Just a quick graph that means absolutely nothing. I was wondering about last year’s performances for this year’s opening day starters. I decided to use Win Probability Added, from Fangraphs, to measure their performance over the 2008 season. It doesn’t really mean anything, because one’s performance the previous season isn’t necessarily the reason they’re named the opening day starter. Ken Macha in Milwaukee wanted to give it to Suppan so his best pitcher isn’t feeling quite the same pressure, he says. And Carlos Zambrano got it as a kind of lifetime achievement award even though Dempster had a better year last year.
Obviously, a player’s WPA over the course of last season doesn’t correlate with one start this season. Sabathia was at +4.74 last year, for example, but was -.284 today. And Cliff Lee, last year’s leader at +5.96, was -.261 today. Zambrano, meanwhile, was +.5 total last year, and put up 40% of that today, with a .196. So one game’s WPA doesn’t mean anything, but it’s still interesting to look at. I may try to superimpose everyone’s single-game results on this graph tomorrow. In the mean time, enjoy: