Laken Malone is the other half of the Lady Red pitching duo, that has made up their 13-5 season, with only one district loss coming at the hands of Sequayah-Claremore who they later defeated in the Oologah tournament.
Malone has stats compiled from a total of eight games pitched, two which get thrown out as outliers, due to missing data.
As a note, is it impossible to compare pitchers due to all the different factors that happen over a season which is why we don’t break down the team internally.
The immerging field of sabermetrics is designed to give coaches and analysts a more accurate view of a player then the traditional statistics allow.
In the past for pitchers, it was typical to look at the ERA or earned run average and even the WHIP or walk hits per inning pitched.
ERA in softball is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher in a seven-inning game (high school), and for Malone this is 3.06, meaning on average three runs are scored against her per game.
A further breakdown of pitching ability is the statistic WHIP, which is the number of baserunners a pitcher has allowed per inning pitched.
Malone comes in with an average WHIP of 1.4975, this means on average between one and two runners get on base when facing her as a pitcher.
The difference between these two, for those who don’t follow softball closely, is ERA deals with runs or points scored and WHIP deals with hits or bases taken.
However, we get into the issue of not being able to accurately measure the success of a pitcher because ERA can be affected by several factors such as a double play or fielding.
WHIP doesn’t consider errors and doesn’t accommodate a pitcher who throws better in a crisis.
That’s why statisticians have taken the time to develop several figures to evaluate a player’s ability.
One of these is BABIP or, batting average on balls in play, which measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
BABIP measures three factors, defense, luck and talent which for Malone is currently a 0.277.
This figure is extremely important when evaluating pitchers as they have almost no control over what happens after the ball is put in play.
Pitchers can control strikeouts, walks and homeruns and through these how many balls they allow to be put in play.
Pitchers with a high BABIP numbers are usually the victim of poor defense or bad luck, neither of which are the pitcher’s fault.
In baseball the league average for this figure is 0.300 and because there is no unified high school softball scoring system we must base our metrics off other leagues.
Malone is coming in just under the league average which starts to indicate she is an above average pitcher.
The other advanced metric used as part of sabermetrics, is FIP, or fielding independent pitching.
FIP looks at what a pitchers ERA would be over a period of time, if they were to experience average results on balls in play.
This metric looks at factors a pitcher can control such as strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches and homeruns.
For Malone with six games considered, she has a FIP of 3.54 which puts her in the above average column and very close to the great category for pitching.
It is generally understood that FIP and ERA should closely mirror each other, and if they don’t, it can be an indicator of a pitcher’s performance.
With Malones ERA at 3.06 and FIP at 3.54, it does indicate a good read on her being an above average pitcher if not a great pitcher.
It also shows that as she grows as a pitcher she needs to work on her consistency, which will give her the extra push she needs to be in a higher class.
A few addition outliers to note which are hard to express with numbers alone, is how much Malone has improved over the season.
At the start of her season, in her second game against Carl Albert, she ended with an ERA of 5.793 and has improved upon that in every game since with no regression and her most recent game having an ERA of 2.582.
Malone has thrown 575 pitches of which 393 were strikes and she has sent 49 batters’ home on strikeouts this year showing she is becoming strikeout pitcher.