March 29, 2014

A Bold DMN Prediction

The Dallas Morning News staff have offered their predictions on the upcoming season.

One prediction is "Wins needed to win AL West." I read this as the minimum number of wins; that is, if "wins needed" is 90, some other team in the division has finished with 89. If that's not the case, the prediction should have been titled "Wins by division winner."

Rick Gosellin selected 97 wins (and Oakland as West champion). He also didn't select any AL West teams as wild cards.

Thus, the math dictates:

1) Some AL West team other than Oakland will win 96 games and NOT be a wild card.

2) Both wild cards (from outside the West) MUST have more than 96 wins (barring ties), because they have to exceed the AL West's tough-luck 96-game winner.

3) At least one division winner from the Central or East, perhaps both, MUST have more than 97 wins (specifically, more than whatever the wild card teams have).

An example, using Gosslin's other predictions:

AL West:
Oakland 97-65 (div),
Texas 96-66 (nothing)

AL Central
Detroit 90-72 (div)

AL East:
New York 98-64 (div),
Tampa Bay 97-65 (wc),
Boston 97-65 (wc)

So, Gosselin is predicting (unintentionally, I assume) that no fewer than five AL teams will win at least 96 games. That's a bold prediction.

Posted by Lucas at 12:11 PM

January 04, 2014

Homegrown Starting Pitching, Updated

Here's a list of every truly homegrown starting pitcher in the wildcard-era AL West. By that I mean: pitching for the team that originally drafted or signed him, ineligible for free agency, and reaching 162 innings (or 1 IP per game in 1994-1995). So, for example, Rick Helling doesn't count because Texas traded and reacquired him prior to his four consecutive 200-inning seasons, and Felix Hernandez drops off after 2011 even though he remained an M because he'd reached six years of MLB service. Each season's division winner is colored.

Year Texas Los Angeles Oakland Seattle
2013 Derek Holland - AJ Griffin -
2012 Derek Holland Jered Weaver - -
2011 Derek Holland,
CJ Wilson
Ervin Santana,
Jered Weaver
Trevor Cahill Felix Hernandez,
Michael Pineda
2010 CJ Wilson Ervin Santana,
Jered Weaver
Dallas Braden,
Trevor Cahill
Doug Fister,
Felix Hernandez
2009 Scott Feldman Joe Saunders,
Jered Weaver
Trevor Cahill Felix Hernandez
2008 - John Lackey,
Ervin Santana,
Joe Saunders,
Jered Weaver
- Felix Hernandez
2007 - John Lackey Joe Blanton Felix Hernandez
2006 - John Lackey,  
Ervin Santana
Joe Blanton,  
Barry Zito
Felix Hernandez,  
Gil Meche,  
Joel Pineiro
2005 - John Lackey Joe Blanton,  
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,  
Joel Pineiro
2004 - John Lackey Rich Harden,  
Tim Hudson,  
Mark Mulder,  
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,  
Joel Pineiro
2003 - John Lackey,  
Ramon Ortiz,  
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,  
Mark Mulder,  
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,  
Gil Meche,  
Joel Pineiro
2002 - Ramon Ortiz,  
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,  
Mark Mulder,  
Barry Zito
-
2001 Doug Davis Ramon Ortiz,  
Scott Schoeneweis,  
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,  
Mark Mulder,  
Barry Zito
-
2000 - Scott Schoeneweis Tim Hudson -
1999 - - - -
1998 - - - -
1997 Darren Oliver Jason Dickson - -
1996 Darren Oliver,  
Roger Pavlik
- - -
1995 Roger Pavlik - - -
1994 Kevin Brown,  
Kenny Rogers
- Todd Van Poppel Dave Fleming

Yes, I'm missing Houston in 2013, but, well, 2013 wasn't Houston's year. I'll update in due course.

Posted by Lucas at 01:23 AM

March 08, 2013

Triple-A to the Woodlands? Maybe.

News broke Thursday that the Astros are considering The Woodlands as their new Triple-A home. I'd half-expected the Astros to commandeer the Atlantic League's recent expansion to Sugar Land a few years ago, but at the time they opposed an affiliated team in their backyard. What caught my eye this time was the rather blasé discussion of moving a franchise to the Houston area. The story has been edited since first appearing yesterday afternoon, but it practically implied that he could move a team there unilaterally.

For example: "The Astros are considering purchasing several of their minor league teams in an effort to improve revenue streams." Crane himself expounded on his affiliates including the Nolan Ryan-owned Corpus Christi Hooks: "We don’t own those franchises, so we’d have to step up and buy them and move them around and we’re looking at all those options. Because we feel if we control those options, it’s better for our partners and better for our fans." Really? I know his statements are more talking out loud, not executive plans, but one doesn't simply "step up" and buy a franchise like buying a car. He needs a seller, and there aren't many, perhaps not a single one.

