Category Archives: Statistics

Almost There

Fangraphs’ leaderboard for Wins Above Replacement this season as of this morning — basically a list of the most valuable position players in baseball. Reyes is a few games away from catching Jose Bautista for the major league lead. Bautista has better offensive numbers, but Reyes has done more fielding work as a shortstop.

Also, the Mets have played 80 games this season and Reyes already has 119 hits, 15 triples, and 65 runs scored. He’s on pace for 241 hits, 30 triples, and 132 runs scored this season.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mets, Statistics, Words

#37 – Bret Saberhagen: Bleach Party

Opening Day 2011 will be the 50th Opening Day in Mets history. To honor that, around here we’ll be counting down the top 50 Mets in team history, one every weekday from now until we’ve done ‘em all. Today, #37, Bret Saberhagen: Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Mets, Statistics, Words

#46 – Bernard Gilkey: The Best Outfielder Ever?

Opening Day 2011 will be the 50th Opening Day in Mets history. To honor that, around here we’ll be counting down the top 50 Mets in team history, one every weekday from now until we’ve done ‘em all. Today, #46, Bernard Gilkey: Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Mets, Statistics, Words

#48 – Steve Trachsel: The Human Rain Delay

Opening Day 2011 will be the 50th Opening Day in Mets history. To honor that, around here we’ll be counting down the top 50 Mets in team history, one every weekday from now until we’ve done ‘em all. Today, #48, Steve Trachsel: Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Mets, Statistics, Words

Mets Leaders in Runs Created

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Runs Created is a statistic invented by Bill James that estimates how many runs a player contributed to his team on offense (that is, how many runs he created with his bat). The basic formula is:

Hits plus Walks
times Total Bases
divided by At Bats plus Walks

Or times on base, multiplied by power, divided by opportunities. Other writers have created more accurate versions of Runs Created since James, but this thirty year old formula is 95% accurate for predicting a team’s runs scored. If you apply the formula to a player, you can estimate how many runs he created for his team just using his hits, walks, total bases, and at bats.

David Wright passed Darryl Stawberry in 2010 as the Mets’ franchise leader in runs created. The top ten Mets in runs created, all time (the top three are easily guessed):

Rk Player RC From To G PA R RBI BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 David Wright 763 2004 2010 1004 4335 639 664 .305 .383 .516 .899 *5/D
2 Darryl Strawberry 759 1983 1990 1109 4549 662 733 .263 .359 .520 .878 *9/87
3 Mike Piazza 675 1998 2005 972 3941 532 655 .296 .373 .542 .915 *2/3D
4 Edgardo Alfonzo 671 1995 2002 1086 4449 614 538 .292 .367 .445 .812 45/6D
5 Howard Johnson 663 1985 1993 1154 4591 627 629 .251 .341 .459 .801 *56/897
6 Ed Kranepool 638 1962 1979 1853 5997 536 614 .261 .316 .377 .693 *379/8
7 Jose Reyes 598 2003 2010 924 4254 634 379 .286 .335 .434 .769 *6/4
8 Cleon Jones 586 1963 1975 1201 4683 563 521 .281 .340 .406 .746 *789/3
9 Keith Hernandez 546 1983 1989 880 3684 455 468 .297 .387 .429 .816 *3
10 Carlos Beltran 539 2005 2010 741 3221 490 493 .279 .366 .499 .864 *8/D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/27/2010.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mets, Statistics, Words

Mets All Time Adjusted ERA+ Leaders

Adjusted ERA+, as seen on Baseball-Reference, is earned run average, adjusted for the ballpark, compared to the league average. It is scaled like an IQ score — over 100 is better than average, 100 is exactly average, and under 100 is below average. A pitcher with an ERA of 4.00, pitching in a ballpark that favors neither hitters nor pitchers, in a league where the average ERA is 4.00, will have an ERA+ of 100. He is the definition of average. If his ERA was better, say 3.50, his ERA+ would be above 100; if his ERA was worse, say 4.50, his ERA+ would be below the average of 100. BUT, if our mystery pitcher had an ERA of 4.00 and was pitching his home games in Coors Field, his ERA+ would be better than 100, to reflect of the difficultly of pitching in Denver. Verse-vicea for someone pitching in Dodgers Stadium.

