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Chien-Ming Wang, Occasional Ace
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: March 20, 2010 – 2:18 am

這是一篇老掉牙的文章,出自於「紐約觀察家」(The New York Observer),作者 Howard Megdal 根據王建民的投球數據,撰文評論建仔只是偶爾神勇,光憑運氣來贏球,整篇報導對王建民頗為不友善。版主重提這篇文章,只是覺得作者文筆還不錯,又是討論我們的台灣之光,講解之後順道讓自己以及網友更加瞭解美國職棒大聯盟的種種。

 

Chien-Ming Wang, Occasional Ace
By Howard Megdal
August 31, 2007 

原文出處:http://www.observer.com/2007/chien-ming-wang-occasional-ace?page=1

 

《王建民:偶爾的王牌》

Chien-Ming Wang has won 35 games for the Yankees since the start of the 2006 season. He rebounded from his recent struggles with a strong effort Thursday, allowing just one hit in a win over the Red Sox.

translation 2006 年開季以來,王建民已經替洋基隊拿下 35 場勝利。他近期狀況不佳,但星期四卻表現得虎虎生風,只讓紅襪隊擊出一安打而贏得勝利。

 

But for a pitcher the Yankees are relying upon to be an ace for years to come, Wang has often gotten hit hard this season, allowing four runs or more in nearly a third of his starts (8 of 25). Last year, Wang allowed four earned runs or more in 11 of 33 starts.

translation 然而,王建民身為洋基隊未來幾年要倚賴的王牌投手,他本季卻經常被對手痛擊,幾乎三分之一的先發比賽 (25 場中有 8 場) 讓對手得四分以上。王建民去年有 33 場先發,其中 11 場的自責失分超過四分。

 

What is the reason for Wang’s frequent struggles, and what can the Yankees expect going forward?

translation 王建民為何經常陷入苦戰?洋基未來又會遇到何種情況呢?

 

The answer is a simple one: hitters put so many balls into play against Wang that results depend, to an unusual extent, upon luck.

translation 答案很簡單:打者能夠擊中太多王建民投出的球,比賽結果往往就得看運氣是好是壞。

 

In this, his third full season in the big leagues, Wang has managed to strike out 4.58 batters per nine innings. Among AL starters with at least 100 innings pitched, only six pitchers have a lower rate, a forgettable group ranging from Odalis Perez to Steve Trachsel.

translation 今年是王建民第三次能在大聯盟投滿整個球季,他平均每九局可以三振 4.58 位打者。在大聯盟至少投滿一百局的先發投手之中,只有六位投手的三振率比他還低,而這些投手幾乎遭人遺忘,像是 Odalis Perez 與 Steve Trachsel。

 

So what has separated Wang from these bottom-feeders? For one thing, he doesn’t walk many hitters – just 45 in 166 innings this year. But this fails to explain much of his success – among 52 pitchers with at least 100 IP this season, 15 have walked fewer hitters than Wang. Six of the 15 have struck out fewer hitters than Wang – and all but one of them has an ERA significantly higher than Wang.

translation 王建民與這些墊底投手有何差別?首先,王建民保送的打者較少,今年投 166 局只保送 45 位。然而,這並不足以說明王建民為何表現亮眼。本季有 52 位投手至少投滿 100 局,其中 15 位投手保送的打者少於王建民,這 15 位中有 6 位三振打者的數目低於王建民,然而只有一位投手的「場自責 (防禦率)」明顯高於王建民。

*IP = the amount of innings pitched
*ERA = earned run average

  

So absent even a decent strikeout rate, and a bit better than average walk rate, what is the secret to Wang’s success? Well, he throws a heavy sinker, leading to a large amount of ground balls. With 2.62 grounders for every fly ball, Wang ranks third among AL starters with at least 100 innings in that category. Those who believe Wang is destined for greatness point to his ability to “throw ground balls” as the secret to his longevity.

translation 王建民三振率顯然不高,保送率也只略高於一般水準,但他為何表現如此出色?嗯,他的伸卡球很沉重,打者擊出很多滾地球。王建民的滾飛比是 2.62,在那個項目中,他在大聯盟投球局數超過 100 局的投手群中高居第三名。有人相信王建民注定會成為偉大投手,他們認為王建民能夠「投出滾地球」,因此能長久在球壇打拼。

 

