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Cheap Wins So Far June 7, 2011

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Chad Billingsley‘s cheap win the other night on a tiny 35 game score, matched by Mat Latos‘ 48 game score cheap win the same night, led me to think a little about cheap wins in general. Then, Brian Matusz beat Oakland and Max Scherzer eked out a win over the Rangers (both last night) and I knew I had to do an entry.

I’ve talked about Cheap Wins before. They use Bill James’ Game Score stat, which gives a starting pitcher 50 points and then adds or subtracts points for hits, runs, walks, and so on. A quality start is defined as a game score of 50 or above. A Cheap Win is a pitcher win in which the pitcher didn’t have a quality start. That is, it’s a game in which the pitcher has both a Win and a game score of 49 or less.

So far this year, the Rockies are at the top of the leaderboard with 7 Cheap Wins. The Cardinals, the White Sox and the Yankees are backing them up with 5 each. That’s not entirely surprising – the Yankees and the Cardinals are known to be high-scoring teams. Individually, Jeremy Hellickson leads the Majors with 3 Cheap Wins for the Rays, followed by a spate of players (including Carlos Zambrano, Edinson Volquez, Mark Buehrle and AJ Burnett) with 2 each.

It’s worth keeping an eye on Cheap Wins and their converse, Tough Losses, as a way of gauging the relative quality of pitchers. A pitcher with a high proportion of Cheap Wins is relying a lot on his team to buoy him through difficult games, while a pitcher with a few here and there is probably getting himself through the tough spots.

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