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Disclaimer: This is as technical and as nerdy as it gets.  Wait I thought this was Razzball not Fangraphs!  Well there’s my only joke, so only read on if you’re into the hardcore sabermetrics or sabretooth tigers.  Dammit, OK, that’s the last one…

The stat developed by Bill James, the “Gamescore”, was a way to evaluate a pitcher’s performance on any given game and is used more and more frequently to determine who pitched the best game (ala Shelby Miller’s 1-hitter vs. Matt Harvey’s).  It is scored like this:

  1. Start with 50 points.
  2. Add one point for each out recorded, so three points for every complete inning pitched.
  3. Add two points for each inning completed after the fourth.
  4. Add one point for each strikeout.
  5. Subtract two points for each hit allowed.
  6. Subtract four points for each earned run allowed.
  7. Subtract two points for each unearned run allowed.
  8. Subtract one point for each walk.

The whole purpose of my Pitcher Profiles (that come out every Monday) is to analyze a pitcher’s performance beyond the stats to evaluate if they’re getting hit hard and getting lucky outs, or maybe getting unlucky with bloops and weak grounders.  So I decided to make my own, yes slightly subjective stat, called Gamescore+.  This way it analyzes a pitcher’s game in a numerical way, however it does require viewing and analysis of every out instead of just a crunching of raw numbers.  Here’s how it is calculated:

  1. Start with 50 points
  2. Add 2*(out grade) for every out made in the field (this omits the bonus for additional innings after the 4th like the traditional stat and doesn’t blindly give points to every out).  A double play doubles this figure to account for the two out.
  3. Add THREE points for each strikeout (strikeouts are a bigger factor in fantasy and tend to indicate a higher level of pitcher dominance.  In a traditional game score, you get 1 point per strikeout, plus 1 for it being an out [and plus .33 if it’s past the fourth] so they are scored roughly evenly, however outs in the field give you less points in Gamescore+ especially if they are hard outs, so strikeouts are much more valued)
  4. Subtract 4*(hit grade) for each hit allowed.
  5. Subtract four points for each earned run allowed (omitting the subtraction for losing unearned runs)
  6. Subtract one point for each walk.

out grade – on a scale of .5 being a very weakly hit ball, either on the ground or a pop up to .1 being a rocket that should’ve been a hit except for a fantastic defensive play.  Caught stealing, pickoffs, and batter interference or any other outs not in the field are not scored.

hit grade – on a scale of .5 being a very sharply hit ball, usually extra bases or very well struck to .1 being a bloop single, a lucky infield hit or any other hit that more often than not results in an out.  Reaching on an error is not scored.

 

Even with a slightly subjective aspect to the stat, anybody could calculate a Gamescore+ with a fluctuation of about +/- 1 point.  And while this stat does gear a tad closer to fantasy, I think it gives a much better numerical value to the dominance a pitcher had in a given game.

As hinted above, strikeouts weigh very heavily in a Gamescore+ calculation, but this is intended to be guided a little more towards fantasy and also towards a pitcher’s dominance.  Mere outs are weighted less, but how you get your outs, is much more prominent, especially if you are striking guys out.

 

So looking back at Shelby Miller’s 1-hitter, here’s how I calculated his Gamescore+:

  • 1. 50 points
  • 2. Fowler popup (.5) so .5*2 = 1
    • Rosario flyout (.3)*2 = .6
    • Arenado groundout (.3)*2 = .6
    • Rutledge groundout (.2)*2 = .4
    • Young groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Rosario flyout (.3)*2 = .6
    • Helton flyout (.2)*2 = .4
    • Arenado flyout (.2)*2 = .4
    • Young groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Gonzalez groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Rosario flyout (.2)*2 = .4
    • Helton foulout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Arenado groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Rutledge groundout (.5)*2 = 1
  •     TOTAL OUTS: 10.4
  • 3. 13 Ks*3 = 39
  • 4. Young bloop single .2 (he hit it a little better than the worst bloops) *4 = .8 which is subtracted.
  • 5. -0
  • 6. -0

