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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tellalian: Dispelling a Myth about the Indians Offense

By using WPA! (Wally Post Archive ~ .000/.273/.000 with Cleveland in 1964)

One reason the Indians offense was able to score so many runs was their ability to hit in the clutch. Most offensive statistics weigh or count things that happened during a game. What most stats do not do, is take into consideration the game situation. Most people intuitively know that a home run in the ninth inning that ties a game is more important that a home run in the sixth inning when your team is down by 10 runs. In the stats, a home run is just a home run. There is, however, a stat that takes those game situations into account. It is called Win Probability Added, or WPA.

For an example of how WPA works, imagine the Indians are playing a game against the White Sox. Michael Brantley step up to the plate with a runner on second base in the fifth inning of a tie game. The chances of the Indians winning the game at that point are 55%. Brantley hits a double that scores a run and increases the Indians chances of winning to 70%. He increases the Indians win probability by 15% or .15. That .15 is WPA.

As a team, the Indians were one of the most clutch in all of baseball, finishing sixth in MLB with a 7.13 WPA. Break that down by league, and they were third in the AL behind the Red Sox and Athletics. In individual terms, the Indians had three players in the top 30 in WPA. Brantley was 27th in the league with a good WPA of 1.54. Jason Kipnis was 8th with a very good WPA of 3.58, and Carlos Santana finished 6th in the league with a fantastic WPA of 4.22.

...Yes, the Indians had a very good pitching staff in 2013. They were the heart and strength of the Indians team, but the offense is vastly underrated. They scored runs better than nearly every other team in baseball and they proved to be one of the best teams in the clutch. The idea that the offense was poor and feeble is false. Both the pitching staff and offense helped propel the Tribe into the playoffs last season and fans should look forward to more wins and exciting times to come.

 

Repoz Posted: January 25, 2014 at 05:47 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cleveland

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: January 25, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4646320)
::vomits::
   2. Srul Itza Posted: January 25, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4646331)
I don't know what's worse -- that he is relying on a junk stat, or that he is suggesting that the junk stat is predictive, which even its adherents back away from.

This isn't GIGO.

This is Garbage In, Garbage Sprinkled with Sewage, Worse Garbage Out
   3. Tricky Dick Posted: January 25, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4646336)
If he wanted to measure clutch, there is, in fact, a clutch stat in the win probabiliy family of statistics. And the Indians are No. 2 behind the Orioles in highest clutch ranking. I would probably draw an opposite conclusion than the author in terms of the implication for the future. The clutch ranking probably means there is a decent chance that the Indians' offense will regress this season.
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 25, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4646365)
The playoffs?
   5. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 26, 2014 at 05:30 AM (#4646409)
If he wanted to measure clutch, there is, in fact, a clutch stat in the win probabiliy family of statistics. And the Indians are No. 2 behind the Orioles in highest clutch ranking.

He mentions that later. Other than getting the conclusion backwards, nailed it.
   6. I Am Not a Number Posted: January 26, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4646447)
I would probably draw an opposite conclusion than the author in terms of the implication for the future. The clutch ranking probably means there is a decent chance that the Indians' offense will regress this season.

Only wide-eyed, unabashed fanboyism would preclude someone from drawing this very obvious conclusion.
   7. Ron J2 Posted: January 27, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4646836)
#3 I do know that teams that scored fewer runs than you'd expect given the basic counter stats are a pretty fair bet to improve their scoring in the next season. I haven't bothered to check whether the Indians in fact scored fewer runs than you'd expect.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: January 27, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4646991)
#3 I do know that teams that scored fewer runs than you'd expect given the basic counter stats are a pretty fair bet to improve their scoring in the next season. I haven't bothered to check whether the Indians in fact scored fewer runs than you'd expect.


By runs created the Indians should have scored 764 runs and scored 745. So if the writer wanted to find some reason to think the Indians were better than they showed last year, this is what I would have grabbed. WPA is something that generally regresses to the average. Obviously better offensive teams overall will do better and poorer teams overall will do worse but if a team does significantly better than a team of their offensive output should have done, it's pretty safe to say that they'll regress.

(Nobody in St Louis is thinking the Cardinals are going to hit .330 with risp again this year either)
   9. madvillain Posted: January 27, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4647010)
(Nobody in St Louis is thinking the Cardinals are going to hit .330 with risp again this year either)


Greatest fans and all that, but I bet at least one Cardinals fan is thinking this.
   10. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 27, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4647018)
One reason the Indians offense was able to score so many runs was their ability to hit in the clutch.

Well a big reason the Cardinals were able to score so many runs last year was that they hit .330/.402/.463 with RISP

Oh, the Indians? Well since they scored about how many runs you'd expect from their components I err, have no idea what this article is trying to say...

clutch? well they did beat their pythag by 2...

3rd in the AL by WPA, despite being 4th just 4th in wins, how about that, isn't that remarkable... not.

   11. cardsfanboy Posted: January 27, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4647042)
Greatest fans and all that, but I bet at least one Cardinals fan is thinking this.


Then they aren't paying attention. Every article on STLToday has more or less mentioned that it's unrepeatable. They mentioned it in July they mentioned it before the post season, they mentioned it after the season was over. There are people who believe that the Cardinals will do better than their non-clutch rate stats, but we are talking about a difference of hitting .285 with risp instead of .265(or whatever)

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