Jul 182013

I really wanted to comment on the Yankees’ first-half
performance, and to do that I felt I needed their report card. And to do THAT I
felt I ought to get the data and do the report cards for everyone. So I did
THAT and this chart is the result:

MLB Actual Hitters Starters Relievers
Team Wins Losses Grade Wins Losses Grade Wins Losses Grade Games Rating Grade
Arizona 50 45 B- 48.00 47.00 C 46.95 48.05 C 290 93 B
Atlanta 54 41 B+ 49.25 45.75 C+ 51.80 43.20 B 258 105 A-
Baltimore 53 43 B 59.50 36.50 A+ 40.45 55.55 F 274 73 C+
Boston 58 39 A 57.75 39.25 A 53.80 43.20 B 268 55 C-
Chicago Cubs 42 51 D 48.75 44.25 C+ 52.55 40.45 B+ 266 50 C-
Chicago Sox 37 55 F 42.00 50.00 D 50.60 41.40 B 271 33 D
Cleveland 51 44 B- 50.75 44.25 B- 45.50 49.50 C- 295 33 D
Cincinnati 53 42 B 53.25 41.75 B+ 55.60 39.40 A- 258 90 B
Colorado 46 50 C- 49.75 46.25 C+ 39.50 56.50 F 276 55 C-
Detroit 52 42 B 58.25 35.75 A+ 56.85 37.15 A 240 39 D+
Houston 33 61 F 40.75 53.25 D- 40.85 53.15 D- 267 15 F
Kansas City 43 49 D+ 37.00 55.00 F 45.70 46.30 C 230 71 B-
suburb of LA 44 49 D+ 53.75 39.25 A- 39.50 53.50 F 279 74 C+
Los Angeles 47 47 C 40.75 53.25 D- 49.85 44.15 B- 285 55 C-
Miami 35 58 F 31.50 61.50 F 45.95 47.05 C 269 53 C-
Milwaukee 38 56 F 48.75 45.25 C+ 36.15 57.85 F 306 97 B
Minnesota 39 53 F 47.75 44.25 C+ 27.90 64.10 F 285 92 B
NY Mets 41 50 D 42.25 48.75 D+ 45.70 45.30 C 303 59 C-
NY Yankees 51 44 B- 44.50 50.50 D+ 49.25 45.75 C+ 234 83 B+
Oakland 56 39 A- 48.75 46.25 C 52.75 42.25 B 259 84 B
Philadelphia 48 48 C 43.25 52.75 D 55.60 40.40 A- 263 27 D-
Pittsburgh 56 37 A 45.00 48.00 C- 50.80 42.20 B 269 109 A-
San Diego 42 54 D- 45.00 51.00 D+ 37.70 58.30 F 293 83 B-
San Francisco 43 51 D 40.00 55.00 F 46.50 47.50 C 299 89 B-
Seattle 43 52 D 42.50 51.50 D 52.70 42.30 B 247 29 D
St. Louis 57 36 A+ 53.75 39.25 A- 53.55 39.45 A- 254 74 B-
Tampa Bay 55 41 B+ 53.25 42.75 B 50.10 45.90 C+ 278 90 B
Texas 54 41 B+ 47.50 47.50 C 45.90 49.10 C- 277 70 C
Toronto 45 49 C- 51.00 43.00 B 36.30 57.70 F 280 90 B
Washington 48 47 C 41.25 53.75 D- 50.25 44.75 B- 245 74 B-

 

Having done this, I see what I expected: the Yankee offense,
which was rated C- (essentially league average) in April, is now F (and of
course lower still for May, June, July, given the April rating). The team
overperformed in April, so that overall its record is better than you would
expect from the sum of the parts. There are other interesting things on this
chart, too, on which I will likely comment in the near future.

There is a big problem with this chart, though: if you add
up the hitters’ wins and losses for all of baseball, their winning percentage
is only .467, which out at D+. While I am sort of comfortable with the
methodology (which says that if the team’s hitters produce 4 runs that is ½ a
win, 5 or more is a win for the offense) in the current run context, this is
obviously not right – apparently 4 runs deserves more credit.