Gamescore+ = 98.6 (vs. Gamescore of 98)

 

Here’s how Matt Harvey’s 1-hitter was scored, going back and watching the film:

  • 1. 50 Points
  • 2. De Aza flyout (.3)*2 = .6
    • Keppinger lineout (.3)*2 = .6
    • Dunn flyout (.2)*2 = .4
    • Flowers groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Santiago groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Keppinger groundout (.2)*2 = .4
    • Rios flyout (.3)*2 = .6
    • Dunn groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Ramirez groundout (.4)*2 = .8
    • Wise flyout (.2)*2 = .4
    • Keppinger groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Gillaspie flyout (.4)*2 = .8
    • Ramirez groundout (.5)*2 = 1
    • Flowers flyout (.4)*2 = .8
    • Wise flyout (.4)*2 = .8
  •     TOTAL OUTS: 11.2
  • 3. 12 Ks*3 = 36
  • 4. Rios infield single (.2)*4 = -.8
  • 5. -0
  • 6. -0

Gamescore+ = 96.4 (vs. Gamescore of 97)

 

So even though re-watching Harvey’s 1-hitter I thought Harvey looked stronger, Miller still had the better results.  The difference of that 1 strikeout still remains the same.

These are obviously two of the more elite pitched games you’ll ever see.  Also, they are extremely close to the actual Gamescore stats they received, something I didn’t intend and I think will fluctuate more with more standard games.  So let’s look at another start broken down from this week:

 

Since I wrote this just before the Brewers game on Tuesday, let’s look at A.J. Burnett’s start:

  • 1. 50 points
  • 2. Lucroy Flyout (.4) = .8
    • Shafer groundout (.4) = .8
    • Aoki hard lineout (.1) = .2
    • Gomez groundout (.3) = .6
    • Ramirez flyout (.1) = .2
    • Betancourt groundout (.5) = 1
    • Lucroy flyout (.3) = .6
    • Estrada sac bunt (.5) = 1
    • Gomez groundout (.4) = .8
    • Ramirez groundout (.5) = 1
    • Betancourt groundout (.5) = 1
    • Lucroy groundout (.5) = 1
    • Lalli groundout (.3) = .6
    • Estrada sac bunt (.5) = 1
    • Segura flyout (.3) = .6
  •     TOTAL OUTS: 11.2
  • 3. 6 Ks*3 = 18
  • 4. Aoki double (.5) = 2
    • Segura infield single (.2) = .8
    • Gomez infield single (.2) = .8
    • Segura broken bat single (.1) = .4
    • Shafer double (.5) = 2
    • Aoki double (.3) = 1.2
    • Segura RBI single (.1) = .4
  •    TOTAL HITS: -7.6
  • 5. 4*3 = -12
  • 6. -0

Gamescore+ = 59.6 (vs. Gamescore of 55)

 

So this game was closer to what I was hoping for.  Burnett gave up a lot of weak singles and I thought pitched well and better than his Gamescore would indicate.

All in all, the hope is to create a stat that A) is guided more towards fantasy (hence the heavy weight of strikeouts) and B) builds in how lucky or unlucky a pitcher actually got by weighing the strength of the hits against and outs against.  Sure it’s a slightly subjective part of the stat, but for a sport with such a high level of dependence on stats, aren’t there some levels of subjectivity to the statisticians and umpires as well?  Balls vs. strikes?  Hits vs. errors?  It will be interesting to start using these stats in my Pitcher Profiles – adding this numerical stat to the break downs as well.

From Around The Web

  1. OaktownSteve says:
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    Not actually very dorky at all. The concept is maybe more advanced, but the math is elementary school. That doesn’t discount the idea. I believe in simple metrics.

    I like the concept of adding a subjective component (hard hit vs weakly hit). It’s great for doing just what you did, comparing out a couple of starts. Too bad there’s not an easy way of scaling up the concept (having a data source for hard/weakly as opposed to doing it yourself). As a result it tells you something about a given start but not about a pitchers performance over time, so you’re stuck with the small sample size of games you’ve watched.

