Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ortiz vs. quality pitchers

A comment/question posted elsewhere about David Ortiz: "Big concern with him is how well he will do against decent pitching..."

There were 19 ML pitchers last year with at least 180 IP and an ERA under 3.50. There were 13 with 25+ saves and an ERA under 3.00. And there were 46 with 40+ games pitched and an ERA under 3.00. There were 78 pitchers total that fell into one of those three categories (obviously, there was some overlap). Using those 78 as a proxy for "good pitchers," we see that David Ortiz hit .203/.292/.406/.698 against "good pitchers" in 2009, with 4 HR in 64 at-bats (1 HR every 16 at-bats). Not very pretty.

Of course, as group, the pitchers themselves gave up an average of (very roughly) 0.219/.277/.330/.607 with one HR every 49 at-bats. So Ortiz' numbers aren't an embarrassment.

The fact is, nobody hits the really good pitchers with any consistency - that's why they're the really good pitchers. I don't see anything in Ortiz's numbers with regard to this group that suggests a problem. In fact, relative to the league, he did better against this cohort than against the league in general. His .698 OPS against this group was 14% than the average around the league - his .794 OPS overall was only about 4% better than the league average.

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