New Junk Stat: The "DerekLoweWin"

I wanted to write something about last night's game. I really did. I mean, why not? I've been reading about the game more or less non-stop since it ended (actually, since before it began, if you count the game threads). Unfortunately, whenever I think back to those marvelous 2 hours and 45 minutes, I just cannot seem to formulate the words to describe them.

But maybe J-Hey can do it? With a Peter Moylan shaving-cream pie all over himself? Yes, he can.

Jason Heyward Creamed the Ball, and Peter Moylan Creamed Heyward

Yes, it seems Jason Heyward can do more than steal bases. He can steal the words right out of my mouth. (And my heart... *sigh*)

So I went looking for something else to write about, and lo and behold, I find this tidbit near the end of gondeee's fantastic recap of the opener:

Starting pitcher Derek Lowe couldn't find his way through the middle of the Cubs order, but despite giving up five runs he gets the win. I think we should officially call that a "DerekLoweWin."

Done and done. Your "officially call that" is my command, gondeee. For more fun facts about our new junk stat, read on.

First off, a definition of the DerekLoweWin. A DLW is any game in which a starter:

  • Gets the win
  • Gives up at least 4 earned runs
  • Has a WPA* of -0.05 or worse

* WPA (Win Probability Added) measures how much a player improves (or hinders) his team's chances of winning a game. Here is a short primer on it. For our purposes, a WPA of -0.05 or worse means that the pitcher reduced his team's chances of winning by 5% or more. I put this requirement in there to eliminate the games in which a pitcher gets a huge lead early and gives up some runs that don't really affect his team's chances of winning.

I picked 4 ER instead of 5 as the cutoff because 4 runs seems to be a sort of magic number in terms of team's likelihood of winning a game. For instance, in 2009, check out the Braves' record based on how many runs they allowed in the game:

Runs Allowed Wins Losses Win %
0 10   0 1.000
1 18   1 0.947
2 20   4 0.833
3 18 13 0.581
4   5 15 0.250
5   7 14 0.333
6   4   7 0.364
7   3   3 0.500
8   1   7 0.125
9+   0 12 0.000

Overall, the 2009 Braves were 66-18 when allowing 3 or fewer runs (0.805 win%) and 20-48 when allowing 4 or more (0.294 win%). This type of pattern holds up for nearly all teams. It's amazing how simple baseball can be sometimes: give up 4 runs, and you're probably going to lose.

Unless Derek Lowe is pitching, of course.

WIthout further ado, here are the leaders in DerekLoweWins since 2000. I've also given each player's wins since 2000 (as a starter) and the percentage of those wins that were DLWs.

Rank Pitcher DLW Wins since 2000 DLW%
1 Jon Garland 14 115 12.2%
T2 Derek Lowe 12 122   9.8%
T2 Barry Zito 12 133   9.0%
T2 Tim Wakefield 12 102 11.8%
T5 Andy Pettitte 11 148   7.4%
T5 Vicente Padilla 11   91 12.1%
T5 Livan Hernandez 11 129   8.5%
T8 Jamie Moyer 10 138   7.2%
T8 Matt Morris 10   99 10.1%
T8 Adam Eaton 10   69 14.5%

I've got to hand it to gondeee: he called this one. Derek Lowe is indeed quite skilled at accruing DerekLoweWins. Though he's got nothing on Jon Garland.

Fun Fact: 3 of the guys on this list were opening day starters for their teams. Lowe you know about. Garland gave up 6 runs in 4 IP, though only 2 were earned. Padilla gave up 7 runs (all earned) in 4 and a third. Both Garland and Padilla lost their games, though, so the only DLW of 2010 so far is owned by Derek Lowe himself.

A few other fun facts:

  • Jack Morris is the all-time leader in DLWs with 29--way ahead of the next-highest pitcher, Roger Clemens with 20. This is perfect, since Morris is the posterboy for the "Some Players Just Know How to Win" crowd. Apparently, Morris really did know something no one else did about winning even while sucking. His DLW% of 11.4% is also third all-time behind Garland and Eaton.
  • The MLB average in DLW% in 2009 was 5.3%, so Derek Lowe gets DLWs at about twice the league average rate. Adam Eaton, though, "earned" them at nearly 3x the league average rate. Impressive!
  • Three players led MLB with 3 DLWs in 2009: Gil Meche, Moyer, and (interestingly) Adam Wainwright. Lowe had two DLWs in 2009: May 6th against Florida (5 IP, 6 ER, Braves win 8-6) and September 10th against Houston (5.2 IP, 5 ER, Braves win 9-7).
  • Lowe has at least one DLW in every year since 2002, when he became a full-time starter.

Well, I hope I've helped you kill some time while waiting for the Braves to play again (seriously, making us wait an extra day for more baseball after *that* game is cruel and unusual). Thanks, as always, for reading. Here's to the last 161+ games of the 2010 season going as well as the first game did.

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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