Monday, April 25, 2011

Do Giants Have Claim to Top Pitching Staff?

Giants fans were outraged when everyone and their Mother forgot about the 2010 playoffs and jumped on the Phillies bandwagon as the best in baseball. Many were incensed by the team that just beat each of these pitchers so casually being cast aside.

So far this season, the Giants have not done much to try regain the claim as the top pitching staff after their slow start.

By just about every traditional measure, the Giants are just not among the best in baseball. Here are the MLB rankings:

ERA - 3.92 (14th)
WHIP - 1.245 (12th)
ERA+ - 104 (13th)

However, if you take the time to dig a little bit deeper, you can see things are not as bad as the traditional stats would lead you to believe:

K/9 - 8.18 (3rd)
K/BB - 2.37 (6th)
FIP - 3.28 (3rd)
xFIP - 3.53 (4th)

All of these save for K/9 (which was 8.20 last year) are better than that historically great staff. This year's team is giving up more runs, but the biggest departure this year is they just haven't stranded as many base runners as normal.

April has been a tough month for the Giants, so I expect that the rankings will improve as the season progresses, but I think maybe that some of that over confidence in having the best pitching in baseball might have been too much. This is still a very good pitching team, but I'm not as sure that they still have a claim as the best.

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