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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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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Offensive Efficiency & BaseRuns 

First off, please allow me to complain about ESPN.com: I used to rely on ESPN.com to get all of my stats and info. In their mission statement they say that they want to be every sports fan’s homepage, the place they go to get all of their information. It is hard to see how they are working to accomplish that task when they make nearly everything on their site for members (I’m not paying to get information – the internet is / should be about the free exchange of ideas) and when they delete information that I use from my blog. Case-in-point: ESPN no longer carries Runs Created on their team pages. Over a year ago they ditched team fielding stats. I can’t find team DIPS.

Don’t pretend that you want to be the biggest and best sports web site when you offer the same old vanilla stats that everyone else does.

Oh, and I noticed that according to ESPN’s glossary they use the old formula for computating Runs Created that Bill James did away with after the 2004 season because it had become grossly inaccurate. A little behind the times, are we ESPN?

Alright, a subject that has been fascinating me of late. Offensive efficiency. It feels like the Phillies should have scored more runs then they have this season. I’ve suspected that the Phillies haven’t been converting base-runners into runs with any success this season. Curious, I had intended to take ESPN’s Runs Created numbers and divide them into actual runs scored to determine how efficient the Phillies were to the rest of the NL.

Sadly, I couldn’t do that. (See, above.) So I decided to go another route. Compute Runs Created by myself? Here is the formula for Runs Created:

A: H + BB + HBP – CS – GIDP
B: (S * 1.125) + (D * 1.69) + (T * 3.02) + (HR * 3.73) + (.29 * (BB + HBP – IBB)) + (.492 * (SB + SF + SH)) – (.04 * K)
C: AB + BB + HBP + SF +SH

- then -

(A * B) / C

Yeah, I don’t have time to cull through all of that data and get the numbers and find out how many Runs Created all 16 NL teams have.

So I decided to use another metric: Base Runs (BsR). Base Runs is a stat developed by Dave Smyth and is utilized by baseball writers like Tangotiger. Proponents of Base Runs claims it most accurately models the way runs are scored and is more accurate than Runs Created, though that is a controversial statement.

Base Runs though has the virtue of having a simpler formula:

A: H + BB + HBP – HR
B: (S * .8) + (D * 2.1) + (T * 3.4) + (HR * 1.8) + (1.* (BB + HBP))
C: AB – H
D: HR

B / (B + C), then * A, then + D

Ta-da, Base Runs! Simple and elegant. So I ran through the numbers and here is what I got:

Runs Scored / BsR / Eff.
Arizona Diamondbacks: 331 / 317 / 104
San Diego Padres: 295 / 284 / 104
Los Angeles Dodgers: 364 / 354 / 103
St. Louis Cardinals: 339 / 330 / 103
San Francisco Giants: 326 / 317 / 102
Atlanta Braves: 335 / 327 / 102
New York Mets: 351 / 347 / 101
Philadelphia Phillies: 332 / 329 / 101
Chicago Cubs: 261 / 260 / 100
Houston Astros: 314 / 313 / 100
Pittsburgh Pirates: 312 / 314 / 99
Florida Marlins: 293 / 298 / 98
Washington Nats: 313 / 320 / 98
Cincinnati Reds: 345 / 359 / 96
Milwaukee Brewers: 325 / 340 / 95
Colorado Rockies: 303 / 320 / 95

Now all of this contains a few surprises. Here is what I thought about them …

Notice that four of the five most efficient offenses are NL West teams, though the Rockies are a notable exception to that! All four of those teams are batting very better (and in the case of the Dodgers, substantially better) than the league average for batting average with runners in scoring position:

BA / RISP
Dodgers: .311
Giants: .283
D-Backs: .281
Padres: .268
Rockies: .258
League: .265

-People have been lamenting at the Braves offensive struggles, but they really haven’t struggled much when you consider that they have a fairly efficient offense. Look at things this way Braves fans: what if your team started to struggle with batting runners home? The Braves could have one of the worst offenses in the majors.

-The Phillies aren’t really that bad off, are they? They haven’t been converting with runners in scoring position (.239 BA / RISP, “good” for 15th, better only than the Cubs at .230) but they’ve been more efficient at the plate than I thought.

Those there are some thoughts to chew over. I hope I enriched everyone’s day. I hope so, because my wrists are killing me from working that calculator to tabulate these numbers! ESPN: please bring back and update your stats!

More tomorrow. Ugh, my wrists…

Comments:
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Mike, if you go to the team stat pages and click "expanded" under the batting stats, you'll get to the RC and RC27 stats. Here are the stats for the Phillies:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/Statistics/Team/playerstats?team=phi&seasonYear=2006&seasonType=2&type=exp&pagetype=batting

But I agree with you about ESPN stats. They have generally made them less available and less accessible than in the past. What's worse, they seem to have a cranky reporting engine as I've noticed in the past inconsistencies with the reporting data. I've only noticed this with the park factors but still be careful when you use ESPN stats. --Chris
 
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