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Saturday, August 30, 2014

FG: The A’s and Hitting With Men On Base

The “guess the A’s new inefficiency!” game is easily caricatured, but I do think they’ve got something. Here’s one theory…

Earlier this month I wrote about how the A’s front office is currently outpacing their competition when it comes to roster construction.  I focused primarily on how they’ve taken the platoon advantage to another level, loading up on defensively versatile players to allow for day-to-day lineup construction that maximizes the number of plate appearances where their hitters have the platoon advantage.  As a result of this, they get 70% of their PAs with the platoon advantage, as compared to the league average of 55%.  As part of my investigation into the platoon splits of A’s players, I also noticed another split of interest: offensive performance with runners on base as compared to with the bases empty.  After investigation, I’ve concluded that the A’s have identified and targeted players that have higher offensive production with runners on base…

taking [the A’s] players’ careers in aggregate gives us 27,000 plate appearances; across these, the players show in an increase of 14 points of BABIP and 53 points of OPS with runners aboard.  When compared to league average (6 points of BABIP and 38 points of OPS), it really looks like the A’s are targeting players that have some inherent, non-random ability to perform better with runners on base (to a greater extent than average).

The District Attorney Posted: August 30, 2014 at 03:21 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, sabermetrics

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   1. BDC Posted: August 30, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4782444)
taking [the A’s] players’ careers in aggregate

That's a very interesting chart, showing that a number of the current A's have been careerlong beasts with men on base. But one wonders whether this was identified by the A's or taught by them, or what. The six who stand out are Donaldson, Moss, Jaso, Norris, Vogt, and Sogard, and most of them have barely played for anyone else in the majors, or not at all. Jaso is the exception, because he really did hit like a madman with men on base in both St. Petersburg and Seattle. You can see identifying him on a "men-on" wish list. But could this tendency be identified in the others from minor-league or amateur splits?
   2. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4782487)
How incredibly thin does the margin between Potential Acquisition A and Potential Acquisition B have to be for you to actually worry about something like this? I have a feeling that this is the sort of study that the A's front office folks will email each other and laugh about. It's like an author reading critical analysis of his own novel and learning about metaphors contained therein that he had never considered.
   3. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: August 30, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4782514)
This might be another outcome of the A's targeting fly ball hitters. It looks like there is a small correlation between fly ball rate and on-base/bases empty batting splits.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4782519)
It looks like there is a small correlation between fly ball rate and on-base/bases empty batting splits.


That's funny, as it's mostly the infielders that shift around as a result of men being on base.
   5. philly Posted: August 31, 2014 at 06:48 AM (#4782666)
When I saw that the A's were not actually way out in front of the league, but in fact were tied with the "stupid" Mariners I figured he wouldn't address that. I guess I owe the guy an apology.

What does it all mean?
The A’s have figured it out. The Mariners have been lucky.
   6. AROM Posted: August 31, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4782720)
This isn't new, it's what the Cardinals did last year.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: August 31, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4782725)
This isn't new, it's what the Cardinals did last year.


Did you catch that the Cardinals are in fact last in the majors this year? That might have tipped the author off to the volatility of the stat.
   8. JJ1986 Posted: August 31, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4782731)
They should target Ryan Howard. His BABIP increases .027 and his OPS increases .114 with men on.
   9. bobm Posted: August 31, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4782732)
                                       
Rk       I  Split Year   BA tOPS+ sOPS+
1      STL Men On 2013 .313   129   131
2      BOS Men On 2013 .285   104   123
3      COL Men On 2014 .290   113   123
4      DET Men On 2013 .291   107   122
5      OAK Men On 2014 .269   116   114
6      CLE Men On 2013 .266   110   113
7      DET Men On 2014 .285   105   112
8      OAK Men On 2013 .264   107   112
9      BAL Men On 2013 .273   108   112
10     BAL Men On 2014 .270   110   110


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/31/2014.

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