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Pitcher Spring ERA's


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Now, I honestly am not in the camp where "Spring Stats don't matter" because they do…for hitters. Hitters need to get their timing down, work into shape, etc.


Pitchers often use spring as a testing lab, working on new pitches, figuring out their windup motions, etc. They honestly only care about their ERA if they are on the bubble of making a team…or something like that. Veteran's who are coming off successful seasons don't really care.


Also you have to consider Sample Size. With Relievers especially in spring, but also in the regular season, one or two bad outings make the ERA look ridiculous, which is why each appearance should be graded individually.


If a guy gives up 3 runs in one third of an inning, his ERA is 90.00 Now say he pitches 17 more games in the rest of spring and gives up a total of 6 runs, in 17 2/3 innings. His ERA is now 4.50. Well down from that 90.00 point, but it makes him look like he has had a bad spring, which just isn't true. His ERA in the last 17 games is 3.06. 


And say in that first game he came in, walked a batter on a close pitch, got the next guy to strike out, next guy bunted for a hit, third guy came in and popped to shallow center but runner didn't score, and then he was removed with the bases loaded. Then another reliever came in and gave up a grand slam on one pitch. 


Yeah the first outing isn't great, but then he was pretty good the rest of the spring. 


And say he had one other bad game when he had food poisoning in that 17 2/3 stretch, where he gave up 3 runs himself, by leaving one pitch up in the zone after a guy got walked. Then in frustration, he tries to blow it by the next guy and gives up Back to Back HR? 


It's two bad outings, and 16 good ones. But ERA is a summary stat and it doesn't care.


Instead of looking like a guy who gave up 3 runs in 17 innings, he gave up 9 in 18. So instead of having an ERA under 2, he has a 4.5 ERA.


It's all sample size. ERA is useful for starting pitchers, and even then, not great. For relievers? WHIP is the one to watch.





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