2006 Dominance Factors

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Over the past two days I’ve been looking at how the Yanks’ minor league pitchers have performed over the last two years using Brett Sullivan’s Dominance Factor (here’s 2008 and 2007), and today I’m going to take it back to 2006. I’m sure you remember that DF is based on a pitcher’s strikeout, walk, and groundball rate, as well as age relative to level, but if not then there’s a little reminder.

If you were following the farm system back then, than I’m sure you’ll love reliving the glory days of 2006. It was the year Tyler Clippard threw the first (and only) no hitter in Trenton Thunder history, the year a Texas-born southpaw named Chase Wright was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year, and the year that the tandem of JB Cox and TJ Beam formed the most dominant one-two bullpen punch in all of minor league baseball. But more than anything, 2006 was the year of Phil Hughes‘ coming out party.

It’s no surprise that St. Phil tops the 2006 list, his second half at Double-A Trenton was absolutely epic: 10.71 Kper9, 2.48 BBper9, 55% groundballs, .183 batting avg against and a 2.15 FIP all while being about two years too young for the league. His DF score of 80.80 in 2006 was far and away the best in the organization, and the only player within 17 points of him was … Phil Hughes at High-A Tampa. They might harp on your fastball and call you a bust Phil, but we’ll always have Trenton.

The table’s after the jump, and as always click for a larger view. It’s pretty amazing that only 13 of the 60 players listed are still with the organization at this very moment. So much turnover.

2006 Dominance Factors

First Inning‘s data only goes back to 2006, but Minor League Splits has 2005 stats, so I might roll out one more of these. It’s a fair amount of extra work, so we’ll see how it goes.

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  • FL Yank

    How much trouble would it be to do a DF chart with the Yankees major league pitching staff they’ve been running out the last few years? I’d be interested to see that as well.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      The problem is that we don’t have an Age Level Factor for MLB. Maybe we could assume something like 25 or 26, which is probably the average age a player sticks for good.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Can you do a dominance factor chart for big leaguers? I thought a central aspect of this was the age-level modifier.

      How would you age-weight big league pitchers? Dunno how that’s workable.

      • FL Yank

        I’d assume the age weight equation would probably a little different but the same theory would apply. The younger the pitcher the more points he gets. So someone like Lincecum would get more DF points than someone like Santana or Sabathia. Like Mike said above the age around players stick would probably be between 25-26. If today wasn’t my day off I’d try and tinker with it but I feel like doing absolutely nothing.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          However, that implies that a 25 year old pitcher in the big leagues is somehow better than a 31 year old pitcher in the big leagues, and I’m not quite sure that is true.

          In AA ball, age variations from the norm are more pronounced, because you’re at the beginning of your career and hence, much more of an unrefined product. So, being a successful pitcher a year younger than the average implies that the dominance is more pronounced, because the pitcher is still learning and improving but is already a dominant pitcher facing hitters who theoretically should be better than him.

          On the pro level, you can’t say as intuitively that what Tim Lincecum or Felix Hernandez is doing is more impressive than what CC Sabathia or Johan Santana are doing, because there’s no theoretical expectation that Lincecum or Hernandez will necessarily get BETTER than they are now (as compared to the expectation that a good 19 year old pitcher will likely get better as he learns how to pitch ), just that they’ll continue to be as good. Doing DF for the big league level would probably unfairly reward younger pitchers who are essentially finished products and will be 5-10 years from now what they are now, and would unfairly penalize pitchers in their 30’s for being somehow less “dominant” than they actually are, simply because they’re above the median big league age.

          Not trying to shit on your idea, just trying to offer some constructive criticisms of it. I’d love to see what you do come up with, if you give it a try.

          • Jack

            Would it work to take the age out and just use the other factors?

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Sure, and it would be a good stat that would have value, but then you lose the comparability to minor league DF. You’d have to call it something else.

              Big league DF without the age weights is basically a version of FIP plus groundball rates, no?

              • Jack

                Pretty much, yeah. Maybe we could give a bonus to players under, say, 23 to account for the improvement that mentioned earlier.

            • BJ

              If you want this you are basically going to get tRA. They camer up with it at stat corner, here is the link to the Yanks page:

              http://www.statcorner.com/team.php?team=NYA&year=2008&leag=A_L

              • Jack

                Cool, thanks.

          • FL Yank

            Nah man you’re straight. All points well taken. I will agree that there isn’t a theoretical expectation for the young guns to get better but I would venture to say that there still is an overall expectation, logical or not, that they will get better as they get into their prime years and as they gain experience. It’s not proven that young stud pitchers get better going into their peak but that is how the situation is looked at. Pitchers past their prime are looked at in the same light. Scientifically proven or not, once a pitcher leaves their best years is when decline starts to happen whether the stats show it or not. Fastballs lose a tick or two, breaking balls lose some of their bite; it’s just natural.

            The age part of the equation would need a ton of tinkering now that I’m thinking about it more. No sane person, or equation for this matter, would rate 2008 Luke Hocheva ahead of 2008 Mike Mussina because age was the main factor so I don’t know what to change in the equation to make it less weighted on age. Like I said earlier, I’m feeling lazy today so I’m not putting too much thought into it.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Mike, what’s the Jason Stephens story? I see him at the top of this 2006 DF list, I see his numbers across his Yankee career ( http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=paJ03020&position=P ) and he looks solid, but he seems to get no prospect love from you (or anyone, for that matter).

    What’s your opinion of him?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      He was a pretty good prospect a few years ago, but got hurt a few times and lost his stuff. He’s not the same guy he was in 2005 & 2006, but to his credit he’s battled back.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        If I’m reading his Fangraphs and BR.com pages correctly, it looks like he was progressing nicely through Rookie ball, Short Season, and then the Sally league when he got hurt sometime in ’06, and then they basically started his whole clock over again in ’07. So now, he’s old for his leagues, but still appropriately dominant for them… but he still doesn’t look to be pitching very many innings.

