30 November 2006

DPD: Japanese Pitchers and American Dollars: A Match Made in Mystery

This is one of my favorite games. It's called "Guess the Pitchers". I give you their statistics and you tell me (telepathically, of course) who they are. Here you go:

      Yrs   G     IP      H    R    ER   HR   BB    K     W   L   ERA
Mr. I 8 190 1244.0 1149 504 435 116 395 1174 86 60 3.15
Mr. M 8 204 1402.7 1102 508 459 112 502 1355 108 60 2.95

Mr. M has a slight edge in most of the statistics, with a few more games pitched, innings, and strikeouts, and fewer homers, though notably more walks. His ERA is slightly better as well, and his win-loss record is much better, though we know that this is often due to the pitcher's teammates and their ability to hit more than his ability to pitch. The most astute of you have already guessed at who "Mr. M" is, and some of you may know who "Mr. I" is as well, especially if you've already figured out his competitor. Let me give you some more info:

                   Age   G   IP   H    R  ER  HR  BB   K    W  L   ERA
Mr. I 6-yr Avg. 27.5 29 198 182 79 68 18 61 187 14 9 3.09
Mr. M 8-yr Avg. 26.0 26 175 138 64 57 14 63 169 14 8 2.93

Those are the average seasons for the two pitchers since they've been starters. Mr. M is slightly younger, but has been a full-time starter for two years longer, whereas Mr. I pitched only a handful of innings for his first two seasons in this league, so I omitted them in looking at their averages. Mr. M certainly gets credit for having been so good at a younger age, but he also has suffered through a few truncated seasons in his career, which have helped to dampen the sheen on his otherwise sparkling statistics, for his "average" season, anyway. Mr. I now has a slight edge in innings, about 23 more per season than Mr. M, and as a starter, his HR/9 and K/9 rates are very similar, and his BB/9 rate is a bit better, though his hits/inning numbers are not nearly as dominant as those of Mr. M.

When you look at the pitchers strictly on their rate stats, the picture becomes a little clearer:

Name    IP  IP/G   H/9  HR/9  BB/9  K/9   ERA
Mr. I 198 6.80 8.27 0.82 2.77 8.50 3.09
Mr. M 175 6.70 7.10 0.72 3.24 8.69 2.93

Both pitchers provide almost seven innings per start, strikeout almost a batter per inning, and allow around three earned runs per nine innings, on average. Mr. I is slightly stingier with walks, to the tune of about half a walk per nine innings, but Mr. M is much more reluctant to give up hits, over a hit/game better, and is also slightly better at preventing homers.

The pitchers seem fairly even in many respects, with Mr. I's edge in durability largely offsetting Mr. M's edge in dominance with hits. Mr. M's year an a half of youth is an edge too, but not an enormous one.

Now, just one more stat for you to ponder:

Mr. I: $26 Million
Mr. M $51.1 Million

Who the heck are these guys? Find out at Double Play Depth...

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