ERA+ is particularly useful for comparing pitchers across time periods. For example, in 1968, when run scoring was dramatically low, the National League average ERA was 2.99. That season, Tom Seaver posted a 2.20 ERA, good for an ERA+ of 137. In 2008, Johan Santana pitched to a 2.53 ERA in a league where the average ERA was 4.29. This gave Santana an ERA+ of 166. Tom Seaver’s ERA was better than Johan Santana’s (2.20 to 2.53), but Santana’s adjusted ERA+ was better (166 to 137) because he pitched in a league that scored 43% more runs (4.29 to 2.99). This meant that, relative to each one’s league, Johan Santana was better at preventing runs than Tom Seaver was forty years earlier. ERA+ is built to reflect things like that.

These are the Mets all time ERA+ leaders, minimum of 500 innings pitched:

Rk Player ERA+ IP G GS W L SV ERA
1 Johan Santana 143 600.0 88 88 40 25 0 2.85
2 Tom Seaver 136 3045.2 401 395 198 124 1 2.57
3 Jesse Orosco 133 595.2 372 4 47 47 107 2.73
4 John Franco 132 702.2 695 0 48 56 276 3.10
5 Bret Saberhagen 127 524.1 76 74 29 21 0 3.16
6 Al Leiter 124 1360.0 213 213 95 67 0 3.42
7 Rick Reed 117 888.2 140 138 59 36 0 3.66
8 Dwight Gooden 116 2169.2 305 303 157 85 1 3.10
9 Jon Matlack 115 1448.0 203 199 82 81 0 3.03
10 Tug McGraw 114 792.2 361 36 47 55 86 3.17
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/13/2010.

Santana has a lead on Seaver for the moment, but Santana’s ERA+ will presumably drop as his performance declines with age. By the time Santana’s Mets career is done, Seaver will probably have regained his position on top of this list. But until then, there is an argument to be made that, inning for inning, Johan Santana is the most effective pitcher to put on a Mets uniform.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mets, Statistics, Words

Pirates Bad at Defense, Piracy

For no reason at all: Pitchers with the highest batting averages against on balls in play — that is, batting average against, minus home runs and strikeouts — over the past five years (minimum 600 IP):

Rk Player BAbip IP G GS W L ERA ERA+
1 Zach Duke .330 879.2 146 145 37 68 4.80 88
2 Paul Maholm .321 940.0 153 153 44 58 4.58 93
3 Ian Snell .321 749.2 134 130 37 50 4.74 91
4 Kevin Millwood .320 945.2 156 156 52 62 4.67 96
5 Andy Pettitte .320 957.1 158 155 68 47 4.11 107
6 Doug Davis .318 783.2 135 135 40 49 4.56 101
7 Aaron Harang .318 924.1 148 144 50 55 4.23 106
8 Livan Hernandez .318 995.2 162 162 56 59 4.94 88
9 Kyle Lohse .317 729.0 142 124 39 46 4.86 89
10 Carlos Silva .317 679.0 126 119 39 53 5.37 81
11 Jeff Suppan .316 837.1 157 142 44 49 4.76 89
12 Kyle Davies .314 619.0 117 117 35 50 5.57 78
13 Mike Pelfrey .314 683.0 116 113 43 41 4.31 96
14 Brad Penny .312 720.2 125 122 52 35 4.26 104
15 Nate Robertson .312 706.0 143 114 37 48 5.09 89
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/10/2010.

Just four of the fifteen pitchers have an ERA+ better than 100.

As is sometimes misstated, a lot of a pitcher’s batting average on balls in play is luck and defense, but some is his own skill. Johan Santana’s batting averages against on balls in play — .278 BAbip for his career — are routinely lower than his team’s defense would imply. Mike Pelfrey’s BAbip are routinely higher (.314 career), and thus he is #13 on this list. There’s A LOT of randomness at work, but it’s not ENTIRELY randomness. Johan Santana is actually better at preventing hits on balls in play than Mike Pelfrey. You can see that the list above is populated with the sort of pitchers you might imagine get hit pretty hard, and I don’t think that’s just a function of chance.

