Luck leaders and LIPS

Note: This post has been changed since it was originally published. All LIPS stats were changed from LIPS RA to LIPS ERA. — D.C. 7/10/07

Last week, I examined lucky and unlucky pitchers using LOB%, BABIP, HR/FB and LD%. In the comments section of that post, several of you expressed interest in seeing a similar list using FIP-ERA. I thought this sounded like a great idea, except that I’m not a big fan of FIP.

FIP uses home runs, which—as we talked about last week—is partially dependent on luck. If we look at the FIP leaders so far, just three pitchers in the majors come in under 3.00. No. 1 is Jake Peavy and No. 2 is Chris Young. These two happen to be No. 1 and No. 2 in HR/FB as well.

So I’ve decided to use this concept, but substitute LIPS for FIP. LIPS —Luck Independent Pitching Statistics—was created by David Gassko, who wrote about it last December in his article DIPS, LIPS, and Hips. A big thanks to David for providing the LIPS numbers you see below.

An improvement upon David’s own DIPS 3.0, it uses strikeouts, walks, hit-by-pitches and batted ball numbers. They’re not just any batted ball numbers, though. LIPS uses a league average line drive rate (since they are also luck dependent) and changes the other three accordingly. It also accounts for the luck that goes into home runs.

LIPS – ERA luck leaders

Unluckiest

Requirements: Any pitcher with 8 or more starts and a LIPS – ERA less than -1.00

LAST FIRSTGGSIPERALIPSK/9BB/9K/BBGB%GB/FBLOB%BABIPHR/FBLD%LIPS – ERA
Seo Jae111052.08.134.314.852.771.7537.001.0164.330.39013.4121.00-3.82
Elarton Scott8835.39.175.643.314.840.6830.150.6362.500.28716.6716.91-3.53
Fossum Casey291064.77.524.185.853.061.9145.871.7164.130.37515.0722.31-3.34
Jackson Edwin171674.77.234.247.835.061.5541.271.2465.320.37611.8319.05-2.99
Igawa Kei9846.77.144.326.364.441.4330.770.7065.500.28314.1018.59-2.82
Colon Bartolo141479.76.443.986.672.492.6838.631.0267.860.35912.9317.69-2.46
Westbrook Jake9947.36.273.955.703.421.6748.452.0561.920.32013.9520.50-2.32
Reyes Anthony121264.76.404.106.403.341.9238.861.0459.440.3039.0917.54-2.30
Tomko Brett26867.06.183.887.933.222.4636.941.0565.710.36710.9823.42-2.30
Padilla Vicente151580.76.694.435.243.901.3445.301.6167.810.35112.9022.82-2.26
Tejeda Robinson171786.06.704.466.595.131.2934.840.8268.860.32311.3514.63-2.24
Baker Timothy9952.05.713.557.102.083.4238.551.2164.720.32513.5623.49-2.16
Millwood Kevin151580.36.164.106.723.591.8842.651.3169.790.34112.8720.07-2.06
Santana Ervin1818104.05.973.947.183.292.1834.110.8472.700.31414.6518.66-2.03
Baek Cha Seung111164.35.743.756.441.823.5434.080.9461.920.3356.7424.22-1.99
Garcia Freddy111158.05.903.957.762.952.6334.741.0273.890.36317.3925.79-1.95
Weaver Jeff121259.76.344.394.832.262.1336.890.9562.370.3645.2118.67-1.95
Belisle Matt1717102.35.283.485.891.933.0543.061.4367.260.32611.7620.23-1.80
Simontacchi Jason121266.36.114.385.162.582.0035.440.8967.020.3459.8019.83-1.73
Wells Kip191592.75.924.336.804.561.4946.671.5666.050.30311.8817.67-1.59
Sowers Jeremy121262.36.935.452.742.741.0039.830.9861.360.3059.6215.77-1.48
Gonzalez Edgar16861.05.313.866.792.362.8842.791.1071.430.28614.1213.93-1.45
Pelfrey Michael8841.36.104.714.574.790.9546.531.7666.770.3199.5221.53-1.39
Davies Kyle161686.05.554.206.174.291.4439.361.1668.850.29411.1119.50-1.35
Lincecum Timothy121272.04.633.339.884.002.4743.521.2466.080.2879.7215.54-1.30
Ramirez Horacio8840.36.475.173.124.020.7846.541.6165.930.3536.0022.01-1.30
Olsen Scott1919103.35.233.947.144.351.6436.761.1173.000.34410.1622.65-1.29
Towers Josh161071.05.073.826.851.394.9143.041.2970.330.31414.6320.25-1.25
Capuano Christopher151579.04.783.547.633.762.0344.351.5172.880.32310.5918.15-1.24
Johnson Randy101056.73.812.5911.442.065.5438.891.1476.010.33812.5018.75-1.22
Arroyo Bronson1818111.74.843.676.043.061.9731.930.8869.690.3315.4520.84-1.17
Williams Woody1919113.05.344.184.622.711.7136.500.9873.260.29112.4317.75-1.16
Eaton Adam1818104.35.694.605.784.141.4037.541.0469.680.29512.5918.32-1.09
Wolf Randy1818102.74.733.658.243.422.4139.501.1771.630.3348.1318.81-1.08
Bush David1817107.34.863.786.712.013.3342.491.3767.410.3318.7020.52-1.08
Burnett Allen151594.04.313.3010.153.832.6552.231.7977.570.27618.7514.98-1.01
Lieber Jon141278.04.733.736.232.542.4542.971.6970.620.3369.4627.00-1.00

