Originally written on B-More Birds Nest  |  Last updated 11/18/14

The following is a guest post from A.J. Gersh of The Orioles News. Check out his work at TheOriolesNews.com, or find him on twitter at @theoriolesnews. A.J. will be a regular contributor to the Nest going forward, specializing in Sabermetric analysis of the O’s.

Sabermetrics play a key role in evaluating players in the MLB. One such statistic is WAR (Wins Above Replacement). This helps fans understand which players are most valuable to their team. The WAR stat pretty much says, “This is how many fewer games your team will win if this player is replaced with a bench or AAA level player.” Your average player is going to have a WAR total of 2-3 at the end of the season. Another stat is FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). This measures what a pitcher’s ERA should look like assuming the balls in play and timing were league average.  FIP looks at strikeouts, walks, home runs, and hit by pitches. It evaluates the skill of the pitcher and the pitcher only, while ERA has can be effected by defenders, the official scorer, and the hitter. Rating FIP Excellent 2.90 or below Great 3.25 Above Average 3.75 Average 4.00 Below Average 4.20 Poor 4.50 Awful 5.00 This season, the Orioles rotation has had it’s ups and downs. Two of the five starters have established themselves as a clear 1-2 punch. Jason Hammel with a WAR of 2.5 and Wei-Yin Chen, 1.4, both have ERAs under 4 and have been very valuable to the O’s this season. As we are nearing the All-Star break, Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen (as you see below), have been two of the most valuable pitchers on the Orioles. According to the WAR stat, without them, the Orioles would be around 40-42 (The team is currently 44-38). Name W L SV G GS IP K/9  BB/9  HR/9  BABIP  LOB%  GB%  HR/FB  ERA  FIP  xFIP  WAR Jason Hammel 8 4 0 16 16 99.2 8.76 3.07 0.72 .286 72.9 % 53.6 % 10.1 % 3.43 3.22  3.34   2.5 Wei-Yin Chen 7  4 0   16 16  99.0 6.64 2.73    1.09    .272      73.9 % 37.5 %  9.5 %   3.64  4.14  4.43    1.4 The biggest difference between the two is their FIP. Jason Hammel’s ERA is higher than his FIP because the defense of the Orioles has caused an inflated Earned Run Average. Because he doesn’t give up many home runs or hit many batters, his FIP is low. Chen, on the other hand, averages over 1 earned run per nine innings. He also averages over two less strikeouts per game. These factors cause his FIP to jump over 4.00, when his ERA (which is deceiving) is 3.64. Jake Arrieta had a 4.02 FIP before last night’s horrid start. Though his ERA is 6.13, he throws a ton of strike outs and does not get help from the O’s defense, causing his FIP to decrease. Brian Matusz (5.11), Dana Eveland (6.38), and Tommy Hunter (5.74) all have been absolutely horrid when it comes to evaluating Fielding Independent Pitching. Hopefully Chris Tillman (2.11 after one start) and Miguel Gonzalez can help the Orioles pitching staff lead the team into the playoffs. Another side stat on Matusz, Eveland, and Hunter: The combined WAR of these three starters is 0.0.
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