Witness also this quote from Crane, now expunged from the Chronicle but still appearing at the end of this story in The Oklahoman: "The [Oklahoma City] Triple-A club is owned by a private equity company -- that doesn't make any sense." I hope he meant "that doesn't make any sense with what I'm trying to accomplish with the Astros," rather than "that doesn't make any sense, period." The RedHawks belong to Mandalay Sports, also owners of the hugely successful Texas-affiliated Frisco Roughriders and the low-A Dayton Dragons, who have produced 913 consecutive sellouts across 13 seasons. Mandalay seems to know what it's doing. Indeed, in response to the story, the Redhawks have assured fans they're not going anywhere (here, here, here).

Which AAA franchise might Crane purchase and move to The Woodlands? Here's the Pacific Coast League ranked by age of stadium and including distance to the parent club (if under 400 miles) and number of times in the last four years the team has ranked in the bottom four in average attendance:

Team
Stadium Built
Bottom Four Attendance
Miles to Parent
El Paso
2014
3
<400
Omaha
2011
-
<200
Reno
2009
-
-
Abq
2003
-
-
Round Rock
2000
-
<200
Memphis
2000
-
<400
Sacto
2000
-
<200
Okla City
1998
-
-
Fresno
1998
-
<200
New Orleans
1997
-
-
SLC
1994
-
-
Iowa
1992
-
<400
Colo Springs
1988
3
<200
Vegas
1983
4
-
Nashville
1978
4
-
Tacoma
1960
2
<200

Crane's problem is that the league has already undergone major upgrades in locations and physical plants. El Paso will be the permanent home to the interim Tucson Padres, who departed Portland when a stadium wasn't forthcoming. Nine of the PCL's franchises play in stadiums built in the last fifteen years, and five of those also involved relocations (El Paso, Reno, Albuquerque, Round Rock, Fresno). Colorado Springs doesn't draw well but is optimally located, as is Tacoma.

The two teams that stand out are the Las Vegas 51s and Nashville Sounds. Vegas has been the red-headed stepchild of the league for a while; none of the west coast teams wants to play there, so the franchise has awkwardly bedded down with Toronto and now the Mets. However, the 51s recently signed a 10-year lease extension on the city-owned park, so they couldn't be extricated easily.

Nashville is the one legitimate target. The Sounds' stadium isn't terribly old but lacks the revenue-generating amenities of modern facilities. The current and prior ownership have sought a new home within Nashville for a decade to no avail. As best as I can tell, the potential replacement venue still lacks a site and financing.

Moving an International League team to the Houston area is slightly trickier because it would probably require a concurrent switch to the PCL, but Nashville could easily recalibrate the leagues by moving to the IL. Here's the International League roster:

Team
Stadium Built
Bottom Four Attendance
Miles to Parent
Charlotte
2014
4
-
SWB
2013
3
<200
Columbus
2009
-
<200
Gwinnett
2009
4
<200
Lehigh
2008
-
<200
Toledo
2002
-
<200
Louisville
2000
-
<200
Syracuse
1997
2
<400
Rochester
1997
-
-
Indy
1996
-
<400
Durham
1995
-
-
Norfolk
1993
3
<200
Buffalo
1988
-
<200
Pawtucket
1970
-
<200

As with the PCL, candidates for relocation are lacking. Only two of the fourteen teams play in a stadium over twenty years of age. Of those, Buffalo has a solid track record and is owned by a Buffalo native, and the Paw Sox aren't going anywhere. As for teams that draw poorly, Charlotte actually plays across the border near Rock Hill, South Carolina. They should attract more fans in Charlotte proper, as should the renovated stadium between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. In terms of attendance and return on investment, Gwinnett has been a dismal failure for the county, which rushed into a publicly financed deal. Still, they certainly aren't going anywhere and aren't going to be sold by their owner, the Atlanta Braves. Norfolk doesn't draw especially well, but I've never heard any rumors about a move or sale. In sum, I don't see a obvious suitor in the International League.

Of course, Crane isn't prohibited from relocating a team already in a relatively new stadium, if the owners are willing and the cost of breaking a lease isn't too onerous. Still, I think this exercise makes clear that moving a team to The Woodlands won't be easy.


Sleater-Kinney, "Not What You Want," from Dig Me Out, 1997

Posted by Lucas at 02:09 PM

November 23, 2009

Competition

John Perrotto in his weekend update for Baseball Prospectus:

The Angels spent most of the first two months of the season in a fog. They were 29-29 on June 11 and 4½ games behind the Rangers in the division race. However, they went 68-36 the rest of the way...

LA's run of 68 wins in 104 games equaled a franchise best set during late 2006 through the middle of 2007.

As for the Rangers... well, over the course of 38 years, they've never gone 68-36. Their best effort in a single season was a 65-49 in 1999, their last division-winning season. During the back half of 1977 and into '78, they went 67-37.

So, there's another reason to hate (i.e, be jealous of) the Angels if you need one.

Photobucket

Posted by Lucas at 11:12 AM

November 25, 2008

Homegrown Starting Pitchers, Updated

A list of starting pitchers developed by AL West teams during the Wild Card era. Criteria for listing: Player originally drafted or signed by the respective team, pitched 162 innings (or one inning per team game in strike years), and not yet eligible for free agency.

