Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Verducci effect for 2016 announced


Snydergaard vastly increased his workload in 2015; will it hurt him in 2016?  Photo

Snydergaard vastly increased his workload in 2015; will it hurt him in 2016? Photo

This year’s installment of’s Tom Verducci‘s “Year After Effect” (which he’s trying to use as the title instead of the eponymous “Verducci Effect” that i’ve grown used to using) was published this week and he’s definitely gone conservative in his ominous predictions.  In year’s past he’s used a 20% year over year increase and listed many candidates … now he’s down to just a handful a year with a more conservative 30% workload increase.  For 2016, he’s identified 5 candidates for his watch list.

Here’s some posts on this same topic from year’s past: 2013 year after effect and 2014 year after effect (I somehow forgot to do this post last year).  In the 2013 post, there’s some counter-arguments to whether or not his observation actually exists, with research on all pitchers who qualified for the thresholds he laid out at the time.  I won’t go into the same arguments made there; what I will do is point out the actual results of his predictions (Link to my working XLS showing all the core numbers referenced here):

  • 2013: 11 candidates mentioned, 5/11 regressed or got injured the following year (but, it should be noted, that another 3 of the candidates he mentioned have completely fallen off a cliff in subsequent years).  8/11 candidates showed regression: 72% prediction rate.
  • 2014: 10 candidates mentioned; 8/10 regressed and more shockingly 6/10 had arm injuries.  80% prediction rate.
  • 2015: 14 candidates mentioned (only 5 “main” ones were on his true watch list): 11 of those 14 regressed or got hurt.  One of the 14, Marcus Stroman missed the whole season with a knee injury but counts as a non-regression candidate, so frankly its 11 of 13 guys who actually pitched all year.  84% prediction success rate.

So for me, his analysis is less about running pure numbers to find candidates and more about giving context to the pitchers he selects.  Mostly they’re starters (not relievers), mostly they’re young and mostly they’re guys who had to pitch high leverage innings on top of vastly increased workloads.

So who’s listed this  year?  Basically five young pitchers who had massive innings spikes and four of which pitched into the post-season.

2016 Candidate Name/Team Age as of Jan 2016 2015 IP 2015 IP delta 2015 ERA 2015 FIP 2015 xFIP 2015 SIERA
Lance McCullers, Houston 21 164 59 1/3 3.22 3.26 3.5 3.57
Noah Snydergaard, NY Mets 22 198 2/3 65 2/3 3.24 3.25 2.91 2.95
Luis Severino, NY Yankees 21 161 2/3 48 2/3 2.89 4.37 3.72 3.84
Carlos Martinez, St. Louis 23 179 2/3 52 2/3 3.01 3.21 3.28 3.44
Tyler Duffey, Minnesota 24 196 46 2/3 3.1 3.24 3.64 3.83

I’d be most worried about McCullers (who is super  young and showed some fatigue down the stretch) and Severino (also very young but who also had significantly softer advanced stats than his ERA showed) in terms of regression in 2016.  Snydergaard seems big enough to perhaps withstand the added workload.  Martinez was a surprise reason why St. Louis’ rotation was so good last year; can he make the jump too?

Curious why he didn’t put in Matt Harvey, especially after all the BS about innings limits.  He had 178 IP in 2013, Zero in 2014 and then 189 1/3 regular season and another 26 2/3rds in the 2015 post-season.  That’s 215 innings the year after surgery.  I’d be pretty worried if I was Mets fans … but hey, flags fly forever!


Written by Todd Boss

February 10th, 2016 at 11:10 am

8 Responses to 'Verducci effect for 2016 announced'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Verducci effect for 2016 announced'.

  1. Seems like the first time in a while that no Nat makes the list


    10 Feb 16 at 3:23 pm

  2. Indeed. Strasburg was on 2013 list; he increased his innings slightly from 2013-14 but his numbers dipped slightly. Jordan was on 2014 list: His MLB era went from 3.66 to 5.61 and he’s not been the same since. Strasburg appeared again on the 2015 list: he had two D/L trips and his numbers fell off a cliff in the first half before he suddenly remembered how good he was in hist last 10 starts.

    Not a good history.

    Todd Boss

    10 Feb 16 at 3:27 pm

  3. I would call the use of the 30% line as more radical than 20%, not more conservative. Verducci doesn’t seem to explain the reason for the shift. In my opinion, 30% is really pushing it.

    My impression is that the Nats generally hold their guys within the 20-25% range. They did with Ross last season and likely will do so with him in 2016. Giolito might be on even tighter reins on his second elbow.

    Although he’s no longer in the youthful damage age range, I’m sure the Nats will also be watching Roark closely. He threw only 111 innings in ’15 (plus six in the minors), so will it be a stretch to expect him to go over 200 in ’16?

    I wish no ill on any ballplayer, but it’s hard to look at how the Mets thumbed their nose at current convention and not expect the worst. Yes, flags do fly forever, but ask the Braves how lonely that 2013 banner is since it came at the cost of what proved to be almost total decimation of their pitching staff, including second TJs for a couple of key guys. Those bad decisions ended up blowing up the franchise.


    12 Feb 16 at 8:54 am

  4. FWIW, pitch limits seem to be generally regarded as much less of a big deal once a pitcher gets past 25/26 or so. I don’t think that Roark will be under any limits this year given that he’s 29, pitched basically 200 innings (198.2) the season before last, and hasn’t been injured in the interim.

    John C.

    12 Feb 16 at 9:14 am

  5. Not trying to hijack the thread, but Dave Cameron is busy making the case of why we’re going to need A LOT of MASN money . . . if there’s any left after O’s sudden spending spree:


    12 Feb 16 at 2:31 pm

  6. A good point here that is often ignored: we talk a ton about “innings limits” but it really is about “pitch counts” right? Its just easier to talk about 140innings versus 15000 pitches right?

    Roark limits: zero. I think its clear by now that the organization views him as a fungible reliever to be used like a rented mule instead of a cherished resource to protect.

    Todd Boss

    13 Feb 16 at 9:02 am

  7. KW you had me all hot and bothered about another anti-MASN piece … but it was just a speculative article (the third or fourth we’ve seen this off-season) about how Bryce Harper is going to be worth ten gazillion dollars when he hits FA off the backs of one historical season. Part of me is like, “ok do 2015 again a couple more times like Mike Trout has done and we’ll talk.”

    But lets be honest with ourselves; there’s just no way this team is going to commit that much money to one player. We’re not LA getting $250M/year in TV rights and we never will be. Its the economics of the game. Harper will be going to one of the few major media markets that can afford him and that’s that.

    btw; new Ladson mailbox today!! Can’t wait to read it and write a post!

    Todd Boss

    13 Feb 16 at 9:12 am

  8. First arm down for the Mets, although not from overuse. Mejia got a “lifetime” ban for his third PED bust. I do wonder whether the Mets were counting on him being back when they didn’t push to re-sign Clip.

    Yes, the pitch counts do matter, and the Mets really pushed those as well. We’ll see how it works out for them.

    As for Roark, the Nats have a lot more riding on him this coming season than anyone seems willing to admit.


    13 Feb 16 at 10:05 am

Leave a Reply