    Cool idea. Very thoughtful.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @OaktownSteve: Thanks man! Yea I think more stats surrounding how hard balls are hit and how lucky/unlucky hits are are going to get utilized more and more. Just look how frequently line drive % is used everywhere. Hopefully one day those stats will be easily available!

      • Anthony says:
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        @JB Gilpin:
        I think it could be scaleable with access to the Hit F/X data. It’s currently only available commercially (I believe), but if it were open to the public, then we’d be able to quantify “hard hit” versus “weak hit” with a more quantitative approach (using the actual velocity and angle that the ball had coming off of the bat).

  2. JB – I apologize in advance but I’ve got something coming out very soon that will trump Gamescore…..will be providing the same $ values for games started that are currently seen in Stream-o-nator for projected starts…

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Rudy Gamble: Ah gotcha, well Gamescore+ will still be a little different though and will be a good numerical stat to add to my Pitcher Profiles but I look forward to it!

  3. Justin says:
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    Are there any sites that track ball speed? I’m just throwing that out there as you might be able to use that number to somehow replace your hit grade and make this more automated.

    • Justin says:
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      @Justin:

      *Batted Ball speed

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Justin: Not sure I’ve never seen one. But even then, a good piece of hitting blooping a two-strike single into the outfield vs. a hard hit grounder is a slight difference. Interesting thought though I’m going to dig around thanks for the idea!

      • Jacks says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Yes there’s a hit fx but the company that records and sells the data only sells to MLB teams. Bat speed, speed off bat, angles, everything …. QUITE expensive, but a big part of that 2 terabytes of data they collect from every game, and VERY important to advanced statistics in real baseball.

        Eventually that data will find a venue for public consumption. And then we’ll have a real, valuable BABIP that gives different weights to how hard a ball is hit, it’s backspin, the contact point in relation to the barrel sweetspot etc.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Jacks: Actually yea I have heard that talked about last year now that I think about it, but I remember like you aid it’s sold for a high price. So when I win the Powerball this weekend that is at $550 mil, I’m going to buy all the data only for Razzball and we will become the only reliable hit fx source!

  4. Frank Lynch says:
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    Hey buddy… I got Belt as an extra but I’m never gonna use him this week cause there’s nobody to bench that worse then him.. Anyway I was looking at the odds for Jeff Francis to pitch on Sunday against Zito and it looks really good. would u drop belt to grab Francis cause I have no pitchers going that day and my opponent has 2 pitchers going and it’s a close game fighting to the end.. 10 team h2h points league. What u think?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Frank Lynch: I fine picking up a pitcher to stream but I would avoid Jeff Francis. He’s terrible.

    • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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      @Frank Lynch: Thank you, Frank, for making this thread less nerdy.

  5. I'm a Nerd Too says:
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    Very cool. I love stuff like this. Now, what would be awesome (although hours of work that probably makes it prohibitive) is if you could see a histogram of each pitcher’s Gamescores+ to-date and calculate a mean and RMS, then re-rank them based on who is most dominant, and with how much fluctuation.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @I’m a Nerd Too: That would make me happier than a 7 – Year old on Christmas getting an N64! Yeah it would be awesome, like I said above I think stats ranking hit levels and out levels are going to be more and more in vogue then if so it would be easy to have everyone’s numbers. Thanks for reading I’m excited to apply these!

