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tiger337

Winter of Sabermetrics

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I'm going to go back to my internet roots and try do a lot of sabermetric stuff this winter. For now, I'm going to stick it in this folder so I don't start a bunch of boring threads. I'm going to try to keep a lot of it simple enough so that people will actually read it but occasionaly I may go off on a mathematical tangent that will bore the hell out of most of you. I'm hoping this doesn't turm into a pissy saber versus purist thread but I'm also hoping people will comment, critique and add to it.

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I'm going to go back to my internet roots and try do a lot of sabermetric stuff this winter. For now, I'm going to stick it in this folder so I don't start a bunch of boring threads. I'm going to try to keep a lot of it simple enough so that people will actually read it but occasionaly I may go off on a mathematical tangent that will bore the hell out of most of you. I'm hoping this doesn't turm into a pissy saber versus purist thread but I'm also hoping people will comment, critique and add to it.

You've been around this board long enough to know that this thread will certainly turn into a pissy saber vs. purist thread. :cool:

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The first matter of business is a quick and dirty look at the Chicago White Sox "small ball" or "smart ball" phenomenon. There has been a lot of talk about the White Sox manufacturing runs this year but how much of it are they really doing? The first thing that you notice when you look at their numbers is that they don't score a lot of runs. They were 9th in the league in runs scored and this is not surprising when you see their offensive stats: 10th in OBP, 7th in slugging and 8th in OPS.

One stat that stands out is that they are 4th in the league in homeruns. This is surely due, in part, to their homer friendly park but hitting a lot of homeruns doesn't sound like a small ball thing to do. I decided to calculate the percentage of each team's runs that were directly due to homeruns. For example, the White Sox scored 738 runs and hit 199 homeruns. This means that 27.0% of their runs were directly attributable to homeruns. The table below shows where they ranked in the league.

Texas 30.0

Chicago 27.0

Cleveland 26.2

New York 25.9

Baltimore 25.7

Detroit 23.1

Boston 21.8

Tampa Bay 20.9

Oakland 20.3

Minnesota 19.5

Los Angeles 19.4

Seattle 18.5

kansas City 17.9

Toronto 17.4

The list shows that the White Sox depend on homeruns to score runs more than other other team except the Rangers. Toronto, a notorious saber team, relies on the homerun less than any other team.

There is some noise in this data. First, I don't take into consideration how many runs actually scored on these homeruns. Some teams might down the list if a lot of their homeruns were solo. At the same time, teams would move up the list if a lot of their homeruns came with men on base. I don't believe the rankings would shift considerably though.

Another thing you may notice is that is that teams with homer friendly ballparks tended to be higher on the list which is not surprising.. This is not a problem though. Whether you play in a small park or big park, homeruns are not small ball.

Are the White Sox doing any small ball things that show up in the stats? Well, they are first in the league in sacrifice bunts. I don't know whether that's a good thing but it's definitely small ball. They are also third in the league in SB. Their success rate is only marginal (67%) though and is 9th in the league. They are only 7th in the league in sac flies. They are doing pretty well in a couple of somewhat underrated small ball categories: HBP (2nd in league) and fewest GIDP (2nd lowest).

So they are doing some small ball things and those things are standing out in the national media. However, they are a team that relies heavily on homeruns. They may be able to manufacture runs but that's not what they are about. Their offense is about homeruns more than anything else.

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You've been around this board long enough to know that this thread will certainly turn into a pissy saber vs. purist thread. :cool:
Come on, that's a bit harsh. I'm really looking forward to the regular instalments. Lee, you sabers suck.

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That's a good analysis. If 28% of a team's runs are scored by a guy circling the bases after a home run...and if that team is 4th in home runs, but only 9th in runs scored...then that team has some serious on-base problems, or some serious BA/RISP problems, or both.

That doesn't seem like a team that should be leading the league in sac bunts, or having 33% of its steal attempts turn into outs. They would seem to need baserunners, period, more than baserunners in scoring position, so the negative consequences of smallball (caught stealing, and voluntary outs on the sac bunt) would be particularly infuriating to the fans in those circumstances.

Would this be a good opportunity for me to offer the suggestion that J. P. Ricciardi is a freaking idiot? He doesn't resist the "saber" tag, but he doesn't walk the walk. He's got some front-liners like Hudson and Hinske who are low OBP, and semi-regulars like Catalanotto and Reid Johnson with zero power. I say he's got a chance to get fired after 2006. Lee, I'd like to request a future essay on "Ricciardi, saber fact or fiction?".

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You've been around this board long enough to know that this thread will certainly turn into a pissy saber vs. purist thread. :cool:

faces_harris01.jpg

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This sabre stuff interests me but I have always sucked at math. :( Is there a "sabremetrics for dummies" book available?

Yes. There's an online version called www.motownsports.com! :cool:

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That doesn't seem like a team that should be leading the league in sac bunts, or having 33% of its steal attempts turn into outs. They would seem to need baserunners, period, more than baserunners in scoring position, so the negative consequences of smallball (caught stealing, and voluntary outs on the sac bunt) would be particularly infuriating to the fans in those circumstances.