Luckiest

Requirements: Any pitcher with 8 or more starts and a LIPS – ERA greater than 0.50

LAST FIRSTGGSIPERALIPSK/9BB/9K/BBGB%GB/FBLOB%BABIPHR/FBLD%LIPS – ERA
Hill Shawn8850.02.704.085.942.882.0657.332.2177.900.2405.0014.001.38
Penny Brad1818116.72.393.756.332.622.4150.281.9180.410.2953.0319.211.36
Gaudin Chad1818109.32.884.235.603.951.4252.012.0680.820.2845.0518.681.35
Young Christopher1717103.72.003.298.593.132.7531.320.7282.880.2602.1616.371.29
Lowry Noah1717107.33.354.645.374.611.1644.841.4678.150.2805.3618.291.29
Haren Dan1919129.32.303.457.032.233.1643.271.2184.910.2387.1415.041.15
Peavy Jacob1818119.02.193.149.452.573.6845.831.4280.440.2942.7516.990.95
Gorzelanny Thomas1818119.03.104.005.672.652.1442.711.2179.630.2826.0417.450.90
Mitre Sergio151588.32.853.745.601.942.8958.112.9280.560.3097.9417.910.89
Guthrie Jeremy1913102.02.743.606.351.594.0046.621.3877.940.2358.5716.550.86
Buehrle Mark1717115.73.033.865.451.713.1844.541.2981.560.2669.4215.300.83
Lackey John1818120.72.913.737.312.393.0643.451.3282.200.2768.5320.610.82
Maine John1717109.72.713.517.633.282.3335.670.9382.880.2557.1917.200.80
Wang Chien-Ming1515104.33.364.154.142.331.7857.992.7674.840.2807.6917.750.79
Trachsel Steve171792.74.955.743.014.370.6940.061.0271.880.2728.1517.430.79
Morris Matt1717114.03.554.294.742.921.6247.181.6477.590.3016.3517.950.74
Snell Ian1717116.72.933.627.172.552.8245.091.2880.370.2856.8215.320.69
Marquis Jason1818105.33.674.305.303.501.5147.261.5878.560.24710.6216.710.63
Hernandez Livan1818115.04.545.174.383.831.1436.100.9978.110.31310.2621.460.63
Lowe Derek1919127.03.123.696.522.692.4262.473.3377.030.28610.8115.940.57
Perez Oliver151594.73.143.708.083.522.3031.230.7282.150.2418.2118.220.56
Germano Justin111164.73.904.454.591.812.5449.051.4572.510.2629.5915.240.55
Hernandez Orlando131378.33.223.757.013.561.9741.521.0982.050.23410.4211.610.53
Verlander Justin1717109.03.143.657.933.222.4643.551.3180.490.2568.4016.450.51

