Magnum Start Value: Did the King of Safeco Field actually rule in 2014?
Sabermetrics analysis Magnum Start Value provides insight on Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez 2014 season. Was it his best year at Safeco Field?
Over the last decade plus, there has been a constant regardless of team performance pitching for the Seattle Mariners. His name is Felix Hernandez, who is one of the most accomplished hurlers of this century. Given the M’s haven’t been to the postseason since 2001, King Felix has provided those in the Emerald City plenty of reasons to enjoy baseball at Safeco Field.
With that said, how dominant has Hernandez been? Considering that he both led the league in wins (2009) and took home a Cy Young Award (2010), it is safe to say Hernandez has abused opposing hitters around the game. However, there was another season of excellence for The King in 2014, when he posted a career-best WHIP of 0.92. Did that season stack up versus the aforementioned campaign when he brought the Cy Young Award to the Pacific Northwest? Let’s take a look at this through the lens of Magnum Start Value (MSV) to find out.
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Before we proceed, there are some notable differences between the two seasons. First of all, Hernandez did not have the same ability in regards to stuff as in 2010. Just by looking at his fastball you can see the average velocity decreasing by 1.6 MPH (95.1 to 93.5), not to mention there was less of a difference between the heater and changeup (4.7 to 3.6 mph less than fastball). Those numbers are crucial considering how much Hernandez uses the latter with two strikes, and gets batters two swing and miss on top of it.
Moving on to the second and most vital difference, the Mariners themselves. All the way back in 2010, they finished as the second worst team in baseball at 61-101. Not only could the Mariners not hit, they couldn’t field either. With a grand total of 513 runs scored (last in league), and a .982 fielding percentage (tied with six other teams for seventh in league), they failed to put anything close to a competitive roster on the field minus Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki.
On of the flip side, the 2014 version of the Mariners were a polar opposite. While they had far from a dominant offense (tied for 11th with the Boston Red Sox), their defense was the best on the junior circuit. With only 82 errors all season long, Seattle’s defense kept them in games by catching the ball and giving their pitchers the best chance to win. All baseball fans know that enhances a decent hurler, especially Hernandez.
Considering that MSV was constructed as another option to evaluate the quality start, it makes sense to provide the former with another way to cross-analyze the latter. While the last article may have introduced MO-Dot and MY-Dot, neither offer an exact analysis of the quality start. How could I give the quality start a full toolbox under the Magnum Start umbrella? The answer is simple.
Looking at the prior article, there are a few key stats mentioned. First would be Yearly Magnum Percentage, and second would be those under the MO-Dot and MY-Dot categories. In order to cross-analyze those, I am going to have to give them their equal on the side of quality starts.
Starting the new terminology will be Yearly Quality Percentage (YQP), which is to be used the exact same way YMP is (but for quality starts). However a pitcher qualifies for a quality start the same way he would under regular rules, regardless of whether he gives up two or less earned runs. Secondly, I will allow for MSV to cross-analyze MO-Dot and MY-Dot, however this will be significantly more difficult.
The reason for this is MO-Dot and MY-Dot are broken down by totals when evaluating MSV. However, keep in mind that each total is broken up by inning which is impossible to fully match on the quality start side. So to think this can find its equal is nearly impossible, however it still does serve a purpose.
Here is why. Since they will still be calculated by percentage, it is going to show just as much if an overwhelming amount were recorded closer to six innings or nine. This is not going to be perfect, however it is not expected to be considering the situation we are in. So, let’s get to it!
Just as when I divulged the MO-Dot and MY-Dot categories, they will come in ascending order this time as well. There are four classifications (unlike three), each of which represent the amount of innings a pitcher completed (six through nine). On top of that, I will divide them by monthly and yearly just as before.
Since you are probably wondering about the new verbiage, here it is. For monthly, the stats will be Monthly Hexagonal Percentage (MHP), Heptagonal Monthly Percentage (HMP), Octagonal Monthly Percentage (OMP), and Nonagonal Monthly Percentage (NMP). If you can’t tell, those are titled by the number of innings they represent.
As for those that represent the yearly side of things, they will have a similar feel to the aforementioned stats. These terms are entitled Yearly Hexagonal Percentage (YHP), Heptagonal Yearly Percentage (HYP), Octagonal Yearly Percentage (OYP), and Yearly Nonagonal Percentage (YNP). With that said, let’s move on to the new MO-Dot and MY-Dot verbiage.
While these new stats will serve an identical purpose MO-Dot and MY-Dot, both are going to have different names. To evaluate months the category is QO-Dot (Ko-Dot) and for entire years it is QY-Dot (Ki-Dot). In order to properly calculate these two terms, just divide the amount of quality starts in a month or year against each other. So if there are two quality starts, 50 percent is the only possible result, not 25 percent of each. Remember it is the actual instance a pitcher qualifies when he can becomes eligible for this category, so three and four only become a part of the calculus when there are three and four starts involved.
Had enough talk about new stats? Then let’s analyze King Felix!