Year Texas Los Angeles Oakland Seattle
2008
- John Lackey,
Ervin Santana,
Joe Saunders,
Jered Weaver
- Felix Hernandez
2007
- John Lackey Joe Blanton Felix Hernandez
2006
- John Lackey,
Ervin Santana
Joe Blanton,
Barry Zito
Felix Hernandez,
Gil Meche,
Joel Pineiro
2005
- John Lackey Joe Blanton,
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,
Joel Pineiro
2004
- John Lackey Rich Harden,
Tim Hudson,
Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,
Joel Pineiro
2003
- John Lackey,
Ramon Ortiz,
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,
Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,
Gil Meche,
Joel Pineiro
2002
- Ramon Ortiz,
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,
Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito
-
2001
Doug Davis Ramon Ortiz,
Scott Schoeneweis,
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,
Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito
-
2000
- Scott Schoeneweis Tim Hudson -
1999
- - - -
1998
- - - -
1997
Darren Oliver Jason Dickson - -
1996
Darren Oliver,
Roger Pavlik
- - -
1995
Roger Pavlik - - -
1994
Kevin Brown,
Kenny Rogers
- Todd Van Poppel Dave Fleming

Texas has developed only one homegrown starter during the last 11 seasons. Eighteen months after Davis qualified for the ERA title, Texas waived him.

Posted by Lucas at 01:11 PM

February 01, 2008

Wilkerson as a Mariner

My computer says .225/.317/.435. And then it says, "Don't make me think about Brad Wilkerson any more. Can we look at women in bikinis or something?"

Posted by Lucas at 01:38 AM

November 22, 2007

In The Year 2525...

...okay, not that far off.

But in the year 2011, the Angels will be paying 36-year-old Gary Matthews (career OBP+: 99) and 35-year-old Torii Hunter (career OBP+: 96) a combined $25 million (barring a trade or other event).

Better them than Texas.

Posted by Lucas at 02:39 AM

August 17, 2007

AL West Statistical Review

OFFENSE
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Scored/game
4.82
5.04
4.47
4.92
Park-Adj. League RS/Game
4.95
4.93
4.54
4.70
RS+
97
102
98
105
 
AVG
.258
.283
.252
.283
AVG+
96
103
96
107
OBP
.323
.342
.334
.337
OBP+
96
100
101
101
SLUG
.419
.414
.401
.419
SLUG+
99
98
99
102
Team OPS
.742
.756
.735
.756
Team OPS+
95
98
101
103
 
HR Rate
2.8%
1.9%
2.7%
2.5%
HRrate+
108
80
115
98
BB Rate
8%
8%
10%
7%
BBrate+
97
93
120
74
SO Rate
20%
14%
17%
14%
SOrate+
83
121
103
115
Steals / Caught
67 / 17
112 / 41
45 / 16
64 / 21

The Rangers rank only 6th in homers, but a less hitter-friendly park means they're still above average in that regard. As has often been the case in recent years, Texas doesn't reach base at an adequate rate. Contrary to popular opinioin, the concept of Texas's terrifying offense died with the departure of Alex Rodriguez. If anything, the '07 version is the blander brother of '04 and '05, when Texas augmented its deficient OBP with huge homer totals.

Only Tampa Bay and Cleveland strike out more often than Texas.

PITCHING
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Allowed/Game
5.33
4.38
4.31
4.87
Park-Adj. League RA/Game
4.95
4.93
4.54
4.70
RA+
93
115
104
101
 
ERA
4.90
4.07
3.93
4.61
Park-Adj. League ERA/Game
4.53
4.51
4.16
4.30
ERA+
92
111
106
93
Unearned Runs Allowed
63
45
49
39
 
Opp. AVG
.276
.263
.254
.277
Opp. OBP
.357
.325
.320
.344
Opp. OBP+
107
96
98
103
Opp. SLUG
.428
.407
.383
.422
Opp. SLUG+
102
97
95
103
Opp. OPS
.785
.732
.703
.766
Oppo. OPS+
109
93
93
107
 
HR Rate
2.4%
2.5%
2.0%
2.2%
HRrate+
104
112
138
118
BB Rate
10%
8%
9%
9%
BBrate+
79
118
109
101
SO Rate
14%
16%
15%
14%
SOrate+
91
115
105
96
Opp. Steals / Caught
67 / 36
80 / 21
89 / 23
57 / 24

Texas ranks last in walks allowed and 10th in strikeouts. The oppoing OPS+ of 109 is 13th in the AL, ahead of only Tampa Bay's crime against humanity (123 OPS+, .293/.363/.470).

ROTATION / BULLPEN
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Rotation IP/G
5.19
6.10
6.03
5.81
Rotation ERA
5.84
4.13
3.90
5.03
Park-Adj. League Rotation ERA
4.67
4.65
4.29
4.44
Rotation ERA+
80
113
110
88
 
Bullpen ERA
3.56
3.93
4.00
3.83
Park-Adj. League Bullpen ERA
4.24
4.23
3.90
4.03
Bullpen ERA+
119
108
97
105

Good bullpen, terrible rotation, forever and ever, amen. Tampa Bay's bullpen has a 6.52 ERA and a 65 ERA+.

