You have got to be kidding me. Dan Rosenheck, who wrote this misguided piece, went to Harvard. He should be smarter than us. Instead, he managed to show just how out of touch with society stat geeks can be.
On Wednesday evening, Roy Halladay became an answer to two trivia questions (“Name the only pitchers to throw postseason no-hitters” and “Name the only pitchers to throw two no-hitters in the same season”), and pictures of his triumph were splashed across front pages nationwide. On Thursday night, Tim Lincecum had a strong outing that got him a nice applause from the fans in San Francisco. Yet Lincecum’s performance was actually both more impressive and more valuable than Halladay’s.
Although most fans have been led to believe that good pitchers can “induce” weak contact and generate easily fieldable balls, while bad ones will surrender a parade of blistering line drives, extensive research into the subject shows that the vast majority of pitchers wind up giving up hits on about 30 percent of balls in play over the course of their careers.
Neither Halladay nor Lincecum gave up a home run, so they were even on that score. But their strikeout totals were markedly different: Halladay punched out “only” 8 batters to Lincecum’s 14. By my calculation, with normal luck, a pitcher with Halladay’s eight strikeouts, one walk, and zero home runs allowed in 28 batters faced would give up an average of 1.55 earned runs per nine innings, while one with Lincecum’s 14 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 0 home runs allowed in 30 batters faced would surrender just 0.37.
This approach tells you who pitched better. Whose pitching was more valuable is an entirely different question — and the answer is even more favorable to Lincecum.
What he's basically trying to say is that strikeouts are far more valuable than in-play outs, and over the long-term, 30% of balls in play will be hits, regardless of pitcher. While over the grand landscape of this great game that might hold true, you cannot make that assumption on an individual basis like Rosenheck did. Halladay does not have "normal luck." He is not part of the "vast majority of pitchers."
Rosenheck clearly didn't watch the game. And if he did, then he knows nothing about the sport.
Every expert, fan, and player who saw what Roy Halladay did on Thursday, acknowledged that it was one of the single most dominating pitching performances of all-time. There is a big difference between the feeble, defensive swings from the MVP caliber players on the Reds, and solid contact that lucks its way into a glove.
This is to take nothing away from Tim Lincecum, he pitched great, but Rosenheck makes the god-awful assumption that strikeouts are the determining factor of a pitcher's value. Tell that to Greg Maddux.
Tell that to the Reds' hitters, who looked like they were trying to hit a wind-swept pea on Wednesday.
Tell Rosenheck to get a clue.
Read the rest of his nonsense here.