Chicago Cubs: Pitching could be this team’s biggest strength in 2018

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Getting into some newer-era analysis

In case of the pitchers, the cleanest way to apply stats to more meaningful information would be to take the WAR provided and simply multiply by the anticipated number of starts. This becomes useful as you evaluate the relative value of a team’s entire pitching staff. Any time you start looking into numbers like WAR, though, it is critical to remember what the numbers truly mean. Rather than providing a meaningful statistical result, WAR offers a means by which one can compare others within his peer group.

Hold on to your hats

The other numbers shown here (apart from ERA, which we all now fully understand) are quite worth exploring. Both BABIP and FIP provide some insight into if a pitcher’s performance is due to great “stuff” or good fortune. Starting with BABIP – which is presented as a batting average – one can surmise that Pitcher 5 may have overshot his “normal” performance. Because this particular hurler saw batters he faced hit a paltry .247 on balls hit in play, it can be deduced that he benefited from great defense or perhaps a propensity for hitters to hit the ball directly at a fielder.

It should also be understood that it may actually just mean the pitcher has great stuff and pitches to weak contact, which is why bringing FIP into the equation is helpful. Looking at these two numbers together allows one to quickly realize that it is more likely this particular thrower saw solid defense in his starts. Because his actual ERA is far below his FIP number, the analysis is showing he “should have” given up over half a run more per start.

Now that we’ve had a chance to dig into these numbers a bit, let’s circle back and put some names to the numbers: