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Sunday, May 26, 2013

CAN MATT DO MOORE?

Not only is Matt Moore 8-0; not only is he unbeaten this season; not only has he just broken the franchise record of 8 straight decisions set by teammate David Price; but Matt Moore is the youngest lefty, at 23, to start the season 8-0 since a 22 year old by the name of Babe Ruth.

So where is this coming from? How did this guy get so good? Let’s take a look at some elements contributing to Moore’s success. First, let’s examine some sabermetrics beyond Moore’s ERA and WHIP.

One telling stat lies in Moore’s BABIP. This stat accounts for how many balls in play against a pitcher get through for hits. If the pitcher has an elite infielder or two behind him, balls will be corralled and plays will be made for outs.

BABIP also accounts for intangibles like luck, and changes in a pitcher’s mechanics, adjustments for delivery, and what have you. BABIP can have enormous effects on a pitcher’s stats. Especially ERA.

The league average for pitchers this season is .292. Moore’s career average BABIP is .275. But this year? It’s .197. That’s a difference of .078. Almost an entire point. The conclusion here is that Moore has been exceptionally lucky this season, and this must be one factor in how he has kept his ERA so low.

Not enough? Let’s examine his LOB%. This stat measures the percentage of runners a pitcher leaves stranded on base. It is calculated using a pitcher’s walks, hits, and runs allowed. What it illustrates is the higher a pitcher’s LOB% is compared to his ERA, the luckier that pitcher is.

Matt Moore’s career low LOB% is 76.8%. This season it is a staggering 91.8%! That is a huge difference of -15%! Moore has gotten himself out of a lot of jams and left a lot of runners on base.

Matt Moore ranks in the top ten of both lowest BABIP and highest LOB%. What this means is he has been exceptionally lucky. One dropped ball here, one missed strike there, and he doesn’t have the impressive start that he has enjoyed.

But…

It cannot be denied that Moore is also exceptionally talented. While he is getting by with a little help from his friends, and escaping unscathed from threatening runners, he IS escaping. He is getting out of trouble when he needs to. He is responding to pressure situations and rising to meet them.

That is the real indicator of how he has performed; he responds well under pressure. I think we can expect to see a lot Moore from Matt.

 
Chad R. MacDonald
BYB Writer
Facebook: New York Yankees the Home of Champions
My Blog: ChadRants


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