2012 in Review: Zach McAllister

If you look at earned runs, Zach McAllister was the Tribe's best starting pitcher by a large margin. But if you include all the unearned runs allowed by McAllister, his 2012 season looks a lot more suspect.

2012 Age: 24

2012 WAR (Fangraphs): 1.3 (Role Player)

2012 WAR (B-Ref): -.5 (Replacement Level)

2012 Salary: ~$480K (minimum)

2013 Contract Status: Renewable Contract (<1 Year Service Time)

Let's break down the B-Ref version of WAR first. Because Baseball-Reference's version uses Runs Allowed and Innings Pitched as the basis for its calculation, it's no wonder why McAllister looks horrible. Zach allowed 19 unearned runs in his 125.1 innings pitched, which made his RA (Runs Allowed) 5.60, almost a run and a half higher than his ERA (4.24). Why include unearned runs in the WAR calculation? Because the statistic is measuring the value of a player's performance to his team, you need to include unearned runs because although the pitcher may not be entirely responsible for those unearned runs, those runs nevertheless scored, hampering his team's ability to win the game. Since this value compares a pitcher with the average league starter, some unearned runs isn't going to hurt him, since all pitchers are going to give up some unearned runs. But because McAllister's unearned run rate is well outside the league norms, it hurt him here.

The Fangraphs version is a bit more kind to McAllister, since that version of WAR is based on FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), not just plain RA, but still, this version also came up with a value below a starter level.

A large chunk of the unearned runs McAllister gave up came in one game in August. In that game (on August 6th against Minnesota), one run scored on the error itself, and McAllister would allow 6 more runs to score after the error (three coming on runs allowed after he left. So although Zach's day ended with just 2 earned runs, there were 9 runs on the scoreboard the Indians had to deal with. The good news is that McAllister allowed just 1 unearned run after that, and that run scored on the same play that the error was made, and Zach struck out a batter to end the inning with no further runs scored.

But given that the season's over with now, what should we expect from McAllister in 2013 and beyond? Even though the overall results weren't that good, there are several promising signs of future improvement. McAllister managed a 7.9 SO/9 rate, a very nice rate for a starting pitcher, and at the same time kept his walks down (2.7/9). He was fairly efficient with his pitches, averaging 5.2 innings per start, even with some meltdowns included. His stuff looks like it can be effective against major-league hitters, and he's been a durable pitcher, throwing 150 innings each of the past three seasons, with a total of 188.2 innings thrown between Columbus and Cleveland this season. He's been very effective against left-handed hitters thanks to a changeup/slider combination used against them when ahead in the count:

(via Brooks Baseball)

Fourseam Sinker Cutter Slider Change
LHH
All Counts 70% 0% 3% 13% 14%
First Pitch 70% 0% 2% 13% 15%
Batter Ahead 85% 1% 3% 4% 8%
Even 69% 0% 2% 14% 15%
Pitcher Ahead 57% 1% 5% 21% 17%
Two Strikes 70% 1% 3% 21% 6%
RHH
All Counts 67% 1% 17% 15% 1%
First Pitch 62% 1% 20% 17% 0%
Batter Ahead 77% 1% 16% 6% 1%
Even 63% 0% 21% 15% 0%
Pitcher Ahead 63% 1% 15% 21% 1%
Two Strikes 71% 0% 8% 19% 2%

BASELINE All Counts
HIGH USE 10% Above Baseline
LOW USE 10% Below Baseline

I think the Indians have yet again come up with a nice player thanks to a relatively minor trade (Austin Kearns, 2010). Now if only they could actually draft these kinds of players...