PERIPHERALS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs per game
4.82
5.04
4.47
4.92
Expected RS/game
4.72
4.94
4.70
4.89
"Luck" per game
0.10
0.10
(0.23)
0.03
"Lucky" runs scored
12
12
(29)
4
 
Runs/G
5.33
4.38
4.31
4.87
Projected Runs / G
5.31
4.63
4.31
5.04
Luck per game
0.02
(0.25)
0.00
(0.17)
"Lucky" runs prevented
(2)
29
(0)
20
 
Total Luck
10
41
(29)
23

The Angels are always lucky. Bastards.

STANDINGS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Actual Wins
53
70
60
66
Pythagorean Wins
54
68
63
60
Peripheral Wins
53
63
66
57

After two months in which Texas appeared to have a better team than its actual record indicated, the Rangers' 53-67 mark now presents a depressingly accurate measure of quality. I did a double-take at the peripheral records of Oakland and LA, but Baseball Prospectus has them in the same order, albeit at 65 and 64 wins, respectively.

PARKS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Park Factor (OPS)
1.00
1.02
0.94
0.97
Park Factor (Runs)
1.02
1.01
0.93
0.97

Unseasonably cool weather and plain old luck have made The Ballpark less inclined to destroy pitchers lately. Traditionally pitcher-friendly-to-neutral Anaheim has moved the opposite way.

Posted by Lucas at 03:26 PM

June 27, 2007

All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up

Shea Hillenbrand:

I feel like I'm being pushed aside, put on a back-burner, and I don't like that at all. If I'm not going to play here, give me enough respect to trade me or get rid of me. I think I deserve that.

[If Manager Mike Scioscia] doesn't think I can help this team, there are teams out there I can help. I'm a quality player in the prime of my career. To go from playing every day to not playing at all, it's very disheartening.

We're winning, we're in first place, it could be a lot worse. But I know I can help this team win down the stretch, and you can't do that if you're not given the opportunity. I'm trying to stay positive, support my teammates. When you're winning, the last thing you want to be is a distraction.

I'm just not at a point in my career where I'm ready to sit on the bench.

Hillenbrand is batting .254/.275/.325.

220 MLB players have at least 200 plate appearances. He ranks 210th in on-base percentage, 211th in slugging percentage, and 216th in VORP.


Posted by Lucas at 09:39 AM

May 23, 2007

AL West Statistical Review

About the statistics: You're probably familiar with Baseball Reference's statistics OPS+ and ERA+. The "+" denotes conversion of the statistic to an index that is adjusted for each team's league and park. A score of 100 equates to an average performance in the particular statistic. For example, Texas plays in a hitter-friendly park and must score 5.1 runs per game to “break even.” Los Angeles, in a very pitcher-friendly park, has a break-even rate of about 4.8 runs per game. One can, if one is a nerd, use this indexing for any statistic: runs scored (RS+), runs allowed (RA+), on-base percentage, triples, and so on.

OFFENSE
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Scored/game
5.04
4.59
4.53
4.39
Park-Adj. League RS/Game
4.78
4.63
4.54
4.44
RS+
106
99
100
99
 
AVG
.250
.272
.252
.269
AVG+
95
102
98
106
OBP
.317
.325
.337
.320
OBP+
95
97
103
98
SLUG
.440
.399
.391
.407
SLUG+
106
98
97
102
Team OPS
.757
.724
.728
.727
Team OPS+
102
94
100
100
 
HR Rate
3.8%
1.9%
2.5%
2.6%
HRrate+
142
83
98
99
BB Rate
9%
7%
11%
6%
BBrate+
99
80
122
69
SO Rate
19%
13%
17%
12%
SOrate+
86
128
99
125
Steals / Caught
34 / 8
39 / 11
18 / 8
22 / 9

On a macro level, the Texas offense strongly resembles 2004 and 2006: high on homers, low on OBP, unexceptional overall. However, some recent high-scoring games have papered over a horrible April and the fact that Texas has scored five or more runs per game 10% less often than last year (43% vs 53%). Texas may have the best offense in the division, but surely it deserves no praise.

PITCHING
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Allowed/Game
5.59
3.67
3.84
4.95
Park-Adj. League RA/Game
4.78
4.59
4.53
4.39
RA+
86
125
118
89
 
ERA
5.12
3.43
3.47
4.74
Park-Adj. League ERA/Game
4.34
4.21
4.13
4.03
ERA+
85
123
119
85
Unearned Runs Allowed
28
15
16
14
 
Opp. AVG
.271
.248
.243
.276
Opp. OBP
.354
.316
.302
.342
Opp. OBP+
107
95
93
106
Opp. SLUG
.435
.383
.373
.414
Opp. SLUG+
106
95
93
105
Opp. OPS
.789
.699
.675
.756
Opp. OPS+
114
90
86
111
 
HR Rate
2.6%
2.2%
1.9%
1.6%
HRrate+
88
120
127
147
BB Rate
9%
8%
7%
7%
BBrate+
87
113
120
114
SO Rate
13%
18%
16%
12%
SOrate+
88
136
112
83
Opp. Steals / Caught
26 / 14
30 / 10
34 / 12
19 / 7

Texas ranks no higher than 11th in the AL in any “+” stat for pitching. Last year, the Rangers surrendered plenty of hits but kept walks and homers to acceptable levels. In 2007, on a team level, Texas has does nothing well from the mound. The Rangers no longer lead the league in unearned runs allowed. Thanks, Kansas City!