The problem with throwing ground balls, however, is that there is a nasty tendency for many of them to go between fielders and into the outfield. In his eight worst games this season, Wang has still managed 83 ground balls to just 37 fly balls, a better than 2-to-1 ratio. But his strikeout rate, already low, dips to 15 in these 46 innings—fewer than three per nine innings.

translation 然而,投出滾地球有個隱憂,就是許多球常會穿越野手,跑到外野去。在本季表現最差的八場比賽之中,王建民讓打者擊出 37 個飛球以及 83 個滾地球,這個比率優於 2 比 1。但是他低迷的三振率還下降, 46 局只三振 15 位打者,每九局三振的打者少於三位。

 

Even Chien-Ming Wang is dependent on the strikeout for success. And this is not surprising—no pitcher has managed any sustained level of success with a strikeout rate as low as Wang’s career mark of 3.74 per nine innings.

translation 王建民依舊還是要三振打者來取勝,但這點沒什麼好訝異的。投手三振率如果跟王建民一樣低,生涯平均每九局只三振 3.74 位打者,沒有人能夠一直有傑出的表現。

 

Take a look at the stats – no matter how soft the tosses are, no matter how dastardly the slider – no pitcher has managed a sustained career of excellence striking out fewer than four and a half per nine innings. The far-from-overpowering Tom Glavine checks in at 5.33 per nine. Crafty lefty Jimmy Key came in at 5.33 per nine. Even the change-of-pace specialist John Tudor, whose change-up reputedly couldn’t break glass, held a career strikeout mark of 4.94 per nine innings.

translation 讓我們看看數據,無論投球如何柔軟、無論滑球如何刁鑽,投手只要每九局三振不到 4.5 位打者,沒有人能夠維持亮眼的生涯表現。Tom Glavine 根本連強力巨投都稱不上 ,平均每九局也能三振 5.33 位。Jimmy Key 這位技巧型左投,每九局能夠三振 5.33 位。 John Tudor 是投變速球的高手,據說他的球連玻璃都打不破,即便是這種投手,生涯中也能夠每九局三振 4.94 位。

* hange-of-pace, change-of-pace ball, off-speed pitch = a baseball thrown with little velocity when the batter is expecting a fastball

 

There is some reason for optimism about Wang’s future. His 4.58 mark this season is a marked improvement over his career mark of 3.74, with August his best strikeout month yet (24 in 36 2/3 innings, an even six strikeouts per nine innings). For another, he did miss bats in the minor leagues, fanning 7 per nine innings in 478 2/3 minor league innings.

translation 從某些角度而言,我們依舊能夠對王建民的未來感到樂觀。他本季三振率 4.58,遠優於生涯的 3.74,明顯進步許多。八月是他至今表現最好的一個月 (36 2/3 局三振 24 人次,幾乎等於每九局三振 6 人)。此外,他在小聯盟的確很會三振,投過 478 2/3 局,平均每九局都 K 掉 7 位打者。

 

But at age 27, it is as likely as not that his strikeout bump this season is statistical fluctuation, still leaving him at the mercy of opponents’ batting average on balls in play (BABIP). For pitchers with even better strikeout rates than Wang’s, this can be the true killer, and is dependent a bit upon team defense (far from a Yankee strength) and largely on luck.

translation 不過 ,王建民已經 27 歲,他本季三振率的高低很可能只是統計數據的起伏,王建民依舊得依靠打者低迷的場內安打率 (BABIP)。投手的三振率即使比王建民還高,這種情形仍然足以致命,想要贏球還是得靠點團隊防守 (這點絕非洋基的強項),多數時刻還是要依賴運氣。

 

Wang was victimized by a .366 BABIP in August entering today’s game, and had a 5.46 ERA for the month as a result. His career BABIP mark of .291 has yielded a career ERA of 3.83.

translation 八月至今的比賽,王建民的「場內被安打率」(BABIP) 是 .366,他本月的 ERA 是 5.46,運氣有點背。王建民生涯的 BABIP 是 .291,而他生涯的 ERA 是 3.83。

* BABIP = Batting Average on Balls put Into Play

 

The problem is that BABIP is not a repeatable skill. Pitchers as skilled as Pedro Martinez in his prime have seen BABIP go from .325 in 1999 to .217 in 2000. Pedro, however, took the spinning of the roulette wheel out of his results often, striking out 313 in 213 innings in 1999, while walking just 37. He was able to minimize the damage luck could deal him.