2012 Game Log

Rk Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str GSc
1 5 27 May 7(1) CLE CHW W,8-6 GS-6 W(1-0) 99 6.0 6 4 2 1 5 0 0 3.00 25 104 66 52
2 6 33 May 12 CLE @ BOS L,1-4 GS-7 L(1-1) 4 7.0 8 4 4 0 8 1 0 4.15 29 112 80 53
3 7 38 May 17 CLE SEA W,6-5 GS-6 4 5.2 3 4 3 5 6 0 0 4.34 26 100 55 50
4 8 43 May 23 CLE DET W,4-2 GS-7 5 6.1 8 2 2 0 3 0 0 3.96 27 89 66 52
June Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str GSc
5 9 75 Jun 28 CLE @ BAL W,7-2 GS-6 W(2-1) 35 5.2 7 2 2 1 6 1 0 3.82 25 105 67 52
July Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str GSc
6 10 80 Jul 3 CLE LAA W,9-5 GS-6 W(3-1) 4 6.0 8 5 3 0 5 2 0 3.93 26 92 67 45
7 11 85 Jul 8 CLE TBR L,6-7 GS-6 4 5.2 4 4 0 3 8 0 0 3.40 25 89 56 58
8 12 89 Jul 16 CLE @ TBR W,3-2 GS-6 W(4-1) 7 6.0 3 1 1 4 5 0 0 3.17 24 99 57 63
9 13 94 Jul 21 CLE BAL L,1-3 GS-8 L(4-2) 4 7.2 5 3 3 0 6 2 0 3.21 27 95 73 63
10 14 99 Jul 26 CLE DET W,5-3 GS-7 4 6.1 9 3 2 2 7 1 0 3.18 29 117 75 50
August Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str GSc
11 15 104 Aug 1 CLE @ KCR L,2-5 GS-6 L(4-3) 5 6.0 5 5 4 2 3 0 0 3.42 25 105 67 45
12 16 109 Aug 6 CLE MIN L,3-14 GS-2 L(4-4) 4 1.2 6 9 2 2 3 2 0 3.60 14 62 38 22
13 17 114 Aug 11 CLE BOS W,5-2 GS-8 W(5-4) 4 8.0 3 2 2 0 4 0 0 3.46 27 100 66 72
14 18 119 Aug 17 CLE @ OAK L,4-6 GS-6 5 6.0 8 4 4 1 6 0 0 3.64 27 91 63 45
15 19 124 Aug 22 CLE @ SEA L,1-3 GS-6 4 6.0 3 1 1 3 4 1 0 3.50 24 98 64 63
16 20 129 Aug 28 CLE OAK L,0-7 GS-5 L(5-5) 5 4.1 9 5 5 3 8 2 0 3.82 25 110 69 30
September Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str GSc
17 21 134 Sep 2 CLE TEX L,3-8 GS-5 L(5-6) 4 5.0 11 7 7 2 4 4 0 4.26 27 88 59 19
18 22 139 Sep 8 CLE @ MIN L,0-3 GS-3 L(5-7) 5 3.0 2 2 2 3 1 0 1 4.31 15 87 55 45
19 23 144 Sep 13 CLE @ TEX W,5-4 GS-6 4 6.0 8 2 1 0 6 0 0 4.15 25 87 65 56
20 24 149 Sep 19 CLE MIN L,4-6 GS-5 L(5-8) 5 4.1 8 4 4 2 3 1 0 4.31 22 91 53 32
21 25 154 Sep 24 CLE @ CHW L,4-5 GS-6 4 6.0 4 2 2 2 7 1 0 4.25 22 92 56 61
22 26 159 Sep 30 CLE KCR W,15-3 GS-7 W(6-8) 5 6.2 5 3 3 2 2 1 0 4.24 27 106 65 52
CLE 125.1 133 78 59 38 110 19 1 4.24 543
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/8/2012.

Career Stats (Minors and Majors)

Year Age Tm Lg ERA G GS GF CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2006 18 NYY-min Rk 3.09 11 1 6 0 0 35.0 35 14 12 1 12 28 148 1.343 9.0 0.3 3.1 7.2 2.33
2007 19 NYY-min A- 5.17 16 15 0 0 0 71.1 80 42 41 3 28 75 316 1.514 10.1 0.4 3.5 9.5 2.68
2008 20 NYY-min A+,A 2.09 25 24 1 1 1 151.0 133 52 35 9 21 115 601 1.020 7.9 0.5 1.3 6.9 5.48
2009 21 NYY-min AA 2.23 22 22 0 0 0 121.0 98 39 30 4 33 96 493 1.083 7.3 0.3 2.5 7.1 2.91
2010 22 NYY-CLE-min AAA 5.29 27 27 0 1 0 149.2 185 95 88 21 45 99 669 1.537 11.1 1.3 2.7 6.0 2.20
2011 23 CLE-min AAA 3.32 25 25 0 3 1 154.2 155 61 57 11 31 128 644 1.203 9.0 0.6 1.8 7.4 4.13
2011 23 CLE AL 6.11 4 4 0 0 0 17.2 26 16 12 1 7 14 84 66 1.868 13.2 0.5 3.6 7.1 2.00
2012 24 CLE-min AAA 2.98 11 11 0 0 0 63.1 59 27 21 5 19 52 258 1.232 8.4 0.7 2.7 7.4 2.74
2012 24 CLE AL 4.24 22 22 0 0 0 125.1 133 78 59 19 38 110 543 92 1.364 9.6 1.4 2.7 7.9 2.89
2 Yrs 4.47 26 26 0 0 0 143.0 159 94 71 20 45 124 627 87 1.427 10.0 1.3 2.8 7.8 2.76
162 Game Avg. 4.47 34 34 0 0 0 187 208 123 93 26 59 162 820 87 1.427 10.0 1.3 2.8 7.8 2.76
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/8/2012.
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