WHIP up some support
Do better pitchers get more run support due to the confident aura they exude? Will Josh Towers ever get any? I ran 2006’s data for starters’ (120 innings minimum) run support against their WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched) to see if there was any correlation between the quality of a pitcher and how many runs his team scores for him. My first thought was there would be absolutely none, because that’s what modern mathematical analysis tends to do to vague psychological intangibles (clutch hitting, streaky hitters, protection, baserunner distractions, etc.) in baseball. The first results did not disappoint:
That’s about as randomly distributed a cloud as you can get; in fact the trendline has a slight slope that indicated worse pitchers getting more run support- though it’s not really enough to be statistically relevant. But there is an interesting gap: the pretty bad pitchers (WHIP > 1.45) in 2006 never got more than 4.5 runs. So I did another year:
Ok, the gap is gone- but there’s the same trend, and this year the slope is about twice what it was in 2006. Which might actually be relevant. So one more:
That’s three straight years in the same direction, and with even more of an noticeable effect in favour of worse pitchers. Stop the presses! Call SABR! Batters are slackers with the ace on the mound! Unfortunately, *slice* goes Occam’s razor – this can also be explained by other teams intentionally matching up their aces against yours (and the other way around), which is easily enough to explain a 1/2 run slope in your offence’s effectiveness without resorting to questionable psychological babble. This myth is busted.