Just how bad are the Twins' pitchers?

Scott Baker's demotion got me thinking about the Twins' pitching woes, and what could cause one of the top pitching teams in 2005 to plummet to one of the worst in 2006. I, like most of the Twins community, place most of the blame on the atrocious defense behind our pitchers, and decided to look at DIPS E.R.A. ( as a way to figure out which of our pitchers is being hurt most by our porous defense.

                 Actual ERA   Dips ERA   Dips%
Nathan               2.00         1.58     .79
Liriano               2.11         2.14     1.01
Rincon               2.00         2.51     1.26
Santana             3.46         3.23     .93
Crain                 6.94         3.53     .51
Guerrier             3.00         4.17    1.39
Baker                6.06         4.49     .74
Bonser               4.50         4.67     1.04
Eyre                  5.30         4.68      .88
Reyes                1.59         4.69      2.95
Radke                7.01          5.42    .77
Lohse                8.92          5.44     .61
Silva                  7.81          6.37    .82

 Pitchers with dips% above 1.0 have been helped by the Twins' defense, while those with dips% below 1.0 have been hurt by our defense. Crain and Lohse have been hurt the most, while Guerrier and especially Reyes have been made to look better than they actually are. We also see that maybe Baker hadn't pitched as poorly as his ERA would indicate to the casual fan. Back to the original question though; how has the staff as a whole been affected by our defense?

            Team ERA     Dips ERA(ML rank)    Dips%(ML rank)
2006          5.12              4.24 (7)                  .83 (30)
2005          3.71              4.07 (7)                1.10 (7)            
2004          4.03              4.03 (3)                1.00 (15)

 So while our pitchers have been slightly worse than the previous two years in terms of DIPS ERA, they are nowhere near as bad as their 5.12 team era would make them appear. We also seem to have statistically located the cause of the problem - the team's .83 dips%, good for dead last in the major leagues. So while the Twins' defense actually helped the pitchers in 2005, it has hurt them more than any other team in baseball in 2006. But so what? Even if the defense wasn't so awful, the Twins would still be way behind in the Central right? Well, maybe not. Using Bill James' Pythagorean Expectation Formula (, and adjusting runs allowed based on team DIPS ERA, the Twins would be only 4 games back.

                      W    L    PCT    GB    RS    RA w/ DIPS
Cleveland      32   21   .612      -      305      238
Chicago         30   23   .569     2.0   293      252
Detroit           30   24   .550     2.5   270      242
Minnesota      28   25   .519     4.0    246     236

What does it all mean? I don't know, but it might be something to consider.

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