That said, as this chart shows, a lot of BAbip is a pitcher’s defensive help. Good defenses will turn more balls into outs than bad defenses, and bad defenses will turn more outs into hits than good ones. The Pirates have been a bad defensive club for five years. The top three pitchers on that list have spent a lot of time pitching for those Pirates. This is probably not a coincidence.

2 Comments

Filed under Statistics, Words

Baseball Economics Are Confusing

Phil Birnbaum of Sabermetric Research has a lengthy post about the relative value of free agents. There’s a lot of economics involved, but it’s worth the (attempted) read. Econ 101 might be a prereq:

In mechanics, and baseball players, and real life, when one party values something higher than the next party, that does NOT mean they pay more for it. It means they buy a higher quantity. If I love Taco Bell and you only like it, it doesn’t mean I wind up paying $3 for a taco while you pay $1. It means that we both pay $1, but I wind up going more often.

Similarly, the bigger garage doesn’t pay more for mechanics – it just hires more of them. And the New York Yankees don’t pay more for free agents – they just sign more of them.

Birnbaum is arguing against JC Bradbury‘s model for valuing free agents. The quoted part above doesn’t have much to do with that; I just used it because it wasn’t over my head. I’ll be curious to see what Bradbury has to say in response.

But until then, sabermagician Tom Tango throws his own two cents in:

Maybe the better model is this: teams are given a budget and will spend to that budget.  There’s a fixed level of wins available.  Wins are paid at a constant level overall, with a premium for free agents and a discount for arb, and virtually flat for pre-arb players.  Call it “the sports model”.

Yeah, that probably sounds right.

Leave a comment

Filed under Links, Statistics

About That UZR Stuff

Well, [single season UZR] doesn’t, unfortunately, represent hat a player did, as I explained above. In order to estimate that, you still have to do some regression. How much, I have no idea. I really don’t.

So, can we just add up a player’s offensive RAR or WAR and his defensive UZR (or DRS) Nope. That is adding apples and oranges. Does everyone, including [Fangraphs], do it? Yup. Are they doing it wrong? Absolutely.

- MGL, The Book Blog

I think what MGL is saying here is this: The fielding numbers we all love so much, like Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved, might and probably do overestimate (or underestimate) a player’s contributions with his glove in single season.

Or, what he’s saying is just this: Fielding is hard to measure. Take it with a grain of salt.

For example, Angel Pagan registered plus-15.1 runs saved by UZR this season. But, as said above, it is more likely that Pagan actually saved something closer to 10 or 7.5 runs, and UZR failed to measured his fielding correctly because is not a perfect system. In an imperfect system, everyone and everything is more likely than not to be closer to the average than initially measured — If you’re trying to guess people’s height by looking, and you decide one man is seven and a half feet tall, is it more likely that you underestimated or overestimated his height? Same idea here.

It works the other way, too. David Wright, on the other hand, registered minus-10.6 runs at third base — it is more likely that he was actually 7 runs or 5 runs below average than the full 10.

But when you go on Fangraphs and look at their Wins Above Replacement numbers, Pagan is given full credit for 15.1 runs, and Wright has all 10.6 runs subtracted. The 25 run gap in fielding between the two is probably smaller than it appears, shrinking the 8 run gap between the two in WAR. MGL says there is a better way of doing this — we just don’t know what it is right now. So just, take it with a grain of salt and all that for now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Links, Mets, Statistics

The Decade in Fielding

Jeremy Greenhouse at Baseball Analysts has the fielding leaders from the previous decade. He is using a really easy system, simply the percentage of balls in play turned into outs by each player. For example, shortstops are usually responsible for 12% of a team’s outs — if your shortstop is making more plays than 12%, he’s probably a good fielder. Probably. This list isn’t adjusted for anything (park, pitcher handedness) so it’s not accurate, but still cool to see.

Carlos Beltran makes the center field leaderboard, while Paul Lo Duca makes the catcher leaderboard. Jay Payton makes the left field board, while Roberto Alomar makes the second base loserboard. Also, Greg Maddux is ridiculous at fielding baseballs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Links, Statistics