I decided to check the other two. Starters, it turns out,
work perfectly: they have an overall winning percentage of .497 which, given
the granularity of the data (a game score is never 43.3) is right on target –
they rate out C, just as they should. This, of course, is because I adjusted
the algorithm for the more dominant pitching (a year ago or more) and the level
of offense hasn’t really moved, despite early indications that it might have.

Relievers, on the other hand, are definitely overrated based
on my metric: that is, bullpens are doing BETTER than they were when I devised
the system, and it also needs adjusting. You can see this clearly if you do the
class curve (for bullpens):

A-  2; B+ 1; B 7; B- 5; C+ 2; C 1; C- 6; D+ 1; D 3; D- 1; F 1

Clearly this is weighted towards the top, though the spread
is less than in previous years: we used to have some A+ teams. And of course
since I rate all relief performances as having equal value, this tends to tamp
the scores DOWN – a team’s bullpen is MORE effective than this rating, on an
absolute scaled, assuming that its effective relievers pitch when the game is
close, and the ineffective relievers more often when it is not.

So I made two adjustments: for hitters, 4 runs are now worth
¾ of a win, which puts the overall winning percentage at .5005. And expectation
for relievers has been increased, so that the same result gives a lower grade,
bringing the league grade in line with actual relief performance (so that MLB
rates a C).

MLB Actual Hitters Starters Relievers
Team Wins Losses Grade Wins Losses Grade Wins Losses Grade Games Rating Grade
Arizona 50 45 B- 48.00 47.00 C 46.95 48.05 C 290 93 B-
Atlanta 54 41 B+ 49.25 45.75 C+ 51.80 43.20 B 258 105 A-
Baltimore 53 43 B 59.50 36.50 A+ 40.45 55.55 F 274 73 C
Boston 58 39 A 57.75 39.25 A 53.80 43.20 B 268 55 C-
Chicago Cubs 42 51 D 48.75 44.25 C+ 52.55 40.45 B+ 266 50 D+
Chicago Sox 37 55 F 42.00 50.00 D 50.60 41.40 B 271 33 D-
Cleveland 51 44 B- 50.75 44.25 B- 45.50 49.50 C- 295 33 D-
Cincinnati 53 42 B 53.25 41.75 B+ 55.60 39.40 A- 258 90 B
Colorado 46 50 C- 49.75 46.25 C+ 39.50 56.50 F 276 55 D+
Detroit 52 42 B 58.25 35.75 A+ 56.85 37.15 A 240 39 D
Houston 33 61 F 40.75 53.25 D- 40.85 53.15 D- 267 15 F
Kansas City 43 49 D+ 37.00 55.00 F 45.70 46.30 C 230 71 B-
suburb of LA 44 49 D+ 53.75 39.25 A- 39.50 53.50 F 279 74 C
Los Angeles 47 47 C 40.75 53.25 D- 49.85 44.15 B- 285 55 D+
Miami 35 58 F 31.50 61.50 F 45.95 47.05 C 269 53 D+
Milwaukee 38 56 F 48.75 45.25 C+ 36.15 57.85 F 306 97 B-
Minnesota 39 53 F 47.75 44.25 C+ 27.90 64.10 F 285 92 B-
NY Mets 41 50 D 42.25 48.75 D+ 45.70 45.30 C 303 59 D+
NY Yankees 51 44 B- 44.50 50.50 D+ 49.25 45.75 C+ 234 83 B
Oakland 56 39 A- 48.75 46.25 C 52.75 42.25 B 259 84 B-
Philadelphia 48 48 C 43.25 52.75 D 55.60 40.40 A- 263 27 D-
Pittsburgh 56 37 A 45.00 48.00 C- 50.80 42.20 B 269 109 A-
San Diego 42 54 D- 45.00 51.00 D+ 37.70 58.30 F 293 83 C+
San Francisco 43 51 D 40.00 55.00 F 46.50 47.50 C 299 89 C+
Seattle 43 52 D 42.50 51.50 D 52.70 42.30 B 247 29 D-
St. Louis 57 36 A+ 53.75 39.25 A- 53.55 39.45 A- 254 74 C+
Tampa Bay 55 41 B+ 53.25 42.75 B 50.10 45.90 C+ 278 90 B-
Texas 54 41 B+ 47.50 47.50 C 45.90 49.10 C- 277 70 C
Toronto 45 49 C- 51.00 43.00 B 36.30 57.70 F 280 90 B-
Washington 48 47 C 41.25 53.75 D- 50.25 44.75 B- 245 74 B-

 

I like these grades much better. The Yankees offense has
been very bad lately, but it was good in April, D+ seems about right. And a D+
offense with a C+ rotation and a B bullpen might well produce a B- record; the
overperformance is not at all glaring, as it once was.

