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HeyAbbott

Pythagoras gets Strange ......

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With us being 30 games into the season, a trend is starting to develop. I calcuate the pythageron win percentage at the end of every game and compare it against the actual percentage. Here is where I have us at:

Runs Scored 161

Runs Allowed 136

Actual Record 19-11

Pyth. Record 17-13

Games over plus 2

Projected Runs Scored 869

Proj. Runs Allowed 734

Proj W-L 93-69

Adj W-L 95-67

Figuring in the wins above expected, and assuming that we produce the projected pyhagoren wins here on out, we will end up with a record identical to last year.

What is very strange is the fact that we are 2 wins above projection. If a team has a tendency to beat up on very poor teams and perform as expected everywhere else, its win total will be less that a pythageron projection.

We are oppostie end of the projection. There seems to be a tendency to score just enough runs against strong teams to win close games otherwise lost, and to put away weaker teams and play well enough to hold on.

Anyway, its early in the season, but, maybe having a number of ways to win (being strong, defensively, offensively, and pitching) cause this to happen.

I do think though, that the people that said at the beginning of the season that picthing will not be as strong as last year will be correct this year, but the improved offensive strength will offset the pitching decline.

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Interesting stuff Abbot. I think it is probably a bit too early to draw too many conclusions from the pythagorean stats, but it is interesting that we have outperformed our pythagorean projection, considering the way the season has gone so far. Our bullpen has blown leads and we have lost some close games which would lead me to believe that we would be underperforming against our pythagorean record. I don't think this team has really hit its stride until this week and we are still in a decent position.

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I love how we're on pace to score 869 runs with all the troubles we've had with almost half of the lineup this year. Inge, Monroe, Casey, Sheff, all playing well below expected. Sheff has turned the corner and Inge and Monroe appear to slowly be turning, but still...

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Dang, very surprised on the run-scoring pace, although yesterday's game did up that quite a bit. Could this team score 900 runs this year?

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As of this morning, we are pretty solidly third in the league in Runs per Game (5.37), trailing only the Yankees (6.00) and Indians (5.46). There's a fair amount of distance between us and the Red Sox (5.00), who are fourth, and of course between us and the AL average (4.66).

The total R/G list:

TEAM	 R/G 
NYA 6.00
CLE 5.46
[B][COLOR="DarkRed"]DET 5.37 [/COLOR][/B]
BOS 5.00
TOR 4.87
TEX 4.68
TBA 4.68
SEA 4.65
MIN 4.39
BAL 4.39
LAA 4.19
CHA 3.93
KCA 3.88
OAK 3.87
[I]AL 4.66 [/I]

When you look at basic batting lines, we are 5th in average, 4th in on base, and 2nd in slugging -- 5th overall in OPS. This table ranked by OPS:

TEAM	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS
NYA .281 .361 .434 .795
BOS .268 .357 .424 .780
TOR .265 .334 .439 .773
CLE .257 .353 .417 .770
[B][COLOR="DarkRed"]DET .266 .334 .434 .768[/COLOR][/B]
TBA .258 .319 .420 .739
BAL .261 .328 .396 .724
MIN .273 .334 .387 .721
SEA .259 .310 .409 .719
TEX .241 .307 .412 .719
KCA .250 .326 .388 .714
LAA .268 .324 .386 .710
CHA .222 .305 .373 .678
OAK .235 .315 .354 .669
[I]AL .257 .329 .405 .734[/I]

So it appears that our run-scoring seems to be "overachieving" against our OPS. Why?

The most obvious postulation I could come up with to account for this is that a higher percent of our runners must be scoring than normal. So I reviewed ours runs scored versus the total runners we've gotten on base via hit, walk, HBP, error and interference. This table rank by % of total runners scored:

TEAM	 R/G 	OnB	R	% Scored
NYA 6.00 439 174 39.6%
TEX 4.68 366 145 39.6%
[B][COLOR="DarkRed"]DET 5.37 408 161 39.5%[/COLOR][/B]
SEA 4.65 311 121 38.9%
CLE 5.46 409 153 37.4%
TBA 4.68 389 145 37.3%
TOR 4.87 415 151 36.4%
BOS 5.00 425 150 35.3%
MIN 4.39 400 136 34.0%
BAL 4.39 402 136 33.8%
LAA 4.19 401 134 33.4%
CHA 3.93 332 110 33.1%
OAK 3.87 376 116 30.9%
KCA 3.88 409 124 30.3%
[I]AL 4.66 5,482 1,956 35.7%[/I]
Correl: 0.689

Now this makes sense. The Tigers are just a hair from leading the league in total percent of their runners scoring. They've been pretty effective at having the runners they get on base to come around to score. I've included the correlation between % of runners scoring and total runs, and 0.689 is a pretty positive correlation.

