Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why are the Diamondbacks outperforming Pythagoras?

As of yesterday, the Arizona Diamondbacks were 89-70. However, they have scored 11 fewer runs than they've allowed. According to the Pythagorean Projection, they should be 78-81. That's a difference of 11 games.

Normally, deviations from Pythagoras are just luck. The standard logic says that a team that "should" go 78-81, but goes 89-70 anyway, is probably really a 78-81 team that got lucky. You shouldn't expect that luck to continue.

But in a
"Keeping Score" article in last Sunday's New York Times, columnist Dan Rosenheck argues that, in this case, Pythagoras is at least somewhat wrong:



" ... the Diamondbacks are clearly not as good as their record, but they’re not as bad as Pythagoras would have you think."

Rosenheck describes two reasons for the D-Backs' outperformance. First, their clutch hitting has been excellent. Here, courtesy of Baseball Reference, is their OPS when the score is tied, followed by when the score is one run difference, then 2, 3, 4, and more than 4:

.748 / .759 / .745 / .742 / .736 / .729

They hit much better when the game is close than when it's a blowout. The
MLB averages show no such pattern:

.762 / .760 / .761 / .759 / .760 / .754

The Diamondbacks have hit well in the clutch. And (as Rosenheck acknowledges), since clutch performance is almost certainly not an innate ability, the "clutch" part of Arizona's discrepancy is probably random chance.

However, the flip side of clutch hitting is clutch pitching. On this, Rosenheck argues, manager Bob Melvin has expertly figured out how to reserve his best pitchers when the game is on the line, saving his worst pitchers for blowouts when the runs they give up don't matter much. "Of course," he says, "all teams pursue this strategy, but Melvin has done so more effectively."

This I'm not sure about. Here is Arizona's "clutch" line for pitching:

.726 / .735 / .738 / .743 / .743 / .807

Again, they're clutch, clutchier than average -- their pitchers are much better when the game is close, which again contributes to making them more successful than their Pythagorean projection.


But should this really be attributed to Bob Melvin? If he were doing something different from other managers – say, using a mediocre pitcher in a 3-run save situation, but maximizing Jose Valverde's leverage by using him in an eighth inning tie game – I might buy it. But the game log (for Valverde, at least) doesn't show anything unusual.

One thing that does stick out is the .807 at the end of the pitching line. Indeed, Arizona's pitchers are particularly mediocre once the game is out of hand. That might be a real effect, rather than luck: Melvin might be using really crappy pitchers, or just telling them to go easy on their arms in blowout games.

But even so, that category is only 836 plate appearances. If I've done the math right, the difference between .743 and .807, in that number of PA, is only in the range of 10 runs. Let's say we double that, assuming that Melvin's strategy has an equal influence in 3- or 4-run games. That's still only 20 runs, or two games.

My best guess is that it's all luck, except for a couple of games. I'd bet that the D-Backs are, in talent, around a .500 team.

Rosenheck and
Chris Jaffe don't agree. I might be wrong; maybe there's something I haven't considered.




Labels: ,

9 Comments:

At Sunday, September 30, 2007 8:36:00 AM, Anonymous Guy said...

Phil:
If anything, 20 runs probably overstates the case. The splits you use include PAs when the DBacks are winning by over 4 as well as losing, so fewer thatn 836 PAs are in losing blowouts. And because the DBacks lost most of their blowouts, their pitchers' OPS split probably isn't that unusual. Once you know that a team has lost most of their blowout games, you should expect to see that their pitchers performed poorly because it's likely the pitcher in question is a weak starter (i.e. not Webb) or a mop-up reliever). If you look at the 4 teams with the worst records this year (TB, BAL, KC, PIT), their pitchers have an average OPS of .806 in the 4+ run differential PAs, same as AZ.

What we really want to know is how DBacks pitchers performed in blowout losses, and then compare that to average performance in blowout losses. But even if DBacks were worse, you've shown the difference can't be enough to explain more that a couple of wins, if that.