Remember, though, when you review these ratings, that two
things are at work here: the grades are NOT park-adjusted – a run is a run, and
a hit is a hit, whether at Petco or Yankee. So the Yankee hitters are a little
worse than this (and the pitchers a little better) because they play in a park
that increases offense, and the Padres hitters are a little better than this
and their pitchers are worse, except that their starters are already getting an
F, so I guess they are a lower F than this suggests. And it is already a very
low F.

Now that I have this system in place, I can make these
adjustments fairly simply going forward, so that I can keep the league norm at
C. What that DOES mean though is that the comparison from year to year is
relative, not absolute: A team that scores 4 runs a game will get more hitting
credit this year than they did last year.

 

 

4 Responses to “All-star break Report Cards”

  1. I was wondering why my comments were not getting approved! Sorry you have been getting spammed. I love these rankings. Who are MLB’s least lucky teams? It looks like the Chicago clubs and the Mets are due for some positive regression (except they will gut any aging players on their rosters and play for the future). I especially like the Cubs and Mets for the future.

    • Sorry your comments were not getting through; it appears it is under control, but frustratingly I can’t find a way to leave the comments visible after they are closed. I will keep on it. Meanwhile, if you log in your comments post directly, no review required.

      As to under/over performers, I think the Phillies (A rotation and D hitting and bullpen) should probably be better than a .500 team, as well. And on the over side, along with the Yankees, we should see some regression from the Red Sox and D-Backs, but not (surprisingly) the Pirates. Of course, I don’t really claim any predictive ability from these rankings, just a “how have they done so far” analysis.

      • I forgot. Detroit looks poised to kill everyone. Their team is so good, and their record hasn’t caught up to their talent level. I expect them to have the best record in the league ROS. I agree the Sox will regress downward, but the other contenders in the AL are even more smoke and mirrors (Oakland, Baltimore, Tampa, and NY have warts too). Thus, I like their shot at the playoffs. The cynic in me still sees TB (better hitting than before and underachieving staff will get better) taking the AL East in a tight race and Boston in the wild card game against Oakland. The Sox pitching staff is running out of miracles. Baltimore’s pitching is significantly worse than ours. Yankee hopes are pinned on the fragile wrists of Curtis Granderson. They can’t score, and he is the biggest bat they have coming off injury. I wouldn’t get too excited about Jeter or A-Rod’s return. That team has been snakebit!!! Just like the Sox last year, except they don’t have a toxic clubhouse and they have a few more resources. But you have to be impressed with their management and how they’ve done so far. Their lineup is the worst everyday Yankee lineup I can remember (maybe a call for a future post?!?) since I started collecting baseball cards (1987). I remember teams of Mel Hall and Danny Tartabull and Kevin Maas and Andy Hawkins. But this team is somehow winning. Amazing (and as a Sox fan depressing 🙂 )

        • I have been commenting on the Yankee’s poor lineup for a while, and I agree that A-Rod will be little help, though third base (post Youk) has been SUCH a black hole that a sub-par A-Rod will be a big upgrade. But still. Jeter has more potential, as someone else (besides Gardner) who can get on base for Cano, their only legitimate bat.

          It would be a perfect coda, actually, for the Yankee season for Cano to miss significant time after being hit in the knee in the all-star game: they could roar down the stretch about 25-42!

          We have talked, some, about what if everything breaks right for them: A-Rod is OK, Jeter is Jeter, Granderson hits home runs (and strikes out, of course), Pineda gives them another power arm, they pick up a useful piece (first base?) at the deadline. But what if everything goes wrong? A-Rod and Jeter follow Teixeira, Granderson and Youkilis, and go back on the DL, Pineda needs a half-season (as so many do) after surgery, Pettitte shows his age and Hughes his gopherballitis, and Mariano’s hitability begins to turn into runs (instead of baserunners, like now)? BOY could they be bad; shades of 1965!

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