Early ERA-FIP Leaders/Trailers

With starters having three or four starts so far, there are some extreme ERAs so far. One can look at a pitcher’s difference between his ERA and FIP to see how lucky or unlucky he has been so far. Both lists will see good and bad FIPs, so you shouldn’t get sucked into thinking the lists are just lucky mediocre pitchers and unlucky good pitchers.

Starting with the lucky pitchers, Drew Smyly has the biggest negative difference, compiling a 1.13 ERA despite a FIP right at 4.00. Unlike most pitchers on these lists, his BABIP does not explain his situation. At .318, it’s well above average, but he has stranded every runner that has reached base, allowing his two earned runs on home runs. Brandon Morrow is struggling to miss bats and allowing a lot of home runs, but his .158 BABIP allowed has kept his ERA at 4.50, despite a 6.99 FIP. It is odd to see him on this list after having differences over +1.00 the past two seasons. His teammate Kyle Drabek is still walking too many hitters, leading to a 4.38 FIP, yet has held his ERA at 2.00. He has a low .239 BABIP allowed and a high 90% strand rate. Jeremy Hellickson made this list last year and is well on his way to make it again. His 3.26 ERA is complemented with a 5.58 FIP, as he’s only allowed a .206 BABIP so far this year.

On the other side, Tim Lincecum cannot catch a break this year. After two years of declining peripherals, his K/BB ratio is great this year, working out to a 3.38 FIP. However, his .426 BABIP allowed and 43% strand rate has led to a 10.54 ERA. Freddy Garcia hasn’t been very good, accumulating a 4.77 FIP, but his .409 BABIP allowed and 47% strand rate leaves him with an ERA at 9.75. Francisco Liriano has been awful, as his 6.43 FIP states, but his 11.02 ERA is also a function of a .393 BABIP allowed and a 49% strand rate. Max Scherzer has a .419 BABIP allowed, making his 3.82 FIP balloon to a 7.98 ERA. Much like last year, Zack Greinke has had a horribly unlucky start to go along with amazing peripherals. His FIP sits at 1.30, but a .362 BABIP allowed and a 50% strand rate leaves his ERA at 5.09.

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