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Chad Billingsley, TBLA Forecast Review

At least Bobby still loves me  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
At least Bobby still loves me (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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This was Michael White's Preview:

Year Age IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP x-FIP tERA ERA+
23 200.2 3.59 9.01 3.14 3.35 3.62 3.58 133
24 196.1 3.94 8.21 4.03 3.82 4.04 3.93 99
2010 25 191.2 3.24 8.03 3.57 3.07 3.81 3.21 107
2011 26 188 4.00 7.03 4.21 3.83 4.14 4.18 88
2011 Projections - Age 26 Season


Bill James
201 2.25 8.46 3.63 3.54

175 2.45 8.33 3.57 3.37

Baseball HQ
203 3.40 8.20 3.37

207 3.38 8.47 3.30

None of the experts expected an increase in walks per nine innings, a decrease in strikeouts per nine innings, and the corresponding jump in all the various ERA metrics. They basically expected Chad in 2011 to be Chad in 2010 which is basically why some forecasts are as useful as Luke Walton.

How did the TBLA Members do?

First off we always look to SilverWidow for guidance.

214 IP
3.23 ERA
197 K
Arguably #1 starter on the team this year.

Hmmm, if only that had been true.

Taylor was even more optimistic:

I say he finally goes sub-3.00
ERA: 2.90
IP: 210
K/9: 8.50

It was a bad thread for forecasting. The game thread came quickly so very few projections and every one was optimistic. That was to be expected given his success in 2010. No winners for this projection.

Two members did express concern about the declining K Rate:

3.90 ERA in 210 innings. FIP 3.50 with a 1.25 WHIP.
Is Billingsley’s declining K/9 rate reason for concern? 8K/9 is still excellent of course and his BB/9 has also declined.
by guy clinch on Mar 27, 2011 10:50 AM PDT actions

If it continues to decline this year
Then it could be of some concern, but typically its a declining K rate combined with an increasing walk rate that raises real red flags. As it is its plenty high.
by EMDarrow on Mar 27, 2011 11:39 AM PDT up actions

Based on the comment by EMDarrow, red flags have been raised after Chad's 2011 season.

Looking at Fangraphs, they say he stopped using his slider in 2011. In the past he would throw it about 3% of the time. He used his change up more then ever, going up to .6.5% from 2.9% the year before. Everything else stayed the same, so according to Fangraphs he discarded the slider for the change up. Baseball HQ has this to say:

Dramatic skills dips raise specter of a hidden injury but that's just speculation. Bet on some partial recovery from regression alone.

and this:

8/22/2011 - Chad Billingsley (RHP, LA) has looked like an elite pitcher the first time through lineups: 8.2 Dom, 2.4 Ctl, 43% GB%, 104 BPV. His control escapes him after that. He has a 4.2 Ctl the second time through lineups and a 4.5 Ctl the third time through lineups. He sustains a 7.0+ Dom during both situations, so if he can solve his middle and late-game control woes, he could re-emerge as an impact SP.