ROTATION / BULLPEN
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Rotation IP/G
5.3
6.1
6.2
5.5
Rotation ERA
6.01
3.24
3.11
5.65
Park-Adj. League Rotation ERA
4.39
4.34
4.29
4.23
Rotation ERA+
73
134
138
75
 
Bullpen ERA
3.77
3.85
4.27
3.15
Park-Adj. League Bullpen ERA
4.16
4.10
4.06
4.00
Bullpen ERA+
110
107
95
127

In terms of ERA+, Texas has the 5th best bullpen and worst rotation. No bullpen on Earth can mitigate a rotation with a 6.01 ERA.

PERIPHERALS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs per game
5.04
4.59
4.53
4.39
Expected RS/game
4.87
4.53
4.63
4.47
"Luck" per game
0.17
0.06
(0.10)
(0.08)
"Lucky" runs scored
8
3
(5)
(3)
 
Runs/G
5.59
3.67
3.84
4.95
Projected Runs / G
5.34
4.22
3.87
4.93
Luck per game
0.25
(0.54)
(0.03)
0.02
"Lucky" runs prevented
(11)
25
1
(1)
 
Total Luck
(3)
28
(3)
(4)

STANDINGS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Actual Wins
18
28
22
20
Actual Losses
28
18
23
21
Actual Win%
0.391
0.609
0.489
0.488
 
Pythag Wins
20.7
28.0
26.2
18.0
Pythag Losses
25.3
18.0
18.8
23.0
Pythag Win%
0.449
0.609
0.582
0.440
 
Periph Wins
20.9
24.6
26.5
18.5
Periph Losses
25.1
21.4
18.5
22.5
Periph Win%
0.454
0.535
0.589
0.451

Texas has been pretty unlucky both in terms of Pythagorean and peripheral wins, which most definitely is not to say that it is a good team in hiding. The bad luck bodes well regarding the probability of avoiding 100 losses, but that’s about it. If the Rangers perform at their peripheral win percentage from here on, they’ll win 71 games. Yippee.

PARKS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Park Factor (OPS)
1.00
1.00
0.96
0.94
Park Factor (Runs)
1.01
0.98
0.96
0.94

Posted by Lucas at 12:00 PM

May 09, 2007

Homegrown Starting Pitchers

A list of starting pitchers developed by AL West teams during the Wild Card era. Criteria for listing: Player originally drafted or signed by the respective team, pitched 162 innings (or one inning per team game in strike years), and not yet eligible for free agency.

Year Texas Los Angeles Oakland Seattle
2006
- John Lackey,
Ervin Santana
Joe Blanton,
Barry Zito
Felix Hernandez,
Gil Meche,
Joel Pineiro
2005
- John Lackey Joe Blanton,
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,
Joel Pineiro
2004
- John Lackey Rich Harden,
Tim Hudson,
Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,
Joel Pineiro
2003
- John Lackey,
Ramon Ortiz,
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,
Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito
Ryan Franklin,
Gil Meche,
Joel Pineiro
2002
- Ramon Ortiz,
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,
Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito
-
2001
Doug Davis Ramon Ortiz,
Scott Schoeneweis,
Jarrod Washburn
Tim Hudson,
Mark Mulder,
Barry Zito
-
2000
- Scott Schoeneweis Tim Hudson -
1999
- - - -
1998
- - - -
1997
Darren Oliver Jason Dickson - -
1996
Darren Oliver,
Roger Pavlik
- - -
1995
Roger Pavlik - - -
1994
Kevin Brown,
Kenny Rogers
- Todd Van Poppel Dave Fleming

Texas has developed only one homegrown starter during the last nine seasons. Eighteen months after Davis qualified for the ERA title, Texas waived him.

Posted by Lucas at 08:33 PM

August 01, 2006

Currently in Last Place

Your Texas Rangers.

Posted by Lucas at 01:02 AM

July 24, 2006

The Mighty West

Let no man (or woman) impugn the dignity of the AL West, the so-called weakest of the three divisions. Since the All-Star break, all but Los Angeles have played a merciless schedule, and all have surpassed expectations:

Team Opponents
Opp. Win%
Expected Record
Actual Wins
Oakland 4 @ BOS
3 @ BAL
3 @ DET
.647
3.5-6.5
6-4
Texas 4 @ BAL
3 @ TOR
1 @ BOS
3 @ CHW
.624
4.4-5.6
6-5
Los Angeles 3 vs TAM
3 vs CLE
4 @ KAN
.414
5.7-4.3
7-3
Seattle 3 @ TOR
3 @ NYY
3 vs BOS
.589
3.5-5.5
4-5

(Opp. Win% is the weighted average of the opponents' winning percentages at home or on the road, as applicable. Expected Record estimated with good old Log5.)

