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Monday, August 11, 2008

FOXSports: Perry: Do the Angels have what it takes?

Dunno…but there’s sure to be a lot of copy cats.

The good news for Anaheim is that offense tends to be less important in the postseason, and that so happens to be the Angels’ primary shortcoming (they rank a mere eighth in the 14-team AL in runs scored per game).

To assess further how well the Angels fit the above mold, we’ll take a look at Defensive Efficiency, which is the percentage of balls in play a defense converts into outs, staff strikeout rate and a scary-sounding Baseball Prospectus metric called Relievers’ Expected Wins Added (WXRL), which measures how a reliever, for better or worse, alters the game situation once he enters (it takes into account quality of opposing hitters and whether a given appearance is high pressure, among other factors). So here’s how the Angels rank in those three categories

Angels' efficiency  
Stat       Angels' rank 
Def. efficiency 8th 
Ks per 9 inn.  22nd 
WXRL            3rd 

As you can see, the Angels stack up well in terms of defense and closer quality (just Brad Lidge and Joe Nathan outdo Francisco Rodriguez in terms of WXRL), but they don’t strike out many hitters. On the whole, though, they grade out fairly well relative to other clubs. In fact, just the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs fare better in terms of this trio of indicators.

 

Repoz Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:23 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#2898452)
Yes. Next question.
   2. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:40 PM (#2898456)
The good news for Anaheim is that offense tends to be less important in the postseason, and that so happens to be the Angels' primary shortcoming (they rank a mere eighth in the 14-team AL in runs scored per game).

Just to beat the Angels fans, quoting their runs scored ranking over the course of the season sells the Angels as currently constructed WAY short. Kendrick was hurt and Teixeira didn't exsit. They're a pretty good hitting ball club at this point.
   3. rr Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:44 PM (#2898459)
This is kind of like the 2005 White Sox--I remember how many Sox fans were pissed off that Sheehan kept questioning in the Sox's bona fides all year because they had a low team OBP.
   4. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:47 PM (#2898463)
Off-topic hijack: ARZ just acquired Adam Dunn for Dallas Buck and two other prospects, per KTAR (via Rotoworld).
   5. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:48 PM (#2898465)
Sure, as long as they play well in the playoffs. The Angels are the favorites at the moment, but not in any more than a "14-15% chance of winning the World Series once the playoffs start" sort of way. But would anyone really say they "don't have it" at this stage?
   6. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:49 PM (#2898466)
How'd a player that good, without a humongous contract, get through waivers?
   7. TomH Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:49 PM (#2898467)
Yeah, but at least the White Sox clubbed a ton of home runs (hmmm.. like the current Sox club?), which somehow evaded the main media's radar. The Angels runs scored is driven by very-probably-unsustainable clutch hitting, but yes with Tex and a healthy team their Off is better.
   8. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:50 PM (#2898469)
Thanks Cowboy. And don't forget Rivera, his numbers since receiving regular playing time are another welcome addition.

Of course, looking at the Angels' strikeout numbers in aggregate in order to predict their playoff abilities is also laughably superficial analysis. But hey, at least Angels' fans don't have to read the "They need another bat" article any more. So we got that going for us.
   9. Halofan Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:50 PM (#2898470)
Perry uses too small a sample size, he should be calculating the Angels Runs Scored Per Game since 1961. Damned amateur.
   10. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:52 PM (#2898475)
How'd a player that good, without a humongous contract, get through waivers?

I don't think he got through, I think the DBacks claimed him off waivers and the Reds worked out a trade.
   11. rr Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:59 PM (#2898492)
The Angles runs scored is dirven by very-probably-unsustainable clutch hitting,


Matt Welch wrote a long piece on the "Angel Program" in THT a couple of years ago, and IIRC said that the Angles place special emphasis througout the system on BA with RISP and teach specific strategies that they think maximize that.

Now, to be clear I don't what know they do, if it is different than what anyone else does, or if it actually helps. But it well might.

But, my view of the Angels is that while I take the run differential "issue" seriously, I think it is just a piece of information among many. Sometimes writers, like Goldman last week, imply or say it is THE piece of information that is most crucial about the Angels. I don't agree.

The Angels are slight favorites, but the Red Sox have a great chance as well. Like a lot of people, I will be surprised if the AL champ is not one of those two.
   12. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 11, 2008 at 06:59 PM (#2898494)
He still got all the way to them. Now that I think about it, though, why should a team with no chance at the post-season claim a player who'll be a free-agent in two months? So it's not that surprising, really.
   13. Dan Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#2898504)
I wonder if there's any chance of Arizona doing the right thing and putting Dunn at first base and leaving Jackson in LF, since Dunn is a butcher in LF and Jackson is a butcher at first base.
   14. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#2898507)
Like a lot of people, I will be surprised if the AL champ is not one of those two.

