Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Long time, no post

With the end of the season upon us, I have compiled my annual statistical reports which have now been posted on my website. I have some random observations from these, cross-posted at FanHome, and then I will get into the matter of my ballots for the Internet Baseball Awards.

I was just stunned when I was putting my stats together tonight when I looked at the NL starting pitchers. I have the top 3 NL starters in terms of Runs Above Replacement(defined as 125% of the league run average as):

Clemens, HOU....+80
Pettitte, HOU...+73
Oswalt, HOU.....+66

The top 3 starters in the NL, all Astros(although Carpenter, Willis, and Pedro are all within a few runs and well within the margin of error, etc.) Still quite impressive. If you do the list by RAA, Pedro and Carpenter overtake Oswalt by fractions of a run but Clemens and Pettitte remain on top.

Then there is the matter of my poor Indians, who collapsed in the last week. According to an article on BP today by Clay Davenport, only seven teams had blown bigger postseason odds then the Tribe, who were at 96.5% last week according to their methods. Anyway, the Indians offense ranks in RAA versus an average hitter at their postion:
C Martinez.......+32, first
2B Belliard......+11, seventh
SS Peralta.......+36, fourth
LF Crisp.........+7, sixth
CF Sizemore......+18, first(pretty pathetic group in CF for the AL)
DH Hafner........+37, second

Of course, I left out:
1B Broussard.....-11, eleventh
3B Boone.........-15, fourteenth
RF Blake.........-14, fifteenth

The Indians had the best pyth. record in the AL and the best pyth using RC and RC Allowed in all of baseball. It is very frustrating to miss out on the playoffs by two games in large part because you have no production from the corner positions.

Unless David Ortiz has some other-worldly clutch figures, I don't see how you can deny ARod the MVP. I have ARod leading by 10 RAR above an average hitter. So that's not counting defense at all, not even an offensive positional adjustment. I don't see how Ortiz makes up 10 runs on offense + the defensive value gap. Pujols and Lee are very close in the NL as far as I can tell(slight edge of 5 or so runs to Lee), so that race should be looked at further I would think.

The AL Cy Young should be Johan Santana again. He was being outpitched by Halladay before he got hurt, but nobody is particularly close to him. But I doubt he'll win it again.

Scott Eyre of the Giants has some crazy inherited runners numbers. I'd love to know what his leverage index is, or if he was just coming in to mop up messes when it doesn't matter. He pitched 86 times and inherited 78 runners, or .91/game(all of those figures led the league). Of those guys, only 15.4% scored versus an NL average of 31.4%. And even with all of these inherited runners, his Run Average was only 2.86 to begin with.

Now to the matter of the Internet Baseball Awards. I will start with the Manager of the Year. I really think the manager of the year award is the stupidest one in existence. My criteria has always been "Which team exceeded my expectations the most?" If everyone asked the question this way, we would have little consensus, because everybody has their own set of expectations. Of course, some teams like the White Sox exceeded just about everybody's expectations, so they would do well by everyone if they used this criteria. Anyway, I'm not sure that criteria is the best, but it seems to fairly well approximate how the writers go about voting on it as well. Some people like to compare Pythagorean records, but I think this is silly. Pythagorean deviations are as likely to be random as anything else. Further more, managerial decisions impact the Runs and Runs Allowed totals, be it through strategy or who they play or what have you. It's not as if the R and RA are just pure and the manager comes and muddles them all up to lead to the actual record. You could instead use RC and RC Allowed, but those are still impacted(although a little less so) by the manager and the randomness factor is even larger.

I suppose I could also vote for the manager who ordered the least number of sacrifice hits, intentional walks, and other things I don't personally like, but that would be silly. Therefore, I will go by the default criteria I discussed above to get:
1. Ozzie Guillen, CHA--I picked the White Sox fourth. Oops. But I'll probably pick them fourth next year from the looks of it now. Oh yeah, and what the heck is with the Tigers firing Alan Trammel? What, it was his fault he didn't turn a team with Jeremey Bonderman(-4 RAA) as their best pitcher and Placido Polanco(who was only there for half a year) as their best offensive player? Was it his fault that Guillen and Ordonez got hurt and IRod decided to post a .295 OBA? It's not like they collapsed from last year to this year and they improved a great deal(well, that's a given) from his first season. Plus you wouldn't think that the hometown hero would get thrown to the wolves like that. Oh, well.
2. Eric Wedge, CLE--I expected the Indians to contend for the Central division title. I did not expect them to post the best EW% in the AL, the best PW% in the majors, and contend with the Yankees and Red Sox as well.
3. Ken Macha, OAK--I expected Oakland to contend as well. In August, I thought they would win. Of course they did not, but a lot of people didn't think they would get close, ripped Billy Beane, and they got kicked in the teeth

1. Phil Garner, HOU--Yeah, I picked the Astros fourth, behind the Cubs and Brewers. But I didn't think they would overcome the loss of Beltran, I didn't think that Clemens would get even better at age 43, I didn't think that Andy Pettitte would come back, not as a solid starter, but at the second best pitcher in the National League. So, yeah, I didn't see that one coming.
2. Frank Robinson, WAS--In my NL East prediction I wrote that it could be "a great four team race". The Nationals were not one of the four I was thinking of.
3. Bobby Cox, ATL--Yes, I predicted that the Braves would 10-peat in the East, but it was half-hearted. It has become difficult to pick against the Braves. I had been doing it for the last few years, and kept getting burned. So I finally picked them this year. Eventually, they will lose. But while they are still winning, you've gotta tip your cap to Bobby Cox.

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