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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Theo Epstein, the President of the Cubs, and Brian Cashman, the GM of the Yankees, concluded a trade where the Yankees shipped Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in exchange for Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford. Let’s look at this trade through the eyes of these two men.

Theo Epstein was hired in 2011 as the President of the Cubs. His goal was to bring an end to 100+ years of Cubs’ misery by repeating what he did for the Red Sox, leading them to WS Championships in 2004 and again in 2007. The combination of Hector Rondon as the Cubs closer and Pedro Strop as their setup man ranked them seventh in the NL with a 3.73 ERA contributing to the Cubs' 12-15 record in one-run games. In acquiring Chapman, the Cubs now have a pitcher who broke the record in velocity, throwing several pitches at 105 mph. He fanned 44 batters and walked only eight in 31 1/3 innings with New York while converting 20 of 21 save chances. Yes, there is a risk in giving up your number one prospect Torres, but with Chapman as its closer, Epstein can see Chapman getting the last out in a final WS game breaking the 108 year Cubs WS drought. Epstein did what I expected Washington to do. That is, do whatever it takes to obtain Chapman. I said Washington’s Papelbon was finished as a closer and yesterday Papelbon blew a save against Cleveland not recording one out facing five straight hitters. In my April 3 blog, I predicted the Cubs would win the World Series. Theo’s addition of Chapman allows me to double-down on my preseason prediction.

What does this trade mean for the Yankees? In December, acquiring Chapman for a quartet of average minor leaguers was a no-brainer. Now, getting the Cubs number one prospect, a versatile major league pitcher, another good prospect and a throw-in minor leaguer was too good to pass up in July. The players they received from the Cubs were Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.Torres is a 19-year-old shortstop who was listed as the Cubs number one 2016 minor league prospect. Before the trade he was in high A-ball where he was batting .275 in 94 games with 9 HRs and 47 RBIs. Billy McKinney, a 21-year-old outfielder who bats and throws from the left side, was originally selected as the 24th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft by Oakland right out of high school. In 2015 he batted .340 in A-Ball and then was promoted to Double A, where his 2015 season ended with a hairline fracture. In 2016, he is currently batting .252 in Double A. In getting Adam Warren back, the Yankees got a veteran pitcher who for his 4-year stay (2012-2015) with the Yankees had an ERA of 3.39. He can be used as a spot starter or a long relief man. The Cubs got Warren in the deal that sent Castro to the Yankees. Now the Yankees have both coveted players. How sweet is that? As for Rashad Crawford he is a 22-year-old throw-in who is currently in A-Ball. Since Chapman will be a free agent in 2017,

the Yankees will have every opportunity to resign him for next year. Who knows he might again wear the pinstripes in 2017. What does this say about the Yankees for the rest of 2016? Cashman’s trade is a stroke of genius which does not wave the white flag for the 2016 Yankees. As of this writing the Yankees are only 4 games out of the second Wild Card with three teams ahead of them. At this point in the season their starters should be able to handle seven innings and they still have, in Betances and Miller, the best pair of pitchers to finish the game. Further, the addition of Warren gives them a dependable starter if needed. Both Epstein and Cashman should be commended on making this trade. Yes, the Cubs will break their 108 year WS drought; whereas, the Yankees are successfully getting younger while still staying competitive for the post-season.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Within the last two weeks ESPN and Tim Kurjian (top ESPN sportswriter) have both come out with their top 10 list of the all-time greatest baseball players. In the final chapter of my book “Sandlot Stats: Learning Statistics with Baseball,” I produced my own top 10 list of the greatest all-time hitters in baseball. The 3 lists appear below.

One major difference is my list excluded pitchers and judged players only on their ability to get on base, to hit with power and to produce runs for their team. The other 2 lists included pitchers and for hitters also looked at defense and running. My list also includes a point total for each player. Points were awarded to players based on the following accomplishments:

  1. Players were given points for ranking in the top ten for their careers for the statistics AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS (OBP + SLG), Runs Created [(#H+#BB)*TB / (#AB+#BB)] , HRA (#HR/#AB), #H, #HR.
  2. Bill James’s Black-Ink Test score was used. The Black-Ink Test awards 4 points for leading the league in home runs, runs-batted-in, and batting average. Three points are awarded for leading the league in runs scored, hits, and slugging percentage. Two points are awarded for leading the league in doubles, walks, and stolen bases. One point is awarded for leading the league in games, at-bats, and triples.
  3. Bill James’s Gray-Ink Test score was used. This test awards the same points as the Black-Ink Test except points are awarded if the player finished in the top 10 in each of the statistics.Players who finished in the top ten in either test got 5 points.
  4. Special consideration was given to a player who achieved either a Triple Crown Award or a Career Triple Crown Award, who batted .380 or above for a season, who had a consecutive hitting streak of at least 40 games, who finished his career with at least 3000 hits, hit at least 50 home runs in a season, or had at least 500 career home runs.
  5. Players were given credit for winning an MVP Award.