LIPS Top 25

Here’s a list of the Top 25 pitchers with at least 10 starts, sorted by LIPS ERA.

LAST FIRST G GS IP ERA LIPS K/9 BB/9 K/BB GB% GB/FB LOB% BABIP HR/FB LD% LIPS – ERA
Johnson Randy 10 10 56.7 3.81 2.59 11.44 2.06 5.54 38.89 1.14 76.01 0.338 12.50 18.75 -1.22
Bedard Erik 19 19 121.7 3.40 2.85 11.02 2.66 4.14 44.81 1.34 78.07 0.300 12.73 17.86 -0.55
Hamels Colbert 18 18 118.7 3.72 2.93 9.40 2.20 4.28 37.50 1.02 82.35 0.307 14.29 17.56 -0.79
Hernandez Felix 14 14 84.7 3.72 3.00 8.50 2.44 3.48 58.10 2.63 77.07 0.346 13.79 16.60 -0.72
Santana Johan 18 18 121.0 2.75 3.02 9.30 2.23 4.17 34.78 0.85 87.33 0.261 11.56 17.08 0.27
Shields James 18 18 129.7 3.82 3.06 8.05 1.32 6.11 42.37 1.20 75.17 0.267 12.42 14.74 -0.76
Peavy Jacob 18 18 119.0 2.19 3.14 9.45 2.57 3.68 45.83 1.42 80.44 0.294 2.75 16.99 0.95
Smoltz John 17 17 105.7 3.07 3.16 8.18 1.87 4.36 43.08 1.37 80.40 0.319 7.89 18.77 0.09
Beckett Josh 16 16 102.0 3.44 3.16 8.12 1.85 4.38 49.51 1.61 72.33 0.301 5.66 14.75 -0.28
Matsuzaka Daisuke 18 18 119.7 3.84 3.18 9.25 2.86 3.24 37.95 1.05 75.25 0.307 8.70 20.18 -0.66
Bonderman Jeremy 16 16 106.0 3.48 3.20 8.32 2.04 4.08 46.20 1.36 76.32 0.302 8.40 15.82 -0.28
Sabathia Carsten 19 19 133.3 3.58 3.21 8.03 1.22 6.61 42.75 1.23 76.98 0.326 9.93 16.75 -0.37
Rodriguez Wandy 17 17 104.7 3.87 3.24 7.74 2.24 3.46 42.81 1.28 74.41 0.290 10.00 17.25 -0.63
Escobar Kelvim 16 16 107.3 3.19 3.28 7.38 2.60 2.84 47.12 1.48 74.83 0.289 5.31 15.06 0.09
Lilly Ted 18 18 112.7 3.67 3.28 7.83 2.16 3.63 34.65 0.89 74.21 0.272 8.78 16.72 -0.39
Young Christopher 17 17 103.7 2.00 3.29 8.59 3.13 2.75 31.32 0.72 82.88 0.260 2.16 16.37 1.29
Burnett Allen 15 15 94.0 4.31 3.30 10.15 3.83 2.65 52.23 1.79 77.57 0.276 18.75 14.98 -1.01
Vazquez Javier 17 17 116.0 3.65 3.33 8.38 2.02 4.15 39.69 0.97 75.47 0.273 10.27 14.77 -0.32
Lincecum Timothy 12 12 72.0 4.63 3.33 9.88 4.00 2.47 43.52 1.24 66.08 0.287 9.72 15.54 -1.30
Sheets Ben 18 18 116.0 3.41 3.40 6.75 1.94 3.48 36.68 0.96 79.22 0.277 8.81 18.48 -0.01
Webb Brandon 19 19 131.0 3.37 3.42 7.69 3.23 2.38 58.25 2.97 76.87 0.299 11.11 17.01 0.05
Hendrickson Mark 21 10 78.3 4.02 3.45 7.35 2.64 2.78 43.21 1.52 74.66 0.311 11.84 20.16 -0.57
Haren Dan 19 19 129.3 2.30 3.45 7.03 2.23 3.16 43.27 1.21 84.91 0.238 7.14 15.04 1.15
Hill Richard 17 17 104.0 3.81 3.46 8.31 2.77 3.00 34.93 0.92 80.97 0.257 14.75 21.92 -0.35
Meche Gil 19 19 122.0 3.54 3.48 6.49 2.66 2.44 49.74 1.82 79.13 0.301 10.57 16.67 -0.06

