The Cuban Denominator Introduces Reverse Moneyball

    Reverse $$$$$-Ball

Welcome! So this journey begins as most do, at a bar with some friends discussing the nightly entertainment. On the agenda was a Hockey Game 7 (The Best Game 7) that the Caps stole from Boston in OT, and a little 3-0 O’s loss against Toronto. As the games ended, and we got another round, I realized I haven’t been making any attempt to write my first statistics based article for good ‘ol LRDP. Mitch, or OsFan4Life as he’s known in chat rooms, was going on another rant about how some young pitcher doesn’t give up many runs, doesn’t let people on base, but his only weakness is homeruns. Then a question arises; the age old problem of how to best compare all pitchers. What is the one pure statistic that can account for any effect a pitcher has in a game. WHIP does a basic job, but it needs to be more comprehensive. I’m going to make one for you now. Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter take note, you might be able to put Angelos’ money to better use.

We’ll begin with some moneyball basics. You want wins. Wins come from scoring more runs. People on base score runs. Get more people on base to win more games. Now let’s get defensive minded (I do bleed Black and Gold). Keeping people off base stops runs, gets wins. So the best overall pitcher is one that keeps people off base, takes people off base, and leaves people stranded. Pay attention. Since most pitchers don’t pitch 9 innings an outing, unless you have super tendons and a last name of Verlander, this stat needs to be by inning. I’ll use WHIP as a skeleton stat to start and go from there.

We need to account for any bases gained and bases saved by a pitcher from the moment he steps on the mound. I’ll list the stats I feel have an impact with their appropriate weight.

Individual Statistic

Bases Gained/Lost



Hit Batters


Wild Pitch








Home Runs




Stolen Bases Allowed




Sac Flies Allowed


‘Extra’ Bases




Double Play


Caught Opponent Stealing


So we’ll start with these. “Extra” Bases would be a player going from first to third or scoring from second. Stolen bases and the appropriate weight are up for debate, but that would require another test, and I’m lazy. Now we just need to try it out with a small set of data. How about Jake Arrieta’s starts in 2012.

(Digs through dusty file cabinets, can’t find the right manila folder. Shuffles papers across desk, knocks over ink for the quill, damnit, finally finds the stats… Google)

  Actual Bases  +/- Weighted Bases +/-
Walks 7 7
Hit Batters 1 1
Wild Pitch 1 1
Singles 16 16
Doubles 4 8
Triples 0 0
Home Runs 4 16
Balks 0  
Stolen Bases Allowed 2 2
Error 2 2
Sac Flies Allowed 2 2
“Extra” bases 6 3
Pick-Offs 0 0
Double Play 0 0
Caught Opponent Stealing 1 -.4
  Total 57.6

Bases Allowed : 57.6
Innings Pitched: 30.1

Bases Allowed per Inning ( BApI ) : 1.9136 (yes we do 5 sig figs)

Compare that Humber’s Perfect game of 0.

Who do you think is the best pitcher in the MLB so far this season??? Answer coming at the All-Star Break. Well, if I remember.


                   The Cuban Denominator

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3 thoughts on “The Cuban Denominator Introduces Reverse Moneyball

  1. Good idea. But I do believe (despite my claims) that Wang or Hammel might be the “best” pitcher for the O’s this year… record-wise. So how does their BApIs stack up?

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