This is what I've been thinking. Ozzie has the entire country thinking he's a genius when he's lokely cost the team a lot of runs this season.

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Lee this should be cool. I enjoy reading saber analysis, I am just way to lazy to do any myself. A nice winter thread, thanks.

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The first matter of business is a quick and dirty look at the Chicago White Sox "small ball" or "smart ball" phenomenon ... One stat that stands out is that they are 4th in the league in homeruns. This is surely due, in part, to their homer friendly park but hitting a lot of homeruns doesn't sound like a small ball thing to do.

I think all that talk started when they traded Carlos Lee for Scott Podsednik. The talk was that they're going "small ball" .. & Podsednik got a lot of steals, so that must be what they're doing, when in reality they're season is much more attributable to a better clubhouse environment & their starting pitching having career years.

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Good Job Lee! Thanks! Look forward to more throughout the winter.

The Tigers show up 6th on the list, does this tell us anything or is it pretty much where you expected them to be?

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As a traditionalist - purist - whatever I would like to know if this stat exists. Extra base hits with a stolen base threat on the bases as a result of the pitcher making a bad pitch because he was worried about the runner instead of the hitter. I am not kidding either, does something like that exist. If it doesn't it should. It would be very telling in my mind about the value of a Podsednik or Crawford or even Reyes.

I look forward to more analysis Lee. I do enjoy reading saber philosophy even though I do not always agree with it.

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Unfortunately, a statistic like that would require the ability to evaluate and quantify each individual thought that goes through a pitcher's head during that situation.....and I don't think we have the technology to conduct that experiment at this time.

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Yes. There's an online version called www.motownsports.com! :cool:

:laugh::laugh:

So maybe we should have online lessons in how to do it...cuz it seems very complicated for a math idiot like myself.

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As a traditionalist - purist - whatever I would like to know if this stat exists. Extra base hits with a stolen base threat on the bases as a result of the pitcher making a bad pitch because he was worried about the runner instead of the hitter. I am not kidding either, does something like that exist. If it doesn't it should. It would be very telling in my mind about the value of a Podsednik or Crawford or even Reyes.

I look forward to more analysis Lee. I do enjoy reading saber philosophy even though I do not always agree with it.

Your question could not be completely answered by stats but somebody could start by looking at results for batters with Podsednik (or some other runner) on base and Podsednik not on base. Do hitters have different results in those two situations? It would be a lot of work but the data exists to look at all sorts of similar situations. This would not answer your specific question about "hitters hitting bad pitches" but it would give you some clue as to whether hitters hit better or worse with Podsednik on base. If you did find out that batters hit better with Podsednik on base, the next question would be why? That's a question that would require input from the players playing the game.

Another question might be, how many hits are lost because the first baseman is no longer holding the runner on firstbase after Podsednik has stolen secondbase?

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This sabre stuff interests me but I have always sucked at math. :( Is there a "sabremetrics for dummies" book available?

I'll try to do some of that at some point. There is an essay online that I like which I'll link below. It explains what sabermetrics is about without getting deeply into numbers and formulas.

link

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Tiger337....

Great work. But the White Sox became a different team around the All-Star break. That is when Podsednick went down, Frank Thomas came and hit a bunch of homers quickly, and in general the White Sox couldn't manufacture runs....

My prediction is the White Sox would be in the middle of the pack for the home runs/total runs ratio.

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Pre All Star game

0.309 Texas Rangers

0.281 Baltimore Orioles

0.277 Chicago Cubs

0.259 Arizona Diamondbacks

0.258 Cincinnati Reds

0.257 Chicago White Sox

0.256 Cleveland Indians

0.247 Milwaukee Brewers

0.236 New York Yankees

0.234 Atlanta Braves

Post All-Star Game

0.295 Arizona Diamondbacks

0.290 Texas Rangers

0.287 Chicago White Sox

0.285 Cincinnati Reds

0.284 New York Yankees

0.275 Chicago Cubs

0.271 Detroit Tigers

0.268 Cleveland Indians

0.260 New York Mets

0.246 Atlanta Braves

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So the White Sox were pretty much not small ballers all season, according to this metric. But they did significantly jump in ratio from the 1st half, to the 2nd half.

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They are also third in the league in SB. Their success rate is only marginal (67%) though and is 9th in the league.

Podsednick was 50/59 (84.7%) to start the season. He finished the season 9/23 (39.1%). That will skew the numbers as well.

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I compared solo home runs between the White Sox, Red Sox and Texas....

White Sox 119/200 were solos (59.5%)

Rangers 142/260 were solos (54.6%)

Red Sox 104/199 were solos (52.3%)

This result is kind of expected, since Boston had a .357 OBP, Texas had a .329 OBP compared to Chicago's .322 OBP. Also Chicago had 0 home run Podsednick leading off, while Texas had 29 home run Delluci leading off (the 1st inning).

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