However, there is one way I think this can be tweaked. The on base and runs numbers include home runs, an event in which 100% of runners score. So total runners scoring out of total runners on base is not the best measure of a team's effectiveness in having their runners score. So I will remove home runs from the equation, for both total runners and homers, and see how that comes out:

TEAM	 R/G 	OnB-HR	R-HR	% Scored
NYA 6.00 405 140 34.6%
[B][COLOR="DarkRed"]DET 5.37 376 129 34.3%[/COLOR][/B]
SEA 4.65 283 93 32.9%
TEX 4.68 328 107 32.6%
CLE 5.46 376 120 31.9%
MIN 4.39 384 120 31.3%
TOR 4.87 381 117 30.7%
TBA 4.68 351 107 30.5%
BOS 5.00 395 120 30.4%
LAA 4.19 381 114 29.9%
BAL 4.39 378 112 29.6%
OAK 3.87 353 93 26.3%
KCA 3.88 384 99 25.8%
CHA 3.93 299 77 25.8%
[I]AL 4.66 5,074 1,548 30.5%[/I]
Correl: 0.784

The rankings look close to the same, but the correlation here is stronger -- 0.784 on this table, versus 0.689 on the prior table. This appears to indicate that % of runs scored outside of home runs is a better predictor of runs/game than % of runs scored including home runs. This might help explain why the Tigers are 5th in OPS but 3rd in R/G, while Boston is 2nd in OPS but 4th in R/G.

Of course, in the final analysis the best predictors of how a team will score runs is a combination of getting on base and hitting for power (OPS and runs scored correlates to a degree of 0.918). But this kind of analysis might be able to help us understand how teams underperform or overperform their OPS on the margins.

Maybe someone who's better at numbers than I am can take this one home for us.

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Good stuff here, guys. A couple of the teams ranking caught my eye: I was surprised to see Seattle so high on most of the lists, and really glad to see the CWSux as scoring bottom-feeders.

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Perhaps a key factor is the reduced number of strikeouts, combined with increased walks. If the walks often occur in the same inning, you are advancing runners, which should increase the probability of scoring at least one of those runners.

With reduced K's, you are putting more balls into play, and that should increase your number of run-scoring plays, in the absence of a base hit.

Wondering what the Tigers' percentage of baserunners scored was last year?

Another factor to consider: After a slow start, Sheffield is really heating up, and I would think that stringing several productive hitters in a row (Polanco, Sheff, Maggs) would provide some sort of "snowball effect", in terms of advancing, placing, and scoring baserunners?

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Good stuff here, guys. A couple of the teams ranking caught my eye: I was surprised to see Seattle so high on most of the lists, and really glad to see the CWSux as scoring bottom-feeders.

Seattle being league average at R/G, despite being below average in OPS, might be explained by the counterbalance of their being above average in % runs scored.

I'm not saying, by the way, that this is the explanation. It's one possible explanation out of a few possible explanation, one of which is plain dumb luck.

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Perhaps a key factor is the reduced number of strikeouts, combined with increased walks. If the walks often occur in the same inning, you are advancing runners, which should increase the probability of scoring at least one of those runners.

With reduced K's, you are putting more balls into play, and that should increase your number of run-scoring plays, in the absence of a base hit.

Wondering what the Tigers' percentage of baserunners scored was last year?

Another factor to consider: After a slow start, Sheffield is really heating up, and I would think that stringing several productive hitters in a row (Polanco, Sheff, Maggs) would provide some sort of "snowball effect", in terms of advancing, placing, and scoring baserunners?

We were also among the league's best in 2006:

TEAM	OB-HR	R-HR	% Sc
CLE 2040 674 33.0%
NYA 2183 720 33.0%
[B][COLOR="DarkRed"]DET 1895 619 32.7%[/COLOR][/B]
TEX 2005 652 32.5%
CHA 1976 632 32.0%
MIN 2061 658 31.9%
KCA 1989 633 31.8%
ANA 1958 607 31.0%
SEA 1912 584 30.5%
TOR 2014 610 30.3%
BAL 2005 604 30.1%
BOS 2118 628 29.7%
OAK 2013 596 29.6%
TBA 1741 499 28.7%
[I]AL 27910 8716 31.2%[/I]

Off the bat, I am noticing a wider dispersion among the various teams this year, but that's likely because it is early yet. That will probably smooth out by October.

My best guess as to why we score more of our runners than most teams is that we have among the best slugging teams in the league, and this is borne out by the correlation between SLG and % runners scored outside of home runs this year (0.768). In other words: get 'em on, slug 'em home. Makes sense, huh?

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My best guess as to why we score more of our runners than most teams is that we have among the best slugging teams in the league, and this is borne out by the correlation between SLG and % runners scored outside of home runs this year (0.768). In other words: get 'em on, slug 'em home. Makes sense, huh?
That's probably the best answer right there. Farther ya hit it, the longer you get to run home!