        Scouting report: what does he throw, what was the injury, how many injuries have their been, starter/reliever, where does he fit into the Yankees current plans (if at all)?

        • pat

          His inital scouting reports had him with a FB, curve and change. Fb sat about 88-89 with good command, loopy 73 mph curveball and a developing 80 mph changeup. He also had a developing 2 seamer with good sink. I looks like he had TJ in 07.

          • pat

            Excuse me, he had TJ midwy through 06 and missed all of 07, my bad.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Yeah, with only 35 IP in ’06 and 47 IP in ’07, I figured it was TJS.

              Why only 59 innings last year, though? More injuries?

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Whoops, nevermind:

                B-R.com erroneously lists Stephens’s 2008 Charleston campaign (of 59.2 innings) as his TOTAL for the year, rather than one of his three stops.

                I didn’t catch it at first, since the innings totals from his Tampa and Trenton stops (48.1 and 5.1) almost add up to his Charleston innings.

                He actually pitched 113.1 innings last year. My bad.

                Fangraphs has it right, B-R has it wrong.

              • pat

                You might be misreading his stats somewhere, according to his milb.com page he threw 113.1 innings in 08. 59.2 in Charleston, 48.1 in Tampa and 5.1 in Trenton. All told he was 3-5 with a 3.65 ERA, 94/30 k/BB.

                • pat

                  Oops I was typing that before you posted.

  • Will (the other one)

    Good stuff, Mike. Unfortunately, I was not following the system this far back, and so I have to ask:

    Who the hell was Gerardo Casadiego??

    • pat

      Actually you’re pretty fortunate to not have been follwing the farm back then.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I think the question you should be asking is:

      “Where In The World Is Gerardo Casadiego?”

      • pat

        +1

      • Will (the other one)

        Right as always. I enjoyed this post.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Just a minor league journeyman reliever.

  • A.D.

    The farm wasn’t too pretty back then

  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Bronx Baseball Daily

    You guys keep writing about this and it is a cool idea. But is there any reason to believe that this can carry over into the majors? Tyler Clippard was pretty high on that list and I don’t think he ever stood much of a chance in the big leagues.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      You could levy that same charge against any attempt to statistically analyze prospects, and in the end, you get the same result. Some prospects pan out, and replicate their minor league dominance at a Major League level. Others don’t because their stuff just doesn’t translate. The best you can do is look at numbers across a vast array of data and attempt to come out with a best fit.

      It’s also worth noting that there is a big gap between guys at the very tops of these lists and the Tyler Clippards.

      • pat

        Heh yeah it’s all relative. T Clip being high on the Yankees 2006 DF list is like being the king of Turd Mountain.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Which is somewhat similar to being the king of Douchebag Mountain.

          Like this guy: http://tinyurl.com/bryufe

        • Jack

          “Hey, I may not be the best looking guy in this bar, but I’m the only one talking to you.”

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            “You know, for a fat chick, you don’t sweat that much.”

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Clippard, 2006 DF: 60.70
      Clippard, 2007 DF: 45.60

      I’d say that’s probably the reason we bailed on T-Clip, and rightly so. Up until, he was a legit/fringy prospect, but he couldn’t sustain it as he progressed, so he flamed out.

  • http://ranger2709.blogspot.com Old Ranger

    Dislike stats very, very much but, respect them.
    Old school says; your eyes are the looking glass into talent (among other things) but, going by ones eyes alone is dumb. Conversely, going by stats only would have someone like Brett Gardner with no chance to make the team this year. Stats said he was nothing more then a slap hitter with no foreseeable power. Working stats and knowledgeable eyes together has helped Brett and others a lot. Stats don’t show the things that can be changed, only what is.
    I am very much old school and use my eyes along with stats…even Cashman has said he is more into stats.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Stats said he was nothing more then a slap hitter with no foreseeable power.

      In the interest of intellectual honesty and consistency, Ranger, scouting reports generate solely by eyes watching Gardner said the exact same thing.

      Nobody ever watched Gardner and didn’t come to the conclusion that he was nothing more then a slap hitter with no foreseeable power. What both the stats and the eyes agree with is that there is value in Gardner even though he’s nothing more then a slap hitter with no foreseeable power, but there’s no gulf there between the scouting analyisis and the sabermetric analysis.

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  • http://www.projectprospect.com Brett Sullivan

    Hey Mike, I’m enthused with your interest and effort in working with my statistic. It is by no means a perfect means to determine exactly how “dominant” a pitching prospect is, but I think it does the job to approximate what type of performance they had on each level and how they impacted the game.

    Like most of you are pointing out, it would be completely unnecessary to have an age-adjustment for the major leagues. Dominance Factor was created as a tool for observing minor leaguers, so that is it’s most useful purpose. I suppose you could get ratings for major leaguers by removing the age-weight, but gaging an age-related-to-level is key for wDF. A guy with an elite walk and ground ball ratio who is a mediocre strikeout pitcher, and results in a mediocre pitcher overall could post a pretty nice dominance factor in the majors, and generally these guys rely on their savvy and experience — thus being older than the young studs that would compose of a minor league dominance factor list.

    You won’t find many 20-22 year olds in Triple-A that don’t have pretty good stuff and resulting strikeout rates.

    Again, I appreciate everyones enjoyment of my tool, and if anyone wanted had a question or comment, feel free to E-Mail me at bsullivan@projectprospect.com

    Great Job, Mike!

  • dane bramage

    Didn’t Brett Smith throw a no-hitter for Trenton in 07 ? Pretty sure about it,albeit a 5 or 6 inning job,but a no-hitter none the less.

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