Salon.com sports writer King Kaufman has come up with a new statistic to measure a pitcher’s entire contribution to the team effort. He’s calling it the PRV (pronounced “perv”).
Essentially, the PRV takes a pitcher’s offensive production — meager in most cases — and subtracts it from his earned run average. The result will look like an ERA, but lower.
The PRV, Kaufman argues, allows us to focus the picture a little bit. Because, a pitcher with a 3.00 ERA who bats .250 is more valuable than a pitcher with a 3.00 ERA who bats .100, right?
Here’s an example of what Kaufman is talking about:
Where PRV gets interesting, I think, is when you look at pitchers who aren’t mowing down the league. Look down the ERA list and you might find some guys who are more valuable than you think because they can use their bats to mitigate a little of the damage their arms do.
For example, here are two guys with roughly equal, below-league-average ERAs, but notice how one of them makes himself a little better — by about seven runs, or three quarters of a win, over the course of a 200-inning season — by helping himself with the stick.
1. Hernandez, Wash. ERA 5.10 PRV 4.77
2. Suppan, St.L. ERA 5.06 PRV 5.04
If you’re a National League general manager looking at picking up one of these two guys, wouldn’t you consider Livan Hernandez’s offense — not to mention fielding, which we’re ignoring for the moment — when trying to decide between them? I would. Why not? Every little bit might make a difference. And you just never hear about this.
Makes sense, right? At least in the national league.