I don't see why the Red Sox should be considered co-favorites. The other contenders they might face have played them pretty evenly and the Sox probably won't have home field advantage at all during the ALDS or ALCS.
   15. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#2898512)
I don't think he got through, I think the DBacks claimed him off waivers and the Reds worked out a trade.


That is exactly what happened.

-- MWE
   16. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:09 PM (#2898523)
I don't see why the Red Sox should be considered co-favorites. The other contenders they might face have played them pretty evenly and the Sox probably won't have home field advantage at all during the ALDS or ALCS.

I don't necessarily agree, for the reason you point out, but they have the best run differential in the AL and excellent pitching, especially front line starters. If they get hot and overtake Tampa, then I'd consider them co-favorites. Big if, though.
   17. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:12 PM (#2898530)
If they get hot and overtake Tampa, then I'd consider them co-favorites. Big if, though.

I'll agree with that.
   18. dukecam16 Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:20 PM (#2898551)
I think the Red Sox could beat the angels when it matters
   19. Shredder Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:31 PM (#2898580)
Just to beat the Angels fans, quoting their runs scored ranking over the course of the season sells the Angels as currently constructed WAY short. Kendrick was hurt and Teixeira didn't exsit. They're a pretty good hitting ball club at this point.
If you actually pick it up on June 11th*, which is a few days after Kendrick came back and a few days before Figgins came back, from that point in the season, they're sixth in the AL in runs scored (behind Baltimore, Detroit, Texas, Minnesota, the White Sox, and tied with the Yankees). They've scored 25 more runs over that time than Boston (who also dealt with injuries). I didn't realize it until just typing that, but they stand a good chance to have the best offense since that date of any of the teams to make the playoffs, and probably no worse than second. That includes a good portion of June, in which they had the worst offense in the AL, made up for in July in which they had the best. As also mentioned, that only includes about half of Rivera's time as an every day player, and very little of Teixeira.

If you look post all-star break, around the time Rivera became a regular, they've produced more runs per game than any team in the AL, and their team OPS is second only to Baltimore.

They aren't perfect, and they have as good a chance to choke as anyone, but they clearly aren't a bad offensive team by any means. You could argue that they're prone to slump, as they did in June, but the facts are that with the lineup as currently constructed, they've had the best offense in the AL for at least month. You can't ignore May and June, but you can explain away a little bit of the suckitude over that period.

Of course, if they enter the playoffs with three regulars somewhere between 0% and 25% like they did last year, then yeah, they'll probably lose again.

*Date chosen because it was easy (two months), and it roughly coincided with the return of Figgins and Kendrick, and more importantly, the removal of Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez from the lineup.
   20. DKDC Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:38 PM (#2898605)
second only to Baltimore


I don't have a horse in this race, but that's a pretty good sign your argument has some flaws.
   21. Shredder Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:48 PM (#2898637)
second only to Baltimore
Have you seen what their offense has done? Over the last two months their getting 5.7 runs per game. Unfortunately, they're also giving up 5.7 runs per game, but their offense has been awesome.
   22. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 11, 2008 at 07:51 PM (#2898654)
Have you seen what their offense has done? Over the last two months their getting 5.7 runs per game. Unfortunately, they're also giving up 5.7 runs per game, but their offense has been awesome.

I think his point was that Baltimore doesn't have very much talent offensively, yet they've managed to put together a nice couple of months. However, a nice couple of months doesn't change the fact that they still have a pretty lousy offense, and therefore, pointing out that they've had a similar run over the same period does not necessarily mean that the Angels actually have a very good offense.

I agree with that, but I also think the Angels are good enough to win as constructed, whatever one thinks of their offense, so whatever.
   23. Shredder Posted: August 11, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#2898690)
a nice couple of months doesn't change the fact that they still have a pretty lousy offense
Well how long do they have to score a bunch of runs before their offense is no longer lousy? Or is it lousy because we think their players, despite the numbers they're putting up this season, aren't very good, therefore, no matter how many runs they score, their offense is still lousy. They're sixth in the AL in runs scored over the course of the season, which tells me they aren't so much lousy as a little bit above average. And I'm unaware if they have similar issues as the Angels (namely Rodriguez, Wood, and Matthews) that they can point to as reasons for a poor first half.
pointing out that they've had a similar run over the same period does not necessarily mean that the Angels actually have a very good offense.
Can you point to anyone who has said the the Angels have a very good offense? I believe I said they don't have a bad offense (Cowboy went as far as "pretty good"), and the "eighth in the league" argument probably underrates the lineup they're currently running out there every day. It helps that they aren't sending three guys who hit like pitchers to the plate every night, like they were doing in May and June.
   24. base ball chick Posted: August 11, 2008 at 08:07 PM (#2898703)
of COURSE the angels don't got what it takes. you see they are only winning because the other teams made tons of errors in all those other games.