If you are interested in how each player got their points, please read Chapter 18 in my book.

So how do these three lists compare? To no one’s surprise the BABE is number one on all 3 lists. My list has Ted second while the other 2 lists put Willie second. I can understand this since if you combine hitting with fielding and running there is a good argument that Willie was better all-around than Ted. But if you just look at hitting there can be no argument that Ted is number two. The only active player on any of the 3 lists is Albert Pujois who is on my list. Mantle appears on the other 2 lists but ranked 13th on my list with a total of 5 points. I object to the exclusion of Lou Gehrig from the top 10 ESPN list. Another objection is the exclusion of Rogers Hornsby from the other two lists. From 1921 to 1925 Hornsby had a cumulative batting average over .400. Note that even though the other two lists included pitchers only one pitcher made it on each of their lists. 

Dr Stan's Top 10 Hitters

ESPN Top Ten Baseball Players
Please comment on what players you would add.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The Yankees and Mets both had important weekend series before the All-Star Game. What happened between the Yankees and Indians and the Mets and Nationals will affect the baseball decisions going forward for the Mets and Yankees. The series between the front-running Nationals and the Mets revealed weaknesses for both teams. The Mets came into the series with momentum after taking care of business winning 7 out of 8 against the Cubs and Marlins. Their four scheduled pitchers were Colon, Verette (replacing Harvey), Syndergaard, and Matz. I could see the Mets winning three of four and at worse splitting the four games. Of course, it turned out that the Nationals won three out of four. Some of the points that I observed in Sunday’s finale were Papelbon as a closer for the Nationals needs to be replaced. Yes, he picked up the ninth inning save but the Mets hit the ball hard and suffered from the atom ball. Papelbon’s velocity is down to about 91 and he is very hittable. What Washington needs is the Yankees Chapman. Yes, Washington is a now team and should be willing to part with two very high prospects to get Chapman. As for the Yankees they have made it clear that for the right price Chapman could be gotten. The Yankees need top prospects as part of their rebuilding for the future. This trade makes all the sense in the world for both teams. The statement you never have enough starting pitchers applies to the Mets. With Harvey out and Wheeler questionable to return and Syndergaard’s tired arm, they need to get another starter. The other thing that stood out about the game was in the ninth inning with runners on base and two outs Terry Collins decided to let De Aza bat and put Loney in the on deck circle to bat for the next batter. What is Collins thinking? Da Aza is batting less than .180. Loney should have taken his bat back to the dugout because he had no chance of ever using it. Yes, De Aza struck out to end the game.

Now for the Yankee versus Indians series. The Yankees limped into their series against the division-leading Indians. Boy what a sloppy baseball game on Sunday. Two particular events come to mind. The Cleveland excellent shortstop Lindor with the infield in and the bases loaded had a ball hit right at him. He fielded the ball cleanly and then did not know what to do with the ball. In the end he threw the ball wildly to second base causing two runs to score leading to a Yankee big rally. There should be no thinking because with the infield in just throw the ball to the catcher. The second Little League screw-up was made by the Yankees number one pitcher Tanaka. With one out the ball was hit right back to him. Forgetting there was only one out he threw the ball to first instead of starting a double play. Language has nothing to do with the pitcher not knowing how many outs there are.

The Yankees are now a .500 team at 44-44. I think GM Cashman was hoping for an Indians sweep so he could become a seller. Winning 3 out of 4 keeps the Yankees thinking playoffs, even though they are currently competing with at least seven teams for the second wild card spot. The Yankees are clearly just a .500 club and in my opinion have very little chance of making the playoffs. A further Yankee headwind is their first 10 games in the second half are against the very good Orioles, Red Sox and Giants. The Cubs are another team that has shown interest in Chapman. Whether it’s the Nationals or the Cubs I encourage Cashman to trade Chapman. Cashman can always resign Chapman as a free agent next year. At 40 years old Beltran is having a season like he had 10 years ago and could also fetch a top prospect.  

