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Fantasy Baseball: Fangraphs Adds tERA to Pitching Charts

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MLB Photos via Getty Images

Fangraphs have added a few more statistics to their player databases today, and one of them is tERA, which is a defense neutral pitching statistic. It uses the trajectories and bat speed of each ball hit into play to measure the exact percentage of times a batted ball will go for a single, double, triple, or out. It apparently uses 40 years worth of pitching data arrive at the pitchers True ERA, or tERA.

Here is another explanaton of tERA:

 tERA is similar to FIP in that it it aspires to find a defensive-independent measurement of a pitcher's performance using run values, except that tERA uses different weights for the different types of batted balls, i.e. GB, FB, OFFB, IFFB, and LD, whereas FIP gives all batted balls the same value.

Here is a look at the 2010 tERA leaders:

Name K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 WHIP BABIP LOB% ERA FIP xFIP Pict
tERA 
Mat Latos 9.21 2.44 3.78 0.78 1.08 0.29 77.40% 2.92 3.00 3.36 2.53
Cliff Lee 7.84 0.76 10.28 0.68 1.00 0.30 67.90% 3.18 2.58 3.23 2.65
Jered Weaver 9.35 2.17 4.31 0.92 1.07 0.29 75.70% 3.01 3.06 3.51 2.79
Josh Johnson 9.11 2.35 3.88 0.34 1.11 0.31 79.20% 2.30 2.41 3.15 2.82
Adam Wainwright 8.32 2.19 3.80 0.59 1.05 0.28 79.10% 2.42 2.86 3.14 2.93
Felix Hernandez 8.36 2.52 3.31 0.61 1.06 0.27 77.40% 2.27 3.04 3.26 2.93
Francisco Liriano 9.44 2.72 3.47 0.42 1.26 0.34 73.10% 3.62 2.66 3.06 2.93
Clayton Kershaw 9.34 3.57 2.62 0.57 1.18 0.29 76.20% 2.91 3.12 3.80 3.06
Justin Verlander 8.79 2.85 3.08 0.56 1.16 0.30 72.00% 3.37 2.97 3.68 3.11
Hiroki Kuroda 7.29 2.20 3.31 0.69 1.16 0.30 68.90% 3.39 3.26 3.57 3.15
Tommy Hanson 7.68 2.49 3.09 0.62 1.17 0.30 71.40% 3.33 3.31 4.04 3.21
Chad Billingsley 8.03 3.24 2.48 0.38 1.28 0.31 71.00% 3.57 3.07 3.81 3.21
David Price 8.11 3.41 2.38 0.65 1.19 0.28 78.50% 2.72 3.42 3.99 3.27
Ubaldo Jimenez 8.69 3.74 2.33 0.41 1.15 0.27 76.50% 2.88 3.10 3.73 3.28
Anibal Sanchez 7.25 3.23 2.24 0.46 1.34 0.32 70.60% 3.55 3.32 4.21 3.30
Jon Lester 9.74 3.59 2.71 0.61 1.20 0.30 74.50% 3.25 3.13 3.29 3.30
Roy Oswalt 8.21 2.34 3.51 0.81 1.03 0.26 77.80% 2.76 3.27 3.45 3.34
Roy Halladay 7.86 1.08 7.30 0.86 1.04 0.30 82.70% 2.44 3.01 2.92 3.35
CC Sabathia 7.46 2.80 2.66 0.76 1.19 0.29 75.60% 3.18 3.54 3.78 3.44
Brett Myers 7.24 2.66 2.73 0.80 1.24 0.30 76.30% 3.14 3.56 3.82 3.46

With the exception of a few pitchers, tERA appears to be very close to FIP based on the small 20 pitcher sample size I present here. Of the 20 pitchers in the above table, 14 have an FIP - tERA less than 0.20. Or, said differently, 14 of the 20 pitchers have a tERA within 0.20 of their FIP in 2010.

But, with the exception of a few pitchers, you can also see there is a bigger difference between their ERA and their tERA, or true ERA. Some fantasy experts prefer xFIP and tERA over FIP, so I would like to take a look at the 2009 data to see which advanced pitching stat was the better predictor for 2010 performance.