Moving on the pitching:
It’s a bit more complicated for pitchers—but the numbers I prefer to focus on are BABIP (same as above), LOB% (the rate at which a pitcher strands his baserunners, league average is slightly above 70%), HR/FB (the rate at which fly balls turn into home runs), and E-F (ERA-FIP, the difference between the pitchers ERA and his fielding independent pitching statistic). All four of these, at the extremes, can indicate good and bad luck.
In some cases, this can be confusing. For instance, take a look at Boone Logan, who has been a touch lucky with his strand rate (78.4% is very high), and with his HR/FB rate (6.3% is low), but a bit unlucky with his BABIP (.329 is high). In the aggregate (as shown by his E-F) he’s been lucky…but not ridiculously so. [EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t care one bit about your fancy-schmancy stats and color-coded tables, Will. Logan has to go. He’s the Yanks’ white flag: When you see Logan, the game’s over.]
What stands out the most here is that Joba Chamberlain has been excessively unlucky this year (save on his HR/FB rate, which is quite low). How unlucky? Joba’s E-F of 2.99 is the highest of any pitcher in the American League with at least twenty innings pitched, driven mostly by the combination of his high BABIP and his extremely low strand rate.
David Robertson has also been very unlucky—he’s 9th amongst AL Relievers in E-F. Even Chan Ho Park is in this group—all four of the indicative statistics above indicate that he’s in for a boost in the second half.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that a number of the Yankees core contributors have been lucky thus far in 2010, with Andy Pettitte being the main target. His BABIP is very low at .265, and his strand rate is almost 10% above league average. CC is in the same boat—his BABIP is basically the same as Andy’s and while his strand rate is a touch lower, it’s still well higher than average.
Mariano Rivera, who has been one of the few pitchers in baseball to consistently manage a significant below average BABIP (career .274) and HR/FB rate (career 6.4%) has thus far gotten stupid-lucky, with only 19% of his batted balls falling for hits, and 3.3% of his fly balls ending up over the fence.
Don’t get too scared about Mo—while he’s been lucky, his FIP stands at a sterling 2.27. His true performance is a tick worse than that, somewhere between the 2.27 FIP and his 3.08 xFIP. It turns out it’s pretty rare to see a pitcher with a 1.05 ERA who hasn’t gotten lucky.
Marte is the last name that needs highlighting. His 4.08 ERA seems respectable—but the guy has a .175 BABIP—that’s about as unsustainable as it gets. His true performance is somewhere between his 5.0 FIP and 6.0 xFIP—he’s been decent against lefties (3.11 FIP, 3.99 xFIP), but not good enough to justify a LOOGY slot.
And in the “not really important” department, Mitre and Gaudin are the two luckiest dogs on the team (per E-F)—which is no big deal, as the Yankees weren’t expecting much from these two scrap heap pickups anyhow.
If you take anything from this…anything at all, it is this: Stop freaking out about Joba. Stop. Stop. Stop. Dude will be fine.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: If you say so, Will. Me, I am much more concerned about Joba than you are. By a lot.]