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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

HHS: O’Connor: Where Have All the Good Teams Gone?

Well, yesterday was such an easy game for them to play
But lets face it things are so much easier today…

All season, I was certain the Rangers were the best team in baseball.  They won the pennant in the tougher league each of the past two years.  They had a star at practically every position Michael Young didn’t play.  They had a deep rotation, a great bullpen, and, for most of the season, the best record in the American League, despite playing in perhaps its most competitive division.  Let’s look at the components of their team WAR (from the Value tab of fangraphs’ leaderboards):

52.5 batting runs above replacement (6th in MLB)

1.1 baserunning runs above replacement (16th)

7.1 fielding runs above replacement (12th)

18.0 starting pitcher WAR (3rd)

5.9 relief pitcher WAR (7th)

That’s the profile of a good team- maybe the type that wins 93 games and almost wins its division- but not necessarily the powerhouse I thought they were.  Nevertheless, their 93-win season in baseball’s toughest division was rewarded with one game against a far weaker team by just about any measure, and now they’re watching the playoffs from home.

Repoz Posted: October 16, 2012 at 04:59 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

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   1. John DiFool2 Posted: October 16, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4272256)
Not a discussion about long-term trends which might be leading to more parity. Just a warning to those who are tempted to click on the link because they (like me) thought that was what the article was going to be about.
   2. BDC Posted: October 16, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4272290)
There's not much sense in TFA of the dynamic we often discuss here: a team in September ain't the team that was there in April, almost as a rule. In April the Rangers had a shut-'em-down five-man rotation. By October they had Harrison, Darvish, and a collection of desperate measures. Many "good" teams that leave the playoffs early have had similar issues, over the years.
   3. Chris Fluit Posted: October 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4272376)
Nevertheless, their 93-win season in baseball’s toughest division was rewarded with one game against a far weaker team by just about any measure, and now they’re watching the playoffs from home.


They were awarded a one game playoff against a team with an identical 93-69 record, aka exactly what would have happened under the old format when two teams tied for the wild card. It doesn't matter that the Orioles were "far weaker" in all kinds of other measurements. They were tied in the only measure that matters- wins and losses.

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