LA's cakewalk stumbles to a halt on Wednesday after they complete yet another series against Tampa Bay. The Angels had the easiest post-break schedule but have already burned through it. Now, they have the toughest remaining schedule:

Team
Home
Road
vs Big Six
vs Flab Four
vs Division
Opp. Win%
Los Angeles
33
31
23
11
30
.529
Seattle
31
34
19
17
29
.516
Texas
31
32
12
16
35
.504
Oakland
35
29
19
17
28
.500

(Big Six = Boston, New York, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago Minnesota; Flab Four = Kansas City, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Baltimore)

Notice how few games Texas has against the toughest opponents relative to their rivals. The Rangers host the Yankees this week, travel to Minnesota for three, and face Detroit six more times, all in Detroit. Gone are Boston, Chicago and Toronto, against whom Texas finished a keen 13-11.

Posted by Lucas at 01:14 AM

July 10, 2006

Scheduling the West

Every AL West team will play 74 games after the All-Star Break:

Team
Home
Road
vs. BOS, CHW, DET, NYY
vs KAN, TAM
Opp. Win%
Los Angeles 39 35 20 9 .514
Texas 31 43 10 7 .519
Oakland 35 39 16 10 .520
Seattle 34 40 16 10 .525

The last column is a weighted average of remaining opponents’ winning percentages and takes each team’s home and road record into consideration. Seems unfair that every team in the West must play a tougher-than-average schedule, yes? Well, courtesy of interleague play, the American League has an aggregate winning percentage of .523. Most Western teams actually catch a break because they play each other more than the teams atop the other divisions.

LA has the most games remaining at home but also has the most tough opponents, defined here as anyone more than ten games over .500. The Rangers will spend the most time on the road but is largely done with the toughest opponents. They also have only three more games against a strong Toronto club, while Oakland has seven.

Texas and Oakland meet up again on August 7th. Both teams have ferocious schedules until then, while LA gets to coast:

Team
Home
Road
vs. BOS, CHW, DET, NYY
vs KAN, TAM
Opp. Win%
Los Angeles 13 10 3 10 .500
Seattle 9 12 6 0 .539
Oakland 7 16 10 0 .557
Texas 6 18 7 3 .558

Might every team be under .500 in four weeks? Doubtful, but possible.

Posted by Lucas at 10:13 AM

July 04, 2006

The AL West Through July 3rd

Texas creeps past the halfway point as a nearly perfectly average ballclub: a 42-41 record, a park-adjusted index of 100 in runs scored, 99 in runs allowed, a team OPS+ of 101, and an OPS+ allowed of 100. The AL outscored the NL by a ridiculous 221 runs in interleague play, so an AL team must outscore its opponents by about sixteen runs just to be average.

Only three AL teams have fewer homers than Texas. The Rangers’ love of doubles (on pace for 393) has balanced the lack of long balls and kept their slugging percentage in the league’s midrange. Remarkably, the division’s best slugging team relative to home park is the usually basement-dwelling Seattle Mariners.

Texas and the Yankees are tied for fewest homers allowed in the AL. On the downside, only Baltimore and Kansas City have a lower ERA+ among starting rotations. LA ranks third in ERA but only ninth in runs allowed thanks to 58 unearned runs.

About the statistics: You're probably familiar with Baseball Reference's statistics OPS+ and ERA+. The "+" denotes conversion of the statistic to an index that is adjusted for each team's league and park. A score of 100 equates to an average performance in the particular statistic. For example, Texas plays in a hitter-friendly park and must score 5.1 runs per game to “break even.? Los Angeles, in a very pitcher-friendly park, has a break-even rate of about 4.8 runs per game. One can, if one is a nerd, use this indexing for any statistic: runs scored (RS+), runs allowed (RA+), on-base percentage, triples, and so on.

OFFENSE
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Games
83
82
82
84
Runs Scored
423
371
361
415
Runs Scored/game
5.10
4.52
4.40
4.94
Park-Adj. League RS/Game
5.11
4.77
5.04
4.87
RS+
100
95
87
102
 
AVG
.280
.257
.246
.271
OBP
.344
.318
.327
.327
OBP+
101
95
97
97
SLUG
.448
.398
.394
.428
SLUG+
100
94
92
102
Team OPS
.792
.716
.721
.755
Team OPS+
101
89
88
99
 
HR Rate
2.7%
2.4%
2.8%
2.7%
BB Rate
8%
8%
10%
7%
SO Rate
17%
16%
16%
15%
Steals / Caught
23 / 21
26 / 15
26 / 14
35 / 24

PITCHING
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Allowed
411
397
365
393
Runs Allowed/Game
4.95
4.84
4.45
4.68
Park-Adj. League RA/Game
4.91
4.58
4.85
4.68
RA+
99
95
109
100
 
