Bruce Bochy can be a dunderhead at times. Possibly even a lunkhead. But he's our lunkhead. There's a whole lot of anger and whining about Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum being selected for the All-Star team. Bochy is the object of scorn. How dare he choose three of the top pitchers in the NL!
Jack McKeon isn't happy:
"Like the guy for the Giants (Lincecum). The guy’s 6-6. Ok. There are guys 8-2 who are having good years. Is this turning into a popularity — well, first of all the manager, that helps him, Bruce (Bochy)."
McKeon was so enraged that he couldn't continue speaking to reporters. He drove away angry, with his '62 Newport careening away at speeds of up to 26 MPH according to some estimates
But obviously,win-loss records are a pretty lousy way to evaluate starting pitchers. So I've figured out a metric that everyone can understand. It's simple, it's effective. It's the perfect stat to bridge the gap between stat-heads and traditional types.
You can't use WAR for this. That's the kind of stat that makes traditional types roll their eyes. It's too newfangled, and it takes too long -- almost three or four minutes -- to read a description of it on Wikipedia.
You can't use ERA. So even though Ryan Vogelsong is two-thirds of an inning away from qualifying for the ERA title, that isn't something that's going to impress statty types.
No, there needs to be a stat that every one agrees on. Most of you know me as an English major, a hack who revels in bad jokes instead of focusing on the news or actual analysis. This is justified. But every once in a while, I want to get all statistically savvy and analytical. This is one of those times. So allow me to unveil the statistic that justifies three starting pitchers from the San Francisco Giants making the All-Star team. The acronym is AHLTTIEOCYTGAIFP, but that's obviously too awkward, so I'll refer to it as AUBstand. A definition:
NL West Standings
Aubrey Huff is the qualified leader on the Giants in almost every traditional category. Everyone else has either been hurt too much to qualify, or they've been worse. Also, the Giants are in first place. Therefore, the Giants' starting pitchers are really good.
That's the stat. Well, it's not really a stat. But it's an airtight argument. Things I've found in my research:
- Tommy Hanson does not have Aubrey Huff on his team, nor is Huff leading all qualified Braves hitters in home runs and on-base percentage.
- The Braves did not win the World Series last year
- Anibal Sanchez is always in the middle of two separate no-hitters, with at least one of them coming against the Giants at any given moment
- Sanchez does not have Aubrey Huff on his team, nor is Huff leading all qualified Marlins hitters in home runs and on-base percentage
- Jack McKeon is older than your typical manager, a fact that has escaped detection until this very post.
The Giants are in first place. The Giants have given so many at-bats to Aubrey Huff, and so few to any good players, that Huff leads the team in batting average, on-base percentage, home runs, and RBI among qualified hitters. Do a little research, and you'll find that this is because Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Ryan Vogelsong are better than most pitchers. It's all right there in the AUBstand. You can argue against it if you want, Lamarck, but the rest of us scientists will be in the corner, snickering at you.
I don't like the "Bochy can do whatever he wants because the Giants won the World Series" argument because that argument really cheesed me off when Pablo Sandoval didn't make the team over any of the Phillies' outfielders. It's too neener neener neener. But AUBstand is sound. The argument. is over.