The Mets manager Terry Collins was out-managed by the Nationals Dusty Baker. The Yankee manager Joe Girardi used his bullpen effectively to win a series against a better Indians team.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

My previous blog looked at the performances of the American League Teams at the midpoint of the 2016 season. I now turn to looking at the National League Teams. As I did with the Al Teams, I will compare the NL Teams actual winning percentages to their expected winning percentages based on all games played as of the end of July 2. To obtain their expected winning percentages I use my Sabermetrics Formula, called The Linear Formula for Baseball, which is based on their run differential (subtracting their runs allowed from their runs scored) on all games played so far. My Formula is:

Expected Winning Percentage = 0.00112*(Runs Scored – Runs Allowed) + 0.50.

For example, the Mets expected winning percentage based on their first 80 games is 0.515 = 0.00112*(294-280) + 0.50. Their actual winning percentage based on their first 80 games is 0.538. This shows a slight over performance by the Mets probably due to their great five starting pitchers and solid closer. 

Below is my recap of the comparison of Actual PCT to Predicted PCT and Actual Standings to Predicted Standings for all 15 National League Teams.

Midseason 2016 NL

What does the comparison between the Actual and Predicted PCT show for each team? Since a team’s predicted PCT is based solely on the difference between a team’s runs scored and runs allowed, we can see which teams underperformed and which teams over performed in the first half. Over performing is when a team’s Predicted PCT is less than their Actual PCT, that is, they won more games than their run differential indicated. Underperforming is when a team’s Predicted PCT is more than their Actual PCT, that is, they won less games than their run differential indicated. Philadelphia and San Francisco were the teams that most over performed and Chicago and St. Louis most underperformed.

Unlike the comparison between the actual and predicted standings for the American League, both Standings in the NL are identical except for a tie between Atlanta and Philadelphia. In fact, I expect Atlanta to pass Philadelphia for fourth place. The fact that the Predicted Standings confirm the Actual Standings in the NL influences my prediction as to the five National League Teams that will be in the 2016 playoffs.

In the NL East, Washington should win the Division. Because of their great heat-throwing young starters the Mets should hold off the Marlins for second place. In the NL Central, I believe St Louis will make a run at Chicago but fall short. In the NL West, I see the Giants falling off but if Kershaw is lost for a long period of time the Giants should comfortably win the West.

Washington, Chicago and San Francisco will be the Division Winners. My two NL Wild Cards will be New York and St. Louis.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

With the baseball season entering the midpoint of its long 162-game schedule, each team has played approximately half its scheduled games. This is the time when I compare their actual winning percentages to their expected winning percentages based on all games played as of the end of July 2. To obtain their expected winning percentages I use my Sabermetrics Formula, called The Linear Formula for Baseball, which is based on their run differential (subtracting their runs allowed from their runs scored) on all games played so far. My Formula is:

Expected Winning Percentage = 0.00112*(Runs Scored – Runs Allowed) + 0.50.

For example, the Yankees expected winning percentage based on their first 80 games is  0.463 = 0.00112*(329-362) + 0.50. Their actual winning percentage based on their first 80 games is 0.480. This show a slight over performance by the Yankees probably due to the big three BMC in the back of their bullpen.

Below is my recap of the comparison of Actual PCT to Predicted PCT and Actual Standings to Predicted Standings for all 15 American League Teams.

Midseason 2016

What does the comparison between the Actual and Predicted PCT show for each team? Since a team’s predicted PCT is based solely on the difference between a team’s runs scored and runs allowed, we can see which teams underperformed and which teams over performed in the first half. Over performing is when a team’s Predicted PCT is less than their Actual PCT, that is, they won more games than their run differential indicated. Underperforming is when a team’s Predicted PCT is more than their Actual PCT, that is, they won less games than their run differential indicated. Texas was the team that most over performed and Minnesota most underperformed.

In the AL East, Baltimore and Boston swapped places based on their predicted PCT. Toronto, New York and Tampa stayed fixed. Based on these results I predict we will have a three-team race in the AL East and my nod goes to Boston because of their hitting and the fact they have the money to buy a top-line starting pitcher.

In the AL Central, the new City of Champions Cleveland will easily win the Central Division. I see Kansas City dropping to third place and Detroit moving up to second place in the final standings.In AL West, we will have a close three-team fight for the Divisional Championship between Texas, Houston and Seattle. The Predicted PCT shows that Texas vastly over performed and Seattle underperformed which accounted for the change in their predicted standings. Seattle jumped into first place and Texas dropped to second place while Houston dropped to third place. I will go out on a limb and predict that in the end even though Seattle is currently 9.5 games behind Texas they will win the Division and Texas will finish second.

From what I said above the five teams that will contend for the AL Pennant are the three Divisional Champions Boston, Cleveland and Seattle along with my two Wild-Card teams  Baltimore and Texas.

Yes, the City of Champions Cleveland Indians will win the AL Pennant.

The next blog will analyze the National League.


 

 

 
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