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Plate patience is key. Right now the Tigers are striking out too much, especially at the top of the order. Hence the reason for their OBP being middle of the pack at best. Now they are doing a little better being patient, but some guys are just swinging at bad pitches out of the strike zone. Monroe appears to be very culpable to this.

Their batting average is going to improve and has improved. I wouldn't worry too much about batting average or slugging. They're going to get that. They just really need better patience, and all else will fall into place.

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I'm stunned at the offensive figures. Without the data I'd have said they were near the bottom.

JJ, great avatar. I just now got it. I forgot what team you like.

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The numbers are very surprising. With the number of players not performing to their norms, I think that there is a great deal of upside in the run scoring potential of this team. Maybe 900 runs is possible. The pleasent surprise is that unearned runs per game is .367 ur/g. League average should be .79. Playoff teams for the last 25 years will have a number around .4 to .45. Atlanta, when it was winning playoff spots with ease fell to .20 runs per game. Bottom line, the defense is marginally better then last year, but we will need another 20 games or so before we know if there is a real improvement.

Bottom line ---- some of these numbers are unbelievable given that the play on the field hasn't seem to hit stride yet.

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If you were to ask Steve Phillips or Joe Morgan how the tiger offens was doing and they didn't have these figures (not that they'd use them anyway) what would they say?

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Great work Chas. I was looking at some of these numbers a few days ago and the Tigers have moved up a bit since then. We should also keep in mind that offense is a bit down so far this year. Last year, the average team scored 5 runs per game. This year, the average is 4.7 so far. That's part of the reason why the Tigers rank so well.

The biggest difference in their offense between this year and last year so far is walks. Last year, they were 13th in the league. When I checked a couple of days ago they were 6th.

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If you were to ask Steve Phillips or Joe Morgan how the tiger offens was doing and they didn't have these figures (not that they'd use them anyway) what would they say?

They are being more aggressive, moving runners over and taking the extra base. They are doing the little things.

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The rankings look close to the same, but the correlation here is stronger -- 0.784 on this table, versus 0.689 on the prior table. This appears to indicate that % of runs scored outside of home runs is a better predictor of runs/game than % of runs scored including home runs. This might help explain why the Tigers are 5th in OPS but 3rd in R/G, while Boston is 2nd in OPS but 4th in R/G.

Intuitviely, one might postulate that the percentage of runs scored outside of home runs, would be higher when a lower standard deviation of teams runs per game average happens. In other words, the pythageron equation tends to break down when a team scores runs in bunches (i.e, which would produce a higher standard deviation),as opposed to a more consistent scoring pattern with less variation in the number of runs per game.

If this is true there would be a high correlation between a low standard deviation of r/g to a high percentage of runs scored outside home runs.

Just a thought. I have the standard deviation r/g for the Tgiers. I do not have it for the AL or all of MLB.

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They are being more aggressive, moving runners over and taking the extra base. They are doing the little things.

Sean Casey and Neifi Perez have brought great leadership skills to the team. The kids look up to them and pick theirs brains on offense every chance they get. Look, there are Brandon Inge and Craig Monroe talking with them now.

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"Durbin and Maroth have really stepped up. You have to give Dombrowski credit. When Rogers went down he didn't panic, instead he utilized that great system. The Tigers are 10-2 in their games. Bonderman and Verlander, the big studs from last year have struggled. They've only won a few games between them. But this is what great teams do. They get help from those you least expect it. Sean Casey's been Sean Casey. He got a big hit last Tuesday. Sheff's average is a little lower than you'd like to see but he'll come around."

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"Durbin and Maroth have really stepped up. You have to give Dombrowski credit. When Rogers went down he didn't panic, instead he utilized that great system. The Tigers are 10-2 in their games. Bonderman and Verlander, the big studs from last year have struggled. They've only won a few games between them. But this is what great teams do. They get help from those you least expect it. Sean Casey's been Sean Casey. He got a big hit last Tuesday. Sheff's average is a little lower than you'd like to see but he'll come around."

Who are you quoting?

On a related note, most of you know about this site, but I find it to be more indicative of what is likely to happen than pythagorean record:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/ps_oddspec.php

The projection of 95 wins is a optimistic projection, and certainly possible, but it will be hard to do.

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Good job, chasf.

I probably won't get the chance to figure it out myself until later, but what's our average runs allowed per game this year? And where do we rank? And how do we compare to last year? It seems to me that we aren't quite what we were last year in this regard, but still doing okay.

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Who are you quoting?
Most of posts #16 through #21 is a running joke about stupid stuff that Steve Phillips might say. Hillarious, because I could hear Phillips saying some of this!

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Most of posts #16 through #21 is a running joke about stupid stuff that Steve Phillips might say. Hillarious, because I could hear Phillips saying some of this!

Ok, good. Because some of that stuff sounded really stupid.

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