 
At Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:12:00 AM, Blogger Phil Birnbaum said...

Right, that makes sense ... for bad teams, their "4+" score is mostly losses, while for good teams, it's mostly wins.

Since the DBacks did indeed have mostly losses, their "4+" score is as expected, and there's no evidence that it's due to the manager.

And as you say, even if the difference IS due to Melvin, it's a couple of games at most.

Did I rephrase your argument correctly? Thanks, it sounds reasonable to me.

 
At Sunday, September 30, 2007 1:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil, why did you double the 10 runs for 3 and 4 run games when according to your numbers, the OPS against for 3 and 4 run games was .743, close to average?

Also, I just want to confirm that those B-R numbers are hitters' and pitchers' performance when the game is "already a blowout," (or whatever the run differential is) and not the entire game when the final score is a blowout?

 
At Sunday, September 30, 2007 8:57:00 PM, Blogger Phil Birnbaum said...

I doubled it just to give the Melvinites the benefit of the doubt. I figure, if Melvin is affecting the 4+ run games, maybe he's also affecting the 4-run games, and it's just not showing up in the stats.

But even if you double it, you don't get much of an effect.

I'm pretty sure the stats at baseball reference are for the score *at the time*. One reason is that those breakdowns are called "clutch". A better reason is that you can't have a tie game final score.

 
At Monday, October 01, 2007 7:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rosenheck describes two reasons for the D-Backs' outperformance. First, their clutch hitting has been excellent. Here, courtesy of Baseball Reference, is their OPS when the score is tied, followed by when the score is one run difference, then 2, 3, 4, and more than 4:

.748 / .759 / .745 / .742 / .736 / .729

They hit much better when the game is close than when it's a blowout. The MLB averages show no such pattern:

.762 / .760 / .761 / .759 / .760 / .754"

I could of course be misreading Rosenheck's argument, but how can he assert that the Arizona clutch hitting has been excellent when the Diamondback OPS in every run-differential situation presented is lower than the league average? Yes, the Diamondbacks when close put up an OPS superior to that when they are not close. Compared to the analogous MLB OPS values, though, it is evident that the Arizona OPS is well below average in non-close situations, but just below average in close situations. Had Rosenheck asserted that Arizona hits better in the clutch than it does otherwise, I could accept such an argument; to assert that Arizona "clutch hitting has been excellent" is to ignore the unfavorable comparisons between the Arizona and MLB OPS.

 
At Monday, October 01, 2007 7:46:00 AM, Blogger Phil Birnbaum said...

The DBacks clutch hitting was excellent *relative to their non-clutch hitting*. When you're talking about Pythagoras, it doesn't matter that Arizona's clutch-situation hitting was below league average, just that it was above Arizona's average.

Even if you're the 1962 Mets, if your hitting is concentrated when it's most important, you're going to win more games than if you score the same number of runs when they're less important.

 
At Thursday, January 01, 2009 5:59:00 AM, Blogger sexy said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,A片,A片,A片,A片,A片,A片,情趣用品,A片,情趣用品,A片,情趣用品,a片,情趣用品

A片,A片,AV女優,色情,成人,做愛,情色,AIO,視訊聊天室,SEX,聊天室,自拍,AV,情色,成人,情色,aio,sex,成人,情色

免費A片,美女視訊,情色交友,免費AV,色情網站,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人影片,成人網站,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,情色網,日本A片,免費A片下載,性愛

色情A片,A片下載,色情遊戲,色情影片,色情聊天室,情色電影,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,一葉情貼圖片區,情色視訊,免費成人影片,視訊交友,視訊聊天,言情小說,愛情小說,AV片,A漫,avdvd,情色論壇,視訊美女,AV成人網,情色文學,成人交友,成人電影,成人貼圖,成人小說,成人文章,成人圖片區,成人遊戲,愛情公寓,情色貼圖,成人論壇

免費A片,AV女優,美女視訊,情色交友,色情網站,免費AV,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人網站,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,成人影片,情色網

視訊聊天室,聊天室,視訊,,情色視訊,視訊交友,視訊交友90739,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,視訊聊天,UT聊天室,聊天室,美女視訊,視訊交友網,豆豆聊天室,A片,尋夢園聊天室,色情聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,成人聊天室,中部人聊天室,一夜情聊天室,情色聊天室,080中部人聊天室,080聊天室,美女交友,辣妹視訊

 
At Monday, April 20, 2009 4:04:00 AM, Blogger cvxv said...

