Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

More fun with stats…Part 1! 

I came across (on Hardball Times) the Gross Productive Average (GPA) stat, which I believe is a stat that Dodgers GM and ex-Billy Beane lieutenant John DePodesta developed out of his concern that the OPS index over-valued slugging percentage. The system developed by Beane & DePodesta in Oakland values OBP above all else because, as I am to understand it, the capacity to get on base and avoid making outs indefinitely prolongs a team’s offensive chances … simply put, if you can avoid making outs, you can make runs. DePodesta weighted the OBP a little less than twice that of slugging average to account for the need for power in the lineup. This is the formula I used in calculating GPA:

(1.8 * .OBP + .SLG ) / 4 = GPA

It should be correct. I ran the numbers (current as of May 27, 2004), and here is what I got for the Phils starting lineup, plus Chase Utley:

Thome: .358
Abreu: .335
Burrell: .319
Utley: .302
Bell: .274
Lieberthal: .238
Byrd: .229
Polanco: .215
Rollins: .211

That Thome leads the Phils in GPA isn’t a surprise at all given that Thome does so well in both OBP and slugging. He really is the complete player. Thome has a career ISO of .284; and a career GPA of .328 …

Surprising things I noticed: Burrell’s career ISO is higher than that of Abreu (.221 v. .210), but Abreu has a vastly superior GPA (.313 v. Burrell’s .278). Burrell is the focal point of the Phillies attack now, but the GPA formula points to Abreu as the more important player ...

The thing that caught me mildly by surprise was how badly Lieberthal was faring: I didn’t think that Byrd was doing particularly well, and to see Lieberthal just a few points ahead of one of the Phils lighter-hitting players caught me by surprise. I still thought that Lieberthal was doing a better job getting on base than that.

Rollins was the shocker though: I was skeptical at the beginning of the season when I read that he was working with Tony Gwynn to lower his K/BB ratio and make contact more often. In his career to date, Rollins has a GPA of .240: his OBP is a terrible .316, but his slugging average is a respectable (for a lead-off guy) .389 … The problem, people noted, is that Rollins career K/BB ratio is roughly 2-to-1. Rollins, the conventional wisdom went, had too many strikeouts to make a reliable lead-off man. In his first 44 games of the year, much to my amazement, Rollins has successfully dropped his strikeouts: 18 K’s / 15 BB’s: 1.2-to-1 ratio… (Marlon Byrd, much to my disappointment, continues to wif: his 2.1 to 1 ratio this season is roughly in line with his career 2.23 to 1 ratio) … it is just that Rollins isn’t walking a whole lot more (.341 walks a game in '04 v. .329 walks a game in his career). Those pitches he makes contact with aren’t dropping for hits either. It is a frustrating thing, about Jimmy Rollins, that he’s done what people asked of him: cut the strikeouts, and he still isn’t cutting it.

Oh, and I added up Bell’s career numbers: .142 ISO; .239 GPA. One wonders how much his current success is a fluke:

Check out the reserves:

Ledee: .359
Pratt: .287
Perez: .255
Glanville: .207

Jeez, Larry: if you are going to sub Byrd for anyone, make it Ledee, not Glanville. Make it Perez! Make it Pratt! Just don’t let Glanville near a bat!

Anyway, GPA is an interesting stat. I like the fact that it places such a high value on getting on base but still rewards players for power: with as many walks as Barry Bonds draws a season, he isn’t paid millions of dollars to see four pitches sail by him in the dirt. He’s paid to bash the ball 400+ feet.

The Phils, overall, have a GDP of .265 (as of May 27, 2004 … see newer numbers below …) What caught me a little by surprise was how consistent the Phils offense is:

Road: .265
Home: .266

Certainly casts aspersions upon the conventional wisdom that Citizens is this offensive paradise. The Phils offense is just as effective on the road as at home, when judged by this standard. A closer look at the numbers underlying GPA is that the Phils are clubbing a lot of home runs at Citizens and a lot of doubles on the road. Otherwise, the Phils are walking and getting on base at a fairly consistent level at home and on the road. The Phils ISO numbers suggest that they are making a killing at home, but this doesn’t.

One thing that I noticed that the Phils have gotten better at GPA over the last few years:

Team GPA
2004: .265
2003: .259
2002: .258
2001: .252

(Remember, all stats current as of May 27, 2004) Anyway, this is a testament to the front office skill in developing and nurturing this team to the point it is now. The Phils starting lineup is doing well.

Addendum: I hate to beat a dead horse, but let me give you some stats I collected regarding the Phils starting pitchers batting:
.167 BA (96 AB’s; 16 Hits- 10 singles, 5 doubles and a Randy Wolf home run.)
.200 OBP (4 walks, no sacrifice flies or HBPs I noticed…)
.250 SLG (TB / AB = SLG; 24/96=.250)
.083 ISO (SLG – BA = ISO; .250 - .167 = .083)
.153 GPA ( (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = GPA ; (1.8 * .2 + .25) / 4 = .153)
Most pitchers can’t hit. Period. Give me the DH.

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