July 25, 2021

Evaluating Cardinals and Free Agent Pitchers Using Called Strikes and Whiffs (Viva El Birdos)


Earlier this year, Alex Fast at The Pitcher List introduced a highly useful new metric called CSW rate. It stands for “called strikes + whiffs” and the formula is straightforward (called strikes + whiffs, divided by total pitches, yielding CSW%). It tracks better with SIERA (skill interactive ERA) than whiff rate and swinging strike rate, and stabilizes after about ten starts. It’s also more predictive for future years than swinging strike rate and whiff rate. Unsurprisingly, it’s more predictive for starters than relievers, but it’s effective for both. I highly recommend reading the original article. Today, we’ll review what CSW% can tell us about this year’s Cardinals staff and the free agent class.

First, let’s look at the Cardinals specifically. What you’ll see here is any Cardinal with 500 or more pitches thrown (plus Jordan Hicks, who missed the 500 pitch barrier), their CSW%, and their percentile rank league-wide.

Cardinals CSW%, 2019

Player CSW% CSW Pctile
Player CSW% CSW Pctile
Jordan Hicks 30.83%

Read “Evaluating Cardinals and Free Agent Pitchers Using Called Strikes and Whiffs” at Viva El Birdos