Jon Lester the key to your season? Is it time to cut bait on Cliff Lee? And what in the world should you do with Tim Lincecum? The answers to these questions and more can be learned from understanding how to apply some of the "newfangled" analysis developed by the sabermetric community.
A few weeks ago, we examined some of the more common pitching metrics and elucidated what's in a pitcher's control and what's left to fate. To review briefly, a pitcher's strikeout and walk rates best identify a pitcher's skill. Home runs and hits allowed entail both skill and luck elements. With home runs, the skill involves inducing more ground balls, while the luck deals with the percentage of fly balls that leave the yard. When examining hits on balls in play, ground ball pitchers surrender more "safeties" than fly ball pitchers. Meanwhile, the ability to consistently and repeatedly induce weaker contact is being investigated and cannot yet be conclusively deemed a skill.