his final numbers on the season:

9.9 rWAR, 2.1 fWAR (THATS A JOKE DO YOU GET IT?) 240 IP, 20-6, 2.23 ERA, 225 hits allowed, 59 ER, 33 BB, 99 K, 0 balks, 0 wild pitches and 0 hit-by-pitch.

I'm quite certain that FanGraphs.com would 404 as well.

Find players with crazy rate stats like Correia's

Pro-rating stats is easy. It's basically multiplication, which any eight-year-old can do.  Six-year-olds?  Not so much, but six-year-olds lack in a lot of areas, if we are going to honest with ourselves.    

Using Baseball Reference's season finder, we can pinpoint just how many pitchers have stats like Correia's and how they compare.  I'll start with his rate stats, which currently sit as such:
  • SO/9 - 3.7
  • BB/9 - 1.2
  • HR/9 - 0.5
  • H/9 - 8.4

14 pitchers have posted a season with those stats, since 1901.  It hasn't been done since 1942 which simply means that Correia is a throwback.  Tiny Bonham, Babe Adams, Slim Sallee, and Noodles Hahn have the most ridiculous names from the list.  Oh, and Al Orth.

So, it's rare.  I am sure many pitchers have put up comparable stats over 36 innings though.  Correia's walk rate alone is masterful.  I wonder how many pitchers have had a walk rate that low for a full season...

93 is that number, most recently Cliff Lee just last season.  Brad Radke did it four times and Carlos Silva once, for a nice 4:1 Brad to Carlos ratio.  The highest season ERA on this list is Radke's 4.49 back in 2003.  

The best ERA from someone who didn't pitch when all people who were photographed looked surprised that their photo was being taken even though you had to sit for like, a really long time, is Greg Maddux, when he posted a 1.63 ERA back in 1995. 

On the flip side, Correia's strikeout rate is quite low.  Historically low, one might say less than confidently. 

It's not really that historic.  Actually, it has happened 2,237 times since 1901.  Rather than be thorough and comb through the data, let's cherry-pick, as you all tacitly agreed that you enjoyed it.  Since 1961, this feat has been accomplished 261 times, which is much more manageable for me. 

The worst ERA of that group belongs to Livan Hernandez, who posted a 6.05 ERA in 2008, at the age of 67.  Carlos Silva was second, at 5.94 back in 2006.  The best ERA of this bunch belongs to Joe Horlen, with a 2.06 ERA back in 1967.  Correia's current ERA would be the 4th best since 1961 with a strikeout rate as low as 3.7 per nine innings.

Since 1961, only five names appear on both lists, and one is a 2005 Carlos Silva, which has an oak-y finish. 

Correia currently has a 179 ERA+.  This number is astronomical.  Just how astronomical?  Well, only 68 pitchers have posted such an astronomical number since 1901.  Just glancing at the list, Randy Johnson did it 58 times and Pedro Martinez did it 57.  I could be counting poorly, as I was hit in the nose with a dodgeball while putting eye drops in.  Regardless, if Correia can keep up that number, he will join some elite, blurry company.   

Other Fun Facts/Miscellany
  • Correia is currently tied for 100th in the MLB in strikeouts.  Anibal Sanchez struck out 17 in one game.
  • Correia is tied for 7th in fewest walks, just ahead of Kevin Slowey.
  • Correia is 20th in ERA, just ahead of Kevin Slowey.
  • If you rearrange the letters in Kevin Correia, you get Cevin Korreia. 
  • Kevin Correia's fastball sits at about 90, or roughly 20 MPH faster than you can throw (probably more or even a lot more).
  • Joe Mauer is his catcher (I think), so that probably explains everything.
  • Correia was a Giant, then a Padre, then a Pirate, now a Twin, always a shapeshifter.
  • Correia's GB% is 45.8%, which makes him a fly ball pitcher, no matter what Beck Bremleven tries to tell you.
  • The proudest I have ever been of an analogy is from my Correia signing post.  See if you can find it!


Kevin Correia is pitching better than anyone expected.  Anyone.  If someone tries to tell you that they envisioned this level of performance, you have my permission to tie their shoes together, but only as a lesson.  Please draw their attention to the tied together laces and explain to them the lesson you have taught them.  I mean it, no one needs to get hurt just because they are a filthy liar.  His numbers are fun to look at because they are so unexpected.  I look forward to seeing what craziness his numbers will bring in the future.

Seriously, no one make anyone trip on their laces.

No comments:

Post a Comment