translation 問題在於:BABIP 不是可以重複的技巧。像 Pedro Martinez 這種厲害投手,生涯高峰期的 BABIP 曾經從 1999 年的 .325 掉到 2000 年的 .217。然而,Pedro 經常不讓這類賭運主導賽局。1999 年時,他在 213 局中三振 313 位打者,只有保送 37 人。他能夠將衰運帶來的傷害降到最低。

 

Contrast that with recent Yankee Aaron Small, whose strikeout rate of 4.25 over two seasons in New York bests Wang’s career mark. Small held batters to a .277 BABIP in his magical 2005 season, overcoming a strikeout rate of just 4.38 to post a 10-0 record and 3.20 ERA. In 2006, with a strikeout rate of four per nine (but a BABIP that jumped to .388), Small posted an 8.46 ERA.

translation 相較之下,近期洋基 Aaron Small 在紐約兩個球季的三振率為 4.25,勝過王建民的生涯水準。Small 在他神奇的 2005 年球季中讓打者的 BABIP 維持在 .277,硬是蓋過不搶眼的 4.38 三振率,讓勝率達到生涯新高的 10 – 0,且ERA 為 3.20。2006 年時,Small 每九局三振四人 (但是 BABIP 飆升到 .388),ERA 結果變成 8.46。

 

This is not to say that Wang’s performance will fluctuate as much as Small’s did (for one thing, Wang’s walk rate remains steady, while Small’s did not). But pitchers on the low end of the strikeout spectrum are extremely vulnerable to the variables of baseball luck.

translation 這不是說王建民的表現會跟 Small 一樣起伏不定 (原因之ㄧ是王建民的保送率很穩定,Small 卻不是)。不過,投手如果三振率偏低,常會因為球運不佳而慘遭修理。

 

Wang also may not be so lucky with the home run ball, despite his ground ball tendencies. He’s allowed seven long balls in his 166 1/3 innings this season. But Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, whose groundball/fly ball ratio is slightly better than Wang’s, has given up 17 homers in 150 innings. Even Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona, whose 3.33 ground balls for each fly ball is significantly better than Wang’s 2.62, has allowed 14 long balls in 173 2/3 innings.

translation 王建民即使常讓打者擊出滾地球,也很可能會投出挨轟的球。他本季投了 166 1/3 局,被擊出 7 發全壘打。西雅圖的 Felix Hernandez  的滾飛比稍稍勝過比王建民,投 150 局卻被打了 17 發全壘打。克里夫蘭 Fausto Carmona 的滾飛比是 3.33,遠勝過王建民的 2.62,即便如此,他投 173 2/3 局卻挨了 14 發全壘打。 

 

Home run rate also fluctuates from year to year, regardless of the pitcher. Brandon Webb, who throws a sinker as his main pitch as well, allowed 21 home runs in 2005, 10 this year. Bruce Sutter, whose sinking action on his pitches put him in the Hall of Fame, allowed 10 home runs in 101 1/3 innings in 1978, then just 3 in 99 innings in 1979. And Sutter struck out well over a better per inning in both seasons, meaning he had far fewer balls in play that could leave the park than Wang does.

translation 任何投手的被全壘打率每年都會變動。Brandon Webb 也是以伸卡球為主,他在 2005 年被打了 21 發全壘打,今年卻只被轟出 10 發。Bruce Sutter 憑著一記伸卡球進入名人堂,1978 年時他投了 101 又 1/3 局,被轟出 10 發全壘打。1979 年時他在 99 局裡卻只被打了 3 發全壘打。然而,Sutter 在那兩季每局的三振率都遠好很多,因此他的球被擊出場外的機會遠低於王建民。 

 

So the next time Ching-Mien Wang pitches, bring your rabbit’s foot to Yankee Stadium. Rub Freddy Sez’s four-leaf clover for luck. And if you don’t see batters swinging and missing much, hope the energetic Yankee hitters can come to the rescue.

translation 因此,下回王建民投球時,別忘記帶「兔子後足」(幸運物) 到洋基球場,摸摸 Freddy Sez 的四葉苜蓿祈求幸運。 如果打者沒有頻頻揮棒落空,那你得祈求洋基的暴力打線能夠來拯救賽局。

*rabbit’s foot = the foot of a rabbit is carried as an amulet believed to bring good luck in American folklore. (美國民間傳說,兔子後足會帶來好運)

*Freddy Schuman (born May 23, 1925) better known as Freddy Sez or Freddy “Sez”, is a New Yorker and supporter of the New York Yankees, known for his activities in promoting the team and encouraging fan participation.
(from wikipedia)

 

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