Thoughts about the data

A couple of guys really stick out when we look at the Top 25 list.

Wandy Rodriguez comes in at No. 13. Definitely a guy who should be owned in every league. I picked him up in all of my shallower leagues a few days ago when I saw these numbers. Could regress a little, but so far he’s been great.

Mark Hendrickson at No. 22 surprised me a bit as well. I didn’t realize how good he’s been this year.

Despite the worst GB% and GB/FB on the list, Chris Young still manages to show up in the Top 20. I expected him to come up somewhere between 20-25. He’s the second luckiest shallow league guy though, so if you can grab someone like Cole Hamels or Jake Peavy (or really any number of guys ahead of him) you should do it.

With the control troubles Tim Lincecum has been having, I didn’t think he’d make the cut. He comes in at No. 18, the only guy on the list with a BB/9 north of 4.00. Play up the control issues to his owner. Even with a high BB/9 his LIPS is good. If it improves, look out.

As I said last week, while Johan Santana and Jake Peavy are getting a little lucky, they are still a couple of the best pitchers in baseball. You should hang onto them unless you get an amazing deal.

While Randy Johnson sits atop the LIPS leaders list, his 11.44 K/9 might not be sustainable. His control is good, though, and pitching in the National League, he should end up somewhere in the Post All-Star Break version of this list.

Chad Gaudin and Brad Penny are the luckiest guys currently owned in most mixed leagues. Penny’s peripherals are OK, but Gaudin needs to be traded… now.

I’m very happy to see Mark Buehrle re-sign with the White Sox. If my Mets traded for him, I’d be very upset. He’s been getting pretty lucky, and a move to a more pitcher-friendly park is now out of the question. Time to deal him.

I love Jamie Shields. One would be hard-pressed to find a better place on any list than squeezed between Jake Peavy and Johan Santana. If his owner is worrying over his seemingly poor performances lately, get him. He can help lead your team to some serious pitching points.

Don’t get Steve Trachsel. He’s near the top of the luckiest list, and he has the lowest LIPS (6.28) of any pitcher in our query. You should probably take any pitcher over him.

Final thoughts

Just because a guy is on the “unlucky” list doesn’t mean you should trade for him. It just means that his stock should be higher than it’s at now. A guy can have a 5.00 ERA and be lucky because it should be 7.00. Doesn’t mean you should pursue him for your team. I posted peripheral and luck stats next to each guy to for quick reference. If a guy is on the lucky list, make sure the place he should bounce back to is somewhere good.

The same thing goes for the “lucky” list. A guy might be getting lucky but still be a great pitcher. You might be able to get an even greater pitcher for him, but don’t feel he has to be moved. Check all of his numbers and make an educated decision.

I plan on running something similar to this soon, only with WHIP. Might come tomorrow if I can get everything in order. That’s all for now!

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