#### So, What Might Work in the 2009 World Series?

I promised in

href="http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primate_studies/discussion/p

redicting_the_2009_playoffs/">

my earlier predictions of the 2009

Playoffs that I would be offering a separate look at the 2009 World Series,

because I had reason to believe that the Playoff Predictor was not really

better than a coin-toss when it came to the seven-game showdown between

league champions. I’m glad I did because, in spite of having less data (only

one series a season), there does appear to be a difference.

__The Categories__

I used the same 30 categories that Vinay Kumar used in his original

research. This time, however, I just took the categories straight as they

came, since we have less data to work with. (Vinay isolated, in each

category, the point where the difference between, for example, the Runs

Scored of a pair of teams, eliminated half the winning outcomes. Thus a

clear margin of superiority was required for the category to count.) On the

other hand, I’d rather take the World Series analysis back to 1986, when the

rule relating to Designated Hitters in the Playoffs was changed. However, in

order to keep the comparison direct, I decided to run with the smaller data

set to enable a direct comparison. The columns below show the winning

percentage only for World Series, and those for all playoff series, from

1995 through to the league championship series in 2008.

Team totals World Series All Playoffs

Won-lost record .357 .580

Runs Scored/Runs Allowed .500 .563

__Batting records:__
Runs scored total .714 .426

Batting average .583 .440

On-base percentage .615 .451

Slugging percentage .571 .476

Doubles .429 .448

Triples .692 .484

Home runs .429 .479

Batter walks .571 .551

Batter strikeouts (fewer) .643 .559

Stolen bases .429 .511

Stolen base attempts (more) .429 .551

Net stolen bases .429 .442

Stolen base Average .429 .373

Caught stealing (fewer) .643 .426

__Pitching records:__
Runs allowed .357 .646

ERA .286 .592

Pitchers strikeouts .500 .540

Pitchers walks (fewer) .429 .523

Hits allowed (fewer) .500 .729

Home runs allowed (fewer) .429 .595

Complete games .615 .608

Pitchers’ shutouts .583 .673

Saves .385 .482

Saves by team leader .429 .566

Bullpen ERA .286 .574

__Fielding records:__
Errors committed (fewer) .692 .680

Defensive efficiency .571 .654

Fielding double plays .571 .500

It’s quite an astonishing turnaround. The hitters hold the whip hand over

the pitchers once we get into the World Series. Nor is this an apparent

product of the ‘Liveball Era’ that began in 1993. I went back to about 1990,

and pitching still suffers. I see two problems with taking this data

straight as read. One is the sample size is very small. The other is that

the American League has been dominant in the series throughout this era, and

these numbers are not normalized by league. (But neither were Vinay’s

original set.) It could easily be the case that the supposed superiority of

the American League renders these findings doubtful. However, at this stage

I prefer to stay consistent with the parameters of the original study,

rather than embark on a new one.

So let us arrange a set of super categories, as was done before, ranked by

their winning percentage:

Runs Scored

Triples

Errors committed (fewer)

Batters’ strikeouts (fewer)

Caught Stealing (fewer)

On-Base Percentage

Complete Games

Batting Average

Pitcher’s shutouts

Slugging Percentage

Batter Walks

Defensive efficiency

Fielding double plays

It’s the players, rather than the pitchers, with both bat and glove and

timely base-running that seem to be the difference at this stage. And what

does all that mean for the 2009 World Series? I’ve put the strong categories

in *italics*.

**Yankees’ advantages **

Won-Lost Record

Runs Scored/Runs Allowed

*Runs Scored*

*Batting Average*

*On-Base Percentage*

*Slugging Percentage*

Doubles

Home Runs

*Batters’ Walks*

*Batters’ strikeouts*

Net Stolen Bases

Pitchers’ Strikeouts

Hits allowed

Home runs allowed

Saves

Saves by Closer

*Defensive efficiency*

**Phillies’ Advantages**

*Triples*

Stolen Bases

Stolen Base Attempts

Stolen Base Percentage

Runs allowed

Earned run average

Pitcher walks

*Complete Games*

*Pitchers’ Shutouts*

*Errors committed (fewer)*

*Fielding double plays*

**PREDICTOR PICK: NEW YORK YANKEES**

Hedging my bet: The Phillies’ lead in fewer errors committed and fielding

double plays could be the sign of an upset. This is common to all but one of

the teams that started behind on Runs Scored yet went on to win the Series.

The exception being the 1997 Marlins. Furthermore, in terms of advantages,

the 2003 Marlins had a similar distribution of advantages against the 2003

Yankees, with what might be the crucial exception of batters’ strikeouts.

fra paolo
Posted: October 28, 2009 at 03:26 AM |

2 comment(s)
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## Reader Comments and Retorts

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using 3 decimal places when smaple size n=14. What is the std dev, about .5/sqrt(14)=.15?

Any reason to believe that World Series is significantly different than 'all playoffs'? Why would WS winners typically lsoe when having the better ERA, but have won the other playoff series?

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