  6. Longbeachyo says:
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    JB, this is beautiful. Now all you need to do is go back and watch every game pitched by every active pitcher and start compiling averages and split stats! Stop whatever you are doing and get to work. It needs to be available and sortable by next week! J/k This actually reminds me a lot of the new NFL stat Total QBR. Unfortunately, I don’t see this stat as being a predictive stat. However, knowing where you’ve come from is also very important. It would be AWESOME to have actual year-to-date averages of all pitchers. At the very least though, can I request a best and worst? I think you tried that with the 2 one-hitters thrown for the best category… but I wonder how annibal sanchez’ 17 (or was it 18) strikeout game compared as well other really high K totals.
    I do wonder why pickoffs are excluded. Isn’t that the talent of the pitcher? Or are you strictly limiting it to pitching ability? Thanks man, keep up the good work!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Longbeachyo: Thanks man! Yeah I got all giddy thinking about it and finally put it together. If only I were in the mlb man cave! Yea that’s a great idea, I may watch the Sanchez 17 K game and the Cobb game, and it wouldn’t take too much time because so few stats weren’t Ks! I kept out pickoffs and other outs because those can be subjective as who made the best play or worse mistake opening another huge can of worms. Was the base runner leaning? And if pickoffs are included steals might have to be considered too, and if the catcher is not a good arm, it could be all on him. So I left it limited to the window of in the field of play outs, just to keep the number from spiraling out of control like Russell Crowe in a Beautiful Mind. Haha, thanks for reading man, we’ll see how the next pitcher does on Monday!

  7. Oz says:
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    Who’s replacing Price? I intially picked up Archer yesterday, then I read that the Rays called up Alex Torres, but didn’t specify who’d replace Price. Between Archer, Ordozzi, Price, and Colome it’s definitely making me depressed to see my Angels throwing Joe Blanton and Bary Enright out there… But yeah which guy gets the start and which of the 4 TB pitchers has the best long-term outlook? Thx.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Oz: Well not to humble brag or anything, but I’ve been to a few Durham Bulls games and have seen Archer and Odorizzi live this year! Yup Torres got the call up and appears to take the role, I think Archer eventually gets more starts though, but for 2014 on I like Odorizzi. He won’t have the K upside, I just have a feeling on this guy.

  8. Anthony says:
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    @Rudy Gamble: Is the player rater ever going to be back up and running or ???

    • Should be up on Monday along with a bunch of other enhancements…

  9. Targaryen says:
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    Having a hard time trying to determine who says hit’s are .1,.2,.3,.4or.5… & the same with outs. Also as someone who loves fantasy but busy in the worlds of work & family I don’t have the time to watch a game like that. I’m lucky to see half a game sometimes. Appreciate the time you spent to come up with it. I like the concept

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Targaryen: Thanks for reading! Those figures came from me, determining how hard the ball was hit. So you’re right, it does take additional time and effort to come up with the stat, and as we’ve discussed above, that kind of data isn’t publicly available you have to sit and watch whole game to come up with the figure. So I’m going to do as many as I can through the season and see how it compares data wise.

  10. Visionary1 says:
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    Very interesting, I like the points for Ks, it adheres more closely to how people consider a dominant start. After all, a 10 strikeout 5 hit game is more dominant than a 2 strikeout 5 hit game, all other things being equal. I question the unearned runs, though. It seems to me that a pitcher carries some responsibility for an unearned run – few baserunners make it to home on errors alone. Did you have a rationale for excluding them, or did they just not fit into your formula?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Visionary1: Thanks for your feedback! I had a few reasons for keeping them out. One is going back to the fantasy leanings of the stat, where unearned runs mean nothing in fantasy. You get hurt on your WHIP if say there’s a two out error then you give up 4 straight doubles, but not your ERA. Also, sometimes it’s just a single run that shouldn’t have scored anyway, last Sabathia start there was a no out error, Sabathia got two solid outs then gave up a double then out of the inning, so that run obviously shouldn’t effect his Gamescore (os GSC+). So I decided to keep them out for those reasons. But after I do more of these, I may have to readdress, thanks again!

  11. Nico

    John Stamos says:
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    Hey JB, this is great. I love looking at baseball through the mathematical lens because I feel like baseball is semi-predictable game than can be better understood through logical numbers. This is just another great “stat” to add to the arsenal.

    I was wondering what the “scale” is for Gamescore+? i.e. 0-100? I apologize if I missed this.