看房子,買房子,建商自售,自售,台北新成屋,台北豪宅,新成屋,豪宅,美髮儀器,美髮,儀器,髮型,EMBA,MBA,學位,EMBA,專業認證,認證課程,博士學位,DBA,PHD,在職進修,碩士學位,推廣教育,DBA,進修課程,碩士學位,網路廣告,關鍵字廣告,關鍵字,課程介紹,學分班,文憑,牛樟芝,段木,牛樟菇,日式料理, 台北居酒屋,日本料理,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,台北結婚,場地,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,造型系列,學位,SEO,婚宴,捷運,學區,美髮,儀器,髮型,看房子,買房子,建商自售,自售,房子,捷運,學區,台北新成屋,台北豪宅,新成屋,豪宅,學位,碩士學位,進修,在職進修, 課程,教育,學位,證照,mba,文憑,學分班,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,台北住宿,國內訂房,台北HOTEL,台北婚宴,飯店優惠,住宿,訂房,HOTEL,飯店,婚宴,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,場地,結婚,場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,婚宴場地,結婚,婚宴場地,推車飲茶,港式點心,尾牙春酒,台北結婚,場地,居酒屋,燒烤,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,美髮,儀器,髮型,小套房,小套房,進修,在職進修,留學,證照,MBA,EMBA,留學,MBA,EMBA,留學,進修,在職進修,牛樟芝,段木,牛樟菇,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,PMP,在職專班,研究所在職專班,碩士在職專班,PMP,證照,在職專班,研究所在職專班,碩士在職專班,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,SEO,廣告,關鍵字,關鍵字排名,網路行銷,網頁設計,網站設計,網站排名,搜尋引擎,網路廣告,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,EMBA,MBA,PMP,在職進修,專案管理,出國留學,婚宴,婚宴,婚宴,婚宴,漢高資訊,漢高資訊,比利時,比利時聯合商學院,宜蘭民宿,台東民宿,澎湖民宿,墾丁民宿,花蓮民宿,SEO,找工作,汽車旅館,阿里山,日月潭,阿里山民宿,東森購物,momo購物台,pc home購物,購物漢高資訊,漢高資訊,在職進修,漢高資訊,在職進修,住宿,住宿,整形,造型,室內設計,室內設計,漢高資訊,在職進修,漢高資訊,在職進修,住宿,美容,室內設計,在職進修,羅志祥,周杰倫,五月天,住宿,住宿,整形,整形,室內設計,室內設計,比利時聯合商學院,在職進修,比利時聯合商學院,在職進修,漢高資訊,找工作,找工作,找工作,找工作,找工作,蔡依林,林志玲

 
At Monday, May 25, 2009 2:43:00 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

牙醫,植牙,矯正,紋身,刺青,創業,批發,皮膚科,痘痘,中醫,飛梭雷射,毛孔粗大,醫學美容,肉毒桿菌,seo,關鍵字行銷,關鍵字自然排序,網路行銷,關鍵字自然排序,關鍵字行銷seo,關鍵字廣告,部落格行銷,網路行銷,seo,關鍵字行銷,關鍵字廣告,關鍵字,自然排序,部落格行銷,網路行銷,網路爆紅,牛舌餅婚紗台中婚紗,腳臭,腳臭,腳臭,腳臭,腳臭,中古車,二手車,中古車,二手車,高雄婚紗

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home