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.

39 Comments
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Frank Lynch
Frank Lynch
9 years ago

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

Frank Lynch
Frank Lynch
9 years ago

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

Frank Lynch
Frank Lynch
9 years ago

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?

Frank Lynch
Frank Lynch
Reply to  JB Gilpin
9 years ago

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

Frank Lynch
Frank Lynch
Reply to  JB Gilpin
9 years ago

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

Frank Lynch
Frank Lynch
9 years ago

Sup Man… Which pitcher do you like better for tomorrow Feldman vs NYM or McAllister vs SEA???

John Stamos
John Stamos
9 years ago

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!

Visionary1
Visionary1
9 years ago

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?

Targaryen
Targaryen
9 years ago

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

Anthony
Anthony
9 years ago

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

Rudy Gamble
Reply to  Anthony
9 years ago

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

Oz
Oz
9 years ago

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.

Longbeachyo
Longbeachyo
9 years ago

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!

I'm a Nerd Too
I'm a Nerd Too
9 years ago

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.

Longbeachyo
Longbeachyo
Reply to  I'm a Nerd Too
9 years ago
Frank Lynch
Frank Lynch
9 years ago

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?

Wallpaper Paterson
Wallpaper Paterson
Reply to  Frank Lynch
9 years ago

@Frank Lynch: Thank you, Frank, for making this thread less nerdy.

Justin
Justin
9 years ago

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
Justin
Reply to  Justin
9 years ago

@Justin:

*Batted Ball speed

Jacks
Jacks
Reply to  JB Gilpin
9 years ago

@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.

Rudy Gamble
9 years ago

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…

OaktownSteve
OaktownSteve
9 years ago

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.

Anthony
Anthony
Reply to  JB Gilpin
9 years ago

@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).