PTO% At Work: Crowner Of Aces?

March 29th, 2008 · 10 Comments

By Frankie Piliere

Through consultation of some good statistical minds, I believe that I now have a more firm understanding of what our new pitching statistic really is measuring and how it can be applied. Pitches Towards Outs measures a pitchers dominance. Yes, dominance. It sounds bold but that’s what it is I believe.

This is not a measure of best pitchers, although that can often go hand in hand with dominance. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, etc. are all phenomenal but you are not going to see them go through a lineup without setting up hitters or battling them in deep counts. And, while it’s been suggested that this measurement may work towards indicating a pitcher’s stuff, well it doesn’t quite do that either. A perfect example of why not is if a pitcher is walking hitters and laboring deep into counts to get them out, great stuff or not, they would not do well in this formula.

So, yes, this formula is about ease of outs. The optimal performances are first pitch outs and three pitch strikeouts. If a pitcher went through a game like that, I think you’d call that the essence of “ease of outs” or dominance. Dominance is a little bit up for interpretation so if ease of outs works for you, we can call that this formula’s application. Find out more after the jump…

With all that being said, are we not all curious to see which pitchers get their outs the easiest? Well, I was at least. In running an organization, the goal is to search for new forms and outlets of analytical information and I think this would be a good way of reviewing my team’s upside as a pitching staff. But, to get a better frame of reference, I thought it would be wise to examine some of baseball best pitchers, regardless of style to see what we might discover about how they stack up in terms of dominating a game compared to what their reputation is. Check out some of the results based on 2007 statistics.

First, I took a look at starting pitchers who got votes for the Cy Young awards in each league in 2007 to see how they stacked up.

The Best Of The Starters

Johan Santana - 33.8%

Erik Bedard - 33.6%

John Smoltz - 33.1%

Cole Hamels - 32.4%

Josh Beckett - 32.1%

C.C. Sabathia - 32.0%

Brandon Webb - 32.0%

Jake Peavy - 31.9%

Aaron Harang - 31.6%

John Lackey - 30.4%

Fausto Carmona - 29.4%

Justin Verlander - 28.9%

Roy Halladay - 28.7%

Jeff Francis - 28.0%

Brad Penny - 27.8%

Carlos Zambrano - 27.2%

I don’t like the term “Ace” in all situations, but I’m going to look at the perceived “aces” of each team. This will be incredibly interesting though. Now, we’ll really find out how dominant each team’s ace is and maybe crash down some stereotypes at the same time. Let’s take a look. Some of these are redundant from the first category but hang with me.

“Aces” Around The League (2007) - Rankings

Minnesota Twins: Johan Santana - 33.8%

Baltimore Orioles: Erik Bedard - 33.6%

Atlanta Braves: John Smoltz - 33.1%

Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels - 32.4%

Boston Red Sox: Josh Beckett - 32.1%

Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Webb - 32.0%

Cleveland Indians: C.C. Sabathia - 32.0%

San Diego Padres: Jake Peavy - 31.9%

Cincinnati Reds: Aaron Harang - 31.6%

Pittsburgh Pirates: Ian Snell - 31.4%

Chicago White Sox: Javier Vazquez - 31.1%

Tampa Bay Rays: Scott Kazmir - 30.5%

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: John Lackey - 30.4%

Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez - 30.1%

Washington Nationals: Shawn Hill - 29.2%

Oakland Athletics: Dan Haren - 29.0%

Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander - 28.9%

Toronto Blue Jays: Roy Halladay - 28.7%

Houston Astros: Roy Oswalt - 28.6%

New York Mets: John Maine - 28.6%

Milwaukee Brewers: Ben Sheets - 28.4%

New York Yankees: Chien-Ming Wang - 28.2%

Colorado Rockies: Jeff Francis - 28.0%

Los Angeles Dodgers: Brad Penny - 27.8%

St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright - 27.8%

San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain - 27.7%

Chicago Cubs: Carlos Zambrano - 27.2%

Kansas City Royals: Gil Meche - 26.8%

Florida Marlins: Dontrelle Willis - 26.1%

Texas Rangers: Kevin Millwood - 25.6%

Call me crazy but this truly seems to me to be measure of “ace-hood”. The rankings are very interesting to see who used the most of their pitchers towards outs. Who is rolling through the lineups on easy strikeouts and quick outs? The guys who scored high on this are. The highest percentage for a starter I’ve found yet is Pedro Martinez in his amazing 1999 season. He had a score of 38.2%. I’d like everyone’s feedback on this, but I think we may really have a way to measure who our most dominant pitchers are. I repeat though, it’s not that pitchers who don’t score high on this aren’t good pitchers. They just aren’t guys who roll through a lineup like a steamroller. And, it doesn’t just cater to strikeout pitchers because pitchers who rack up walks and labor will fair terribly

Note: I’ve revised the formula to be easier. Here it is: PTO%=(((IP*3)-SO)+(SO*3))/Pitches

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Tags: Statistical Analysis

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ekogan // Mar 29, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I could see that the old formula PTO% = (SO*3)+SH+SF+(AB-SO-H)/Total Pitches was the same as (Non-SO outs + 3*SO)/Pitches. But I don’t understand the new formula PTO%=(((AB*3)-SO)+(SO*3))/Pitches. It doesn’t seem to calculate anything like a outs to pitches ratio

  • 2 Eric Jackson // Mar 29, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    By using the revised formula I don’t get anywhere near the numbers that you’ve posted, but I do when changing AB to IP

    PTO% = (((IP*3)-SO)+(SO*3))/Total Pitches

  • 3 fpiliere44 // Mar 29, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    My bad guys, typo on my part. That should say IP, not AB. Sorry about that.

  • 4 fpiliere44 // Mar 29, 2008 at 6:51 pm


  • 5 bk // Mar 31, 2008 at 11:44 am

    You could simplify this to be –> (3*IP + 2*K)/TP

  • 6 fpiliere44 // Mar 31, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Great pickup bk. Makes it much simpler. I’ve been so dug into it I hadn’t much considered simplifcation options. Superb work.

  • 7 oregongal // Apr 1, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Interesting concept. As a Mariner fan, I get to watch Bedard and Hernandez this season. Be interesting to keep this in the back of my mind.

    BTW, love the website. Scouting tutorial rocks. Glad you guys are here.

  • 8 AtomicRoadRunners » Opening Day Linkage // Apr 1, 2008 at 12:57 am

    […] Frankie Piliere has a new starting pitching statistic: PTO% (SaberScouting) […]

  • 9 Jamal G. // Apr 1, 2008 at 2:49 am

    This is an amazing stat to keep track of. I’m falling in love with this site more and more every time I visit. Hat tip to Mike A. from River Ave Blues for directing the members here.

  • 10 PTO% Mid-Season Update | SaberScouting // Jul 7, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    […] those unfamiliar, it is a tool we developed that we believe is a measure of dominance or “ace-hood.” Also, we’ve taken the […]

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