ERA
4.72
4.17
4.16
4.41
Park-Adj. League ERA/Game
4.60
4.30
4.55
4.39
ERA+
98
103
109
99
Unearned Runs Allowed
28
58
24
26
 
Opp. AVG
.277
.256
.263
.263
Opp. OBP
.342
.318
.338
.331
Opp. OBP+
101
95
100
98
Opp. SLUG
.418
.410
.412
.423
Opp. SLUG+
93
97
96
101
Opp. OPS
.760
.728
.750
.754
Oppo. OPS+
100
98
102
105
 
HR Rate
2.3%
2.8%
2.6%
2.9%
BB Rate
8%
7%
9%
8%
SO Rate
16%
19%
15%
17%
Opp. Steals / Caught
29 / 23
37 / 22
41 / 23
35 / 22

ROTATION / BULLPEN
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Rotation IP/G
5.6
6.1
6.2
6.2
Rotation ERA
5.09
4.25
4.27
4.52
Park-Adj. League Rotation ERA
4.76
4.44
4.70
4.54
Rotation ERA+
94
105
110
100
 
Bullpen ERA
4.06
4.02
3.91
4.15
Park-Adj. League Bullpen ERA
4.28
3.99
4.23
4.08
Bullpen ERA+
105
99
108
98

PERIPHERALS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs per game
5.10
4.52
4.40
4.94
Expected RS/game
5.17
4.27
4.42
4.69
"Luck" per game
(0.08)
0.25
(0.02)
0.25
"Lucky" runs scored
(6)
21
(2)
21
 
Runs/G
4.95
4.84
4.45
4.68
Projected Runs / G
4.85
4.38
4.75
4.74
Luck per game
0.10
0.46
(0.30)
(0.06)
"Lucky" runs prevented
(8)
(38)
24
5
 
Total Luck
(15)
(17)
23
26

STANDINGS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Actual Wins
42
38
43
42
Actual Losses
41
44
39
42
Actual Win%
0.506
0.463
0.524
0.500
 
Pythag Wins
42.7
38.2
40.5
44.3
Pythag Losses
40.3
43.8
41.5
39.7
Pythag Win%
0.514
0.466
0.494
0.527
 
Periph Wins
44.2
40.0
38.1
41.6
Periph Losses
38.8
42.0
43.9
42.4
Periph Win%
0.532
0.488
0.465
0.495

PARKS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Park Factor (OPS)
1.02
0.95
0.98
0.95
Park Factor (Runs)
1.01
0.94
1.00
0.96

Posted by Lucas at 08:04 PM

June 03, 2006

The AL West Through May (Well, Through June 2)

The Rangers lead the division as they did after April. Recent issues with run scoring (4.25 runs per game over the last twelve) have pulled them down to seventh in the AL in runs scored, below average once accounting for park. Texas does have an OPS+ of 103, so they've scored fewer runs than their line of .278/.348/.457 would suggest. Observe Seattle's hacktastic walk rate of 6%; the Mariners trail even the pitiful Royals in bases on balls.

Texas has an ERA+ of 106. As in 2004, the Rangers are winning more with pitching and defense than hitting. The key is a remarkably stingy 51 homers allowed, nine fewer than any West opponent and third fewest in the league. Texas trails only the Yankees in park-adjusted slugging percentage allowed. The rotation has held strong while the bullpen has regained respectability after a rough start.

About the statistics: You're probably familiar with Baseball Reference's statistics OPS+ and ERA+. The "+" denotes conversion of the statistic to an index that is adjusted for each team's league and park. A score of 100 equates to an average performance in the particular statistic. For example, Texas plays in a hitter-friendly park and must score 5.2 runs per game to “break even.” Los Angeles, in a very pitcher-friendly park, has a break-even rate of about 4.8 runs per game. One can, if one is a nerd, use this indexing for any statistic: runs scored (RS+), runs allowed (RA+), on-base percentage, triples, and so on.

OFFENSE
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Games
54
54
55
56
Runs Scored
275
242
246
256
Runs Scored/game
5.09
4.48
4.47
4.57
Park-Adj. League RS/Game
5.14
4.74
5.05
4.81
RS+
99
95
89
95
 
AVG
.278
.252
.243
.264
OBP
.348
.310
.324
.318
OBP+
102
93
96
95
SLUG+
.457
.391
.404
.395
SLUG+
101
94
95
96
Team OPS
.805
.701
.728
.713
Team OPS+
103
87
91
91
 
HR Rate
3.2%
2.4%
3.3%
2.1%
BB Rate
9%
7%
10%
6%
SO Rate
17%
16%
15%
15%
Steals / Caught
11 / 9
51 / 15
13 / 7
41 / 18

PITCHING
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Allowed
265
273
251
275
Runs Allowed/Game
4.91
5.06
4.56
4.91
Park-Adj. League RA/Game
5.18
4.77
5.09
4.84
RA+
106
94
111
99
 
ERA
4.65
4.58
4.37
4.65
Park-Adj. League ERA/Game
4.91
4.53
4.82
4.59
ERA+
106
99
110
99
Unearned Runs Allowed
18
29
15
18
 