sigh

personally i would like to see a brewers/rays WS. without yecchies/red sux/cubs/mets in ANY of the playoffs. just so i could set a pool on how many times mccarver mentions then anyhow. along with His Jeterness
   25. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 11, 2008 at 08:22 PM (#2898744)
For the record Shredder, you don't have to convince me that the Angels have a pretty decent offense now, especially after the Teixiera trade. The first line of mine that you quote in #23 was in reference to the Orioles, not the Angels.
   26. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 11, 2008 at 08:23 PM (#2898746)
(Cowboy went as far as "pretty good")

Well, Howie and Chone both hit .480+ against the Yanks, so I have no doubt I have a more dangerous offense in mind than most people when I think of the Angels.
   27. DKDC Posted: August 11, 2008 at 08:40 PM (#2898817)
They're sixth in the AL in runs scored over the course of the season, which tells me they aren't so much lousy as a little bit above average. And I'm unaware if they have similar issues as the Angels (namely Rodriguez, Wood, and Matthews) that they can point to as reasons for a poor first half.


The Orioles have no excuses for a poor first half, as they've had virtually no injuries to their lineup this season. Out of their opening day lineup:

-shortstop stayed healthy but is in the minors because he is terrible
-catcher has played in 81% of team games (which is normal for a starting catcher)
-the other seven starters have all played in at least 93% of team games

The lineup has outperformed expectations because a few of the vets have declined less than expected and because of the lack of injuries.

It's an average-at-best offense over a full season, and the fact that they've had the best offense in the AL since the All-Star break is a total fluke.

That doesn't mean that the Angels offense since the All-Star break is a fluke, but it's certainly possible that it is.
   28. The Original SJ Posted: August 11, 2008 at 08:55 PM (#2898864)
Just curious, who are the excellent frontline pitchers on the sox? I would be a lot more afraid of the Angels starters.
   29. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 11, 2008 at 09:12 PM (#2898885)
Just curious, who are the excellent frontline pitchers on the sox? I would be a lot more afraid of the Angels starters.

Lester and Beckett were who I was referring to. Though I suppose you could make the argument that the strength of the Red Sox pitching staff is more in its depth than its frontline talent.

I don't necessarily think their top 3-4 is better than the Angels, but I don't think the gap is too large, and I also think the Red Sox are better in other ways (i.e. offensively). I certainly wouldn't pick them to beat the Angels at this point, especially the way the Angels have been playing, but I do think the gap between the two teams is smaller than their records indicate.
   30. The Original SJ Posted: August 11, 2008 at 09:16 PM (#2898892)
Would you start Lester in Game 1? Tito is going to start Beckett (probably). Beckett has been pretty average this year. Lester has been great though, and Dice K has a great record, even if he would give me a heart attack pitching for my team in the playoffs.
   31. Curse of the Andino Posted: August 11, 2008 at 09:45 PM (#2898930)

It's an average-at-best offense over a full season, and the fact that they've had the best offense in the AL since the All-Star break is a total fluke.


Small sample size, blah-blah, positions in the batting order don't matter, blah-blah, but coincidentally or not, seems like the O's really began to hit after Markakis got moved down to the number 2 slot.

Actually, I'd say the O's are league average or better offensively at every single position save SS, and have maybe the best RF and DH this year (Roberts is doing great, but Mr. Kinsler has been ridiculous). That outfield of Scott, Jones and Markakis looks really good.

If only this team could learn to run the bases...
   32. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: August 11, 2008 at 10:20 PM (#2898974)
Small sample size, blah-blah, positions in the batting order don't matter, blah-blah, but coincidentally or not, seems like the O's really began to hit after Markakis got moved down to the number 2 slot.


Did that event coincide with Adam Jones figuring out how to hit?
   33. Curse of the Andino Posted: August 11, 2008 at 10:40 PM (#2899008)
Did that event coincide with Adam Jones figuring out how to hit?


That too, and Ramon Hernandez' lousy BABIP evened up, but Jones mostly batted eighth, ahead of Fahey/Hernandez/Castro/Cintron...

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