Another Look at Aybar/Johnson | The Process Report

Another Look at Aybar/Johnson

By R.J. Anderson //

I wanted to add one thing to Tommy’s post from last night regarding the DH choice. One other thing to consider is that Cliff Lee is a rather neutral pitcher when it comes to ground and flyballs. His groundball rates over the last three seasons buoy between 40-45% with his GB/FB ratio between 1 and 1.15 the last two seasons.

The Book says groundball pitchers own groundball hitters (as do flyball pitchers with flyball hitters), meaning an extra platoon advantage can be taking advantage of these ratios. If we call Lee a groundball pitcher, then Dan Johnson is the better choice based on limited career stats, same with a neutral pitcher. There is little reason to believe Lee is a flyball pitcher, but if he is, then Aybar is the choice. Here are the numbers:

OPS	v. FB	v. Neu	v. GB
Aybar	0.795	0.731	0.66
Johnson	0.73	0.83	0.713

We know Joe Maddon looks at this information because he’s said as much before:

DL: How do you approach the use of statistics?

JM: Andrew and James Click supply me with a lot. I get the regular packet on a daily basis, and I go to and look at what’s presented there. Then, Clicker presents me with this analysis based on groundball and flyball percentages, like, is this guy a groundball or flyball pitcher, and do hitters with a bit of an uppercut maybe have a better opportunity to hit against him than someone who is more of a flat-swinger. This is the kind of stuff I’ve paid attention to in the past, but now the information is there to look at, and it’s backed up by numbers. So I might make a decision of who to play based on whether someone appears (on the printout) in blue, or if they appear in red, which is a negative, or in black, which is more neutral. Then I’ll try to read into it deeper to see if there’s anything I can use to exploit a match-up.

We’ll see what Maddon and “Clicker’s” printout decided on in a few hours, but it’s one of the more complex decisions being made tonight, even if neither of the players contributes much.

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