The guys over a saber-scouting pitched a new stat called PTO% (Pitches Towards Outs %) which measures how many pitches per start a pitcher turns into outs. I decided to do some research and calculate the numbers for the best pitchers in the AL East.
The formula is:
PTO% = (SO*3)+SF+SH+(AB-SO-H)/Total Pitches
Josh Beckett PTO% = 36.2%
Eric Bedard PTO% = 33%
Chien-Ming Wang PTO% = 29.9%
Scott Kamir PTO% = 29.8%
Roy Halladay PTPO% = 27.7%
To put this in perspective here are each persons GS W IP PITT SO BB
Josh Beckett = GS: 34 IP: 200.7 PITT: 2692 SO:194 BB:40
Eric Bedard = GS: 28 IP: 182 PITT: 2939 SO: 221 BB: 57
Chien-Ming Wang = GS: 30 IP: 199.3 PITT: 2859 SO: 104 BB: 59
Scott Kazmir = GS: 34 IP: 206.7 PITT: 3604 SO: 239 BB: 89
Roy Halladay = GS: 31 IP: 225.3 PITT: 3323 SO: 139 BB: 48
To average some of those things out:
Josh Beckett averaged 5.9 innings per start. He averaged 4.5 pitches per out with a 36.2% PTO.
Eric Bedard averaged 6.5 innings per start. He averaged 5.38 pitches per out with a 33% PTO.
Chien-Ming Wang averaged 6.64 innings per start. He averaged 4.78 pitches per out with a 29.9% PTO.
Scott Kazmir averaged 6.07 innings per start. He averaged 5.8 pitches per out with a 29.8% PTO.
Roy Halladay averaged 7.26 innings per start. He averaged 4.9 pitches per out with a 27.7% PTO.
What I found most puzzling about these numbers is that Josh Beckett, although he picked up the most wins of any of these pitchers, through the fewest innings per start of any “ace” in the NL east. If you look at the gamelogs for Josh Beckett from 07′ he was very carefully watched by John Farrell and rarely touched 110 pitches in a start. This speaks volumes about his durability as a pitcher. The Red Sox were clearly afraid he would get injured, and babied him along through the season. It also speaks volumes about the Red Sox bullpen that they were able to preserve his wins when he didn’t average 6 innings per start with is one of the major qualifications of a quality start.
Roy Halladay by contrast through a lot more pitches, he also made 4 more starts and averaged over 7 innings a start even though only 27.7% of his pitches were made towards outs. This means Halladay was a much more durable and dependable starter than Josh Beckett 07′, which is surprising given Beckett’s reputation as the most dominant starter of 07′ (I’ve heard it said on ESPN I don’t know how many times).
What this also shows is the relationship between a groundball pitcher and strike out pitcher. Chien-Ming Wang averaged half an inning more than Scott Kazmir per start and a full pitch less per out than Scott Kazmir. While Chien-Ming Wang might not look as dazzling as Scott Kazmir when he goes about his business, and their PTO% is almost exactly the same, he is able to go deeper into games and throw less pitches in the process. He also walked 32 fewer hitters than Kazmir. All this leads to a faster, more exciting ball game for the players and the fans.