Check out the rules of the series here. The remaining parts of the series will also be chronicled there.
The next season belongs to an unheralded Marlin who endured a short stay with the team and a long, torturous tenure with another, more rich team. Yes, I’ll be talking about starter Carl Pavano and his excellent 2004 season.
Carl Pavano (2004)
The method for WAR calculation in Rally’s calculation involves separating team defense, prorated by balls in play, from actual runs allowed. Pavano allowed 80 runs that year, and based on his BIP allowed received an additional run in team defensive support. By using the linear run estimators such as FIP and tRA, the estimates for runs allowed by Pavano independent of defense were much higher.
Defense Independent RA/9
Prorated-Defense Method: 3.28
Using the linear methods would yield a lower WAR. Nevertheless, Pavano’s season was very good. In keeping with his typical pitching profile, Pavano struck out just 15.2% of batters faced, but walked an astonishingly low 5.4% of those batters. Keep in mind that of the 49 walks allowed, 13 were actually unintentional, though Pavano also hit 11 batters.
Pavano is nothing if not a strike thrower. Part of his success, however, came in inducing a slightly higher number of swings out of the zone (18.5% compared to the league average 16.6%). Combine that with his strike throwing (57% of his pitches seen were in the zone, compared to 51% league average) and you have the recipe for some moderate success, as indicated by the linear run estimates.
There is something to be said about the value of luck, in Pavano’s case. After three straight seasons of around average strand rate, Pavano stranded a significantly higher number of baserunners in 2004. While the league average sat around 71%, Pavano stranded just about 77% of runners. Pavano also put up the second lowest BABIP in his career, which certainly came in handy in stranding runners. Because Rally’s WAR methodology gives credit to sequencing, Pavano’s strand rate goes into his value for the season. FIP/tRA, which measure run scoring linearly and as a result are sequence-neutral, estimate Pavano’s production at a lower level.