Bryce Elder Continues to Regress to the Mean
Bryce Elder played a major role in the Atlanta Braves' first-half success. With Max Fried and Kyle Wright battling injuries the first half of the year (and beyond), the Braves needed a hero. Bryce Elder put on the cape and stepped up. Through July 3rd, Elder had a stellar 2.45 ERA and had earned an All-Star nod in his second season with the big club.
The underlying metrics looked a little worrisome, but sometimes pitchers can outperform the peripherals. Many were wondering if Bryce Elder was one of those guys. While his ERA hung out with the cool kids at 2.45, his FIP was vaping with the losers (vaping is not cool) with a 3.77.
What is FIP? "Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease caused by a feline coronavirus that affects wild and domestic cats." -WEB M.D.
I was actually talking about his Fielding Independent Pitching stats, but either way... it's not good.
FIP factors in factors that pitchers have the most control over. It pretty much covers everything except for balls hit into play. Because balls hit in play are not important in baseball...
Regardless, the FIP is the underlying number to the ERA and the FIP said that Elder might be getting a little too lucky. Barstool Sports did a piece on Elder as one of the top regression candidates in the second half based on his awful Statcast numbers and really good real numbers.
Since that July 3rd start, Elder has actually posted a higher ERA than his FIP. So, the good news (bad news to come) is that he might be due to be better, moving forward. Since July 9th, Elder has given up 20 earned runs in 23.1 innings. That's a 7.71 ERA with a 6.86 FIP.
His StatCast numbers offer no refuge.
Fastball Spin: 4th Percentile
Fastball Velocity: 9th Percentile
Whiff %: 30th Percentile
K%: 15th Percentile
Is reality coming back to bite Elder in the rear? If so, where does that leave the Braves rotation?