Today’s post is the counterpart to last week’s WPA/wOBA post for hitters. I will be comparing pitcher’s ERA, FIP, and WPA to find who has been lucky or unlucky. I will also introduce a new set of stats to evaluate reliever effectiveness that is better than saves/blown saves.
pLI is the average leverage index (importance) of all hitters faced, and gmLI is the average LI when the pitcher enters the game. As you see, the gmLI surprising matches the order I and many others would want, with Livan and Durbin being the only relievers below 1. SD and MD are shutdowns and meltdowns, relief outings with +.06 and -.06 WPA respectively. As a team, the Braves have a 32/10 ratio, while the league is around 700/400, so the bullpen has been very effective.
Kimbrel and Venters are off to great starts, while Durbin has managed to throw scoreless innings in all four outings with a pLI above 1. O’Flaherty has struggled, though it didn’t take this chart to realize that. Starters don’t get much of a chance to influence WPA positively unless they pitch into the 7th or 8th in a close game. While the offense has carried the Braves, the bullpen has preserved most of those leads to maintain a 19-13 record so far.