    Thanks!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @John Stamos: Thanks for reading! Well I had been thinking of a stat with hit and out scales and never put it together until this week, so the scale is still being figured out. Theoretically, it should mimic the Gamescore scale, and be an adjustment up or down on the actual Gamescore a pitcher gets. The highest Gamescore is 105 for Kerry Wood’s 20 K game (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_score) which I think would score higher in Gamescore+ and be another fun one for me to do. I’ll keep this work updated as I do the Pitcher Profiles!

      • Nico

        John Stamos says:
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        @JB Gilpin: This is seriously awesome. Thanks for the post.

  12. Frank Lynch says:
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    Sup Man… Which pitcher do you like better for tomorrow Feldman vs NYM or McAllister vs SEA???

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Frank Lynch: I’d go McAllister

  13. Frank Lynch says:
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    Sup JP my Dog!!! Hey I always get aggravated cause I pick up all these guys that you recommend and mostly always work out that are real good but then end up trading or dropping them like Beltran, Mark Reynolds, Scutaro, Segura etc… Well Segura I had to trade cause I have Starlin Castro n Jose Reyes. The point is that These guys are killing it for the guys that have them but when I had these guys on my team they were all benched guys because my team is full of guys that can’t really be benched over them like –
    Wieters
    Fielder
    altuve
    starlin castro
    Zimmerman
    MCcutchen
    Justin upton
    matt holliday
    Carl Crawford
    Donaldson( but just had him fill this spot after a trade)
    So if you had this lineup and had all these other guys on the bench all the time like the guys I mentioned, why should I have them on the bench doing nothing, Except for like 1 day every other week or an injury happens which is unlikely. I can just have more quality Pitchers that will all start for me every week at least trying to get me points. Do you agree? If I had a Scutaro or Mark Reynolds then I would want to play them but can’t. I’m not gonna bench Fielder, Zimmerman or altuve for them right? If I’m not gonna use them then why have them when I can have Quality Pitchers starting every week. What u think?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Frank Lynch: I don’t think you can just drop quality bats to stream pitching even if they’re on your bench. That said, I don’t think Scutaro is necessarily a guy you have to hold on to, but you have to hold Reynolds. I’d play your guys every day, then like you said, adjust on off days. I think Scutaro is definitely droppable for pitchers, all he does is hit an empty .300.

      • Frank Lynch says:
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        I hear ya but I play week to week points. Like this week I’m neck to neck with this guy and every day he’s grabbing an extra pitcher so when it comes down to it he’s gonna bump ahead of me cause pitchers are a lot of points in this league, 20 points for a win and a point per inning ank K. even if he gets A no decision he still collects all those other points. If I have 3 guys on my batter bench they’re like sitting ducks. I don’t mind having one on the bench but I already have a DL taking up room. for me to keep up wth him, the next few days I have to add drop pitchers just like McAllister n Feldmen

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Frank Lynch: I hear ya, but I still don’t think you can drop Reynolds though… Scutaro, definitely fine to let go.

          • Frank Lynch says:
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            Oh no it’s not about them really cause I don’t have them anymore its just when I pick up all these guys you recommend and they end up doing awesome I sometimes have to drop them for pitching situations like this to win the week but after I win It aggravates me when they go off doing great foer someone else.. Do you totally disagree of what I’m doing though even if it gets me the win for that week? It’s all about wins cause I’m 2-3

  14. Frank Lynch says:
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    I know what you mean by holding guys for off days but it’s like once a week and the odds are that the guy MIGHT get like 5 points and then what, back to the bench

  15. Frank Lynch says:
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    Oh also my bad but this morning I picked up Feldman then found Mcallister later. I’ve used 5 out of my 6 player adds for the week. Should I use the last one to switch to mcallister or should I ride Feldman then drop him tomorrow so I can use the last player add for another pitcher on Sunday? Sorry for all these questions that are different from eachother. lol

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Frank Lynch: I hear ya, it kinda depends on the player. A guy like Yuniesky Betancourt who is hot a few weeks is easily a guy to switch out. Jean Segura on the other hand is a monster, adjusting better than anyone thought to the league, and a guy to hold on to. I would go ahead and ride Feldman, he and McAlister are close, and grab another guy tomo.

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