Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ramon Ortiz: The Batted Ball Outcomes

CBS Sportsline is reporting that the Nats have signed pitcher Ramon Ortiz to a one-year contract for $2.5 million. Thanks to the Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006, we can take a look at his Batted Ball outcomes from 2005 with the Reds:
Ramon Ortiz75513%8%34%23%6%13%2%
Esteban Loaiza91219%7%31%22%3%16%3%

I've include figures for the MLB average and Esteban Loaiza for comparison purposes. The "Correl." line is from THT's analysis of how well these figures correlate from year-to-year for pitchers; essentially the closer this number is to 1.0, the more control a pitcher has over the outcome. These figures show that pitchers exert a fair amount of control over K, BB, GB, and OF (outfield flies), some control over IF (infield flies) and essentially none over LD (line drives). (Now, whether those GBs and OFs turn into outs or hits is much less within a pitcher's control, as Voros McCracken first showed with DIPS a few years ago. Buy the THT book to find our those correlations.)

The Bottom Line on Ortiz: His strikeout rate is low, his walk rate is slightly above average. His GB and OF rates are essentially average -- he's not particularly a flyball pitcher suited for RFK. His LD rate is very good, but that's a crapshoot, and could change dramatically next year. If he pitches like he did last year, he'll be decent -- but don't expect 2005 Loaiza.

UPDATE: Basil from Federal Baseball has astutely noted that a longer-term view of Ortiz shows him to have been a real flyball pitcher in his days with the Angels, and last year he might have been trying to adapt to the homer-friendly park in Cincy. More flyballs is a double-edged sword, of course, and we can't get too focused on RFK's tendency to kill homers -- in general, THT tells us that an OF is worth +.035 runs, whereas a GB in general is worth -0.101 runs, and OF, even in RFK, can turn into doubles and triples.


At 2:10 PM, Blogger Basil said...


At 4:27 PM, Anonymous hoagie said...

i just crapped myself. ramon ortiz?


At 3:54 PM, Blogger Studes said...

Regarding batted balls in RFK, it's actually much closer than that -- -.021 runs for outfield flies vs. -.088 for groundballs. Only a difference of .06 runs. RFK cuts the difference between the two in half.

BTW, remember that these aren't absolute runs values, but relative run values, compared to the average plate appearance.

Regarding Ortiz, his relative run values for outfield flies the last four years (starting with 2002) were .082, .015, .039 and .154. The GAB just killed him.


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