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Old 05-24-2015, 09:03 PM   #1
voxpoptart
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TangoWins: optional better system for assigning pitcher Wins/ Losses

I think we all know, as fans, that the rules for assigning Wins and Losses to pitchers are insane. A starter pitches great, a reliever blows the lead, the reliever gets the Win. A starter pitches great but leaves behind 1-0; he ends up Losing a 6-4 game because his relievers let the game get blown wide open. A reliever pitches three shutout innings after his starter collapsed early; a later reliever gets credit for the come-from-behind Win by pitching to one batter at the right time. Etc.

Tom Tango invented a much simpler, more intuitive, and better system in which the Win and Loss are awarded to the pitcher on each team who performed best, in terms of innings and runs. I'd like to see it available as an option players could check: use TangoWins instead of MLB rules. Most of us probably wouldn't use the option, but those of us who did would be happy. Here's the system:

For the winning team:
Each pitcher gets +1 point for every out they record.
Each pitcher loses 2 points for an unearned run, 4 points for an earned run.
Highest score gets the win.
If there's a tie, the pitcher who pitched earlier gets the win.

This means that starting pitchers who don't give up many runs will normally be credited with the win; none of those much-too-common "vultured" wins going to relievers who either (1) blow the lead themselves or (2) pitch an inning at the right time after the starter's lead has been blown.

For the losing team:
Each pitcher gets +1 point for every out they record.
Each pitches loses 4 points for an unearned run, 8 points for an earned run.
Lowest score gets the loss.
Exception: the loss always must go to a pitcher who gave up at least one run. The starter who gives up 1 run in 8 innings may score a 16, but the reliever who pitches a scoreless inning can't be given the loss even though he only scores a 3. But if the reliever gives up a second run, he did worse than the starter and should get the loss, even in a 2-0 game.

Last edited by voxpoptart; 05-25-2015 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 05-24-2015, 11:19 PM   #2
voxpoptart
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TangoWins in action, first box score after I posted this: Cairns beats Alice Springs 7-6, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 7th. Here are some of the pitchers involved:

Alice Springs
SP Wes Whiskin (3 IP, 6 ER)
RP Yoannis Paceta (3.2 IP, 1 ER)

Cairns
SP Rusty Hattie (6 IP, 3 ER)
RP Owen Thwaits (0.1 IP, 3 ER)
RP Gareth Hewitt (0.2 IP, 0 ER)

The "win" was awarded to Hewitt for his two outs of work, the "loss" to Paceta for giving up the decisive 7th run. But TangoWins scores Wes Whiskin at +9 for the outs, -48 for the runs, -39 total -- he was shelled. It scores Yoannis Paceta +11 for the outs, -8 for the run, +3 total, and awards the loss to Whiskin.

Meanwhile, Hewitt gets +2 for two scoreless outs, but Rusty Hattie, who did the bulk of the work, gets +18 for recorded outs, -12 for runs allowed, +6 total, and the win. It's not his fault Owen Thwaites's appearance after him was a disaster. Why shouldn't he get credit for the win? This is why I'd like the alternate definition of pitcher wins/ losses as an option.
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:47 PM   #3
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This is the first I have heard about this win/loss system. I like it.

In general, the current win/loss system is somewhat reasonable for starters (still not great), but for relievers it's completely pointless. I have seen many times a reliever get a blown save only to have their team retake the lead the next inning and that same pitcher gets awarded the Win. How do you get a Win when you failed at the job you were brought into the game for? What they should do in these situations is any pitcher who blows a save is not eligible for the win, if they would have gotten the win, the win goes to the previous pitcher of record (TangoWins is even better though).

I once saw a reliever blow a 4 run lead (gave up 5), then end up with the win. The worst part about that was that since they didn't enter the game in a save situation, they were not charged with a blown save. LOL.

Atlanta @ Philly, 4/14/14 (2014 Box Scores and Play by Play | Baseball-Reference.com):

Code:
Pitching                 IP H R ER BB SO HR
Ervin Santana             6 4 1  1  2 11  1
Ian Thomas H (1)        0.2 0 0  0  0  0  0
Anthony Varvaro H (1)   0.1 0 0  0  0  1  0
Luis Avilan W (3-1)       1 4 5  5  1  1  1
David Carpenter S (1)     1 0 0  0  1  1  0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/26/2015.

Last edited by Kiko1313; 05-26-2015 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:07 PM   #4
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One thing I wonder, even though I am no expert on statistics, is why exactly there's a need for two separate scoring systems for the winning and losing teams? Wouldn't it be simpler to have a single point system in place?

I'm sure Tango considered that and elected to use the two systems for some reason, but I'm wondering what that reason was.
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:50 PM   #5
voxpoptart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrestorm3 View Post
One thing I wonder, even though I am no expert on statistics, is why exactly there's a need for two separate scoring systems for the winning and losing teams? Wouldn't it be simpler to have a single point system in place?

I'm sure Tango considered that and elected to use the two systems for some reason, but I'm wondering what that reason was.
Hi! That's a smart question. It produces better results that way because he's trying to create the fairest possible way to an unfair goal. Which I think is worth doing! I mean, pitcher Wins and Losses are a stat that's noticed and discussed and has value. But pitchers truly don't win or lose games by themselves.

So an average performance like 6 IP, 3 ER gets a clear positive score (+6) if the team wins 6-4 -- a context in which average was very useful -- but a clear negative score (-6) if the team loses 4-2, a context in which average just wasn't good enough.

Either way, since the starter usually pitches the most innings, TangoWins is much more likely than the MLB rules to give the decision to the starter ... and unlike with the MLB rules, the exceptions will usually involve a relief Win going to a reliever who did well, and a relief Loss going to a reliever who did poorly. That's why the results tend to be pleasing.

Last edited by voxpoptart; 05-26-2015 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:54 PM   #6
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Though the Tango system is probably the best one I've seen to see which pitcher is most "deserving" of a win or loss, a much simpler and perhaps more honest system is the one that Joe Posnanski recommends: just assigning wins and losses to the starting pitcher for the game.

Winning and Losing | Joe Posnanski

I'd love to be able to record wins this way for pitchers.

There are several other examples of this in baseball stats that Joe has written about that I'd love to be able to do in OOTP. For example, treating all times the batter hits the ball and reaches base safely as a hit, rather than treating some as hits and others (somewhat arbitrarily) as errors; and using runs allowed per 9 innings as the primary way to evaluate pitchers, rather than (again somewhat arbitrarily) dividing runs into earned and unearned runs.

The overall theme (which I agree with wholeheartedly) is to count things first, and then decide how many of them are meaningful, rather than arbitrarily deciding which things are meaningful in the first place, and then counting them, if that makes sense. If we were designing baseball statistics for scratch, we would never end up with our current system of measuring ERA, errors, or wins.
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Old 05-31-2015, 07:31 PM   #7
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I'm a Posnanski fan too. I endorsed Tango's system before Pos's column, but I'd like *both* of those options to be included in OOTP.

Tango's is about "which pitcher contributed most to each Win and Loss?", and it's the one I would use, because for one thing one of Pos's arguments would then be false: reliever Won/Loss records would suddenly be very interesting and meaningful indeed.

But Pos's is about "Did the team win when the starter started?", and that, too, is a more meaningful measure than the kludge of rules that the MLB uses for pitcher wins.
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