Opp. AVG
.271
.263
.266
.260
Opp. OBP
.336
.323
.341
.331
Opp. OBP+
98
97
101
99
Opp. SLUG
.412
.424
.424
.426
Opp. SLUG+
91
102
100
103
Opp. OPS
.748
.747
.765
.757
Oppo. OPS+
90
98
101
102
 
HR Rate
2.5%
3.1%
2.9%
3.2%
BB Rate
8%
7%
9%
9%
SO Rate
16%
18%
15%
17%
Opp. Steals / Caught
19 / 14
26 / 13
25 / 19
30 / 12

ROTATION / BULLPEN
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Rotation IP/G
5.5
5.8
6.0
6.0
Rotation ERA
4.84
4.78
4.55
4.75
Park-Adj. League Rotation ERA
5.13
4.73
5.03
4.79
Rotation ERA+
106
99
111
101
 
Bullpen ERA
4.33
4.28
4.07
4.71
Park-Adj. League Bullpen ERA
4.57
4.21
4.49
4.27
Bullpen ERA+
106
98
110
91

PERIPHERALS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs per game
5.09
4.48
4.47
4.57
Expected RS/game
5.36
4.16
4.47
4.25
"Luck" per game
(0.27)
0.33
(0.00)
0.33
"Lucky" runs scored
(14)
18
(0)
18
 
Runs/G
4.91
5.06
4.56
4.91
Projected Runs / G
4.68
4.62
4.89
4.82
Luck per game
0.23
0.43
(0.32)
0.09
"Lucky" runs prevented
(13)
(23)
18
(5)
 
Total Luck
(27)
(6)
18
13

STANDINGS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Actual Wins
29
24
25
24
Actual Losses
25
30
30
32
Actual Win%
.537
.444
.455
.429
 
Pythag Wins
28.0
23.8
26.9
26.0
Pythag Losses
26.0
30.2
28.1
30.0
Pythag Win%
.519
.440
.490
.464
 
Periph Wins
30.7
24.1
25.1
24.5
Periph Losses
23.3
29.9
29.9
31.5
Periph Win%
.568
.447
.456
.437

PARKS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Park Factor (OPS)
1.05
0.95
0.98
0.94
Park Factor (Runs)
1.03
0.95
1.01
0.96

Posted by Lucas at 11:29 AM

May 01, 2006

The AL West In April

That the Rangers lead the West after one month is not surprising in and of itself. Most of the Baseball Punditry credited Texas with a competitive team and a dark-horse candidacy for the division title. The surprise emanates from leading despite a 2-7 start, the preseason loss of notional #2 starter Adam Eaton, the (hopefully temporary) self-immolation of closer Francisco Cordero, the failure of notional #4 starter Robinson Tejeda to succeed in AAA, much less the Majors, Brad Wilkerson’s statue-like performance as a leadoff hitter, etc. That list suggests a 10-15 record.

While the Ranger lead stems in part from the lack of any division opponent to catch fire, this team is no fluke. They’ve been slightly lucky, scoring about nine runs over what their peripherals suggest, but they also lead the West in park-adjusted runs scored and allowed.

About the statistics: You're probably familiar with Baseball Reference's statistics OPS+ and ERA+. The "+" denotes conversion of the statistic to an index that is adjusted for each team's league and park. A score of 100 equates to an average performance in the particular statistic. For example, Texas plays in a hitter-friendly park and must score 5.2 runs per game to “break even.” Los Angeles, in a very pitcher-friendly park, has a break-even rate of about 4.8 runs per game. One can, if one is a nerd, use this indexing for any statistic: runs scored (RS+), runs allowed (RA+), on-base percentage, triples, and so on.

OFFENSE
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Games
25
25
24
26
Runs Scored
136
112
110
114
Runs Scored/game
5.44
4.48
4.58
4.38
Park-Adj. League RS/Game
5.20
4.78
5.20
4.93
RS+
105
94
88
89
 
AVG
.282
.259
.232
.249
OBP
.348
.302
.316
.315
OBP+
102
91
94
93
SLUG+
.459
.404
.408
.389
SLUG+
100
96
94
93
Team OPS
.807
.706
.724
.704
Team OPS+
102
87
88
87
 
HR Rate
3.3%
2.5%
3.8%
2.0%
BB Rate
9%
5%
10%
7%
SO Rate
19%
14%
17%
16%
Steals / Caught
6 / 7
21 / 6
3 / 5
23 / 7

PITCHING
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Allowed
123
117
119
126
Runs Allowed/Game
4.92
4.68
4.96
4.85
Park-Adj. League RA/Game
5.20
4.78
5.20
4.93
RA+
106
102
105
102
 
ERA
4.71
4.09
4.74
4.58
Park-Adj. League ERA/Game
4.95
4.55
4.95
4.70
ERA+
105
111
104
103
Unearned Runs Allowed
7
17
7
8
 
Opp. AVG
.280
.246
.266
.270
Opp. OBP
.337
.318
.345
.348
Opp. OBP+
99
96
102
103
Opp. SLUG
.463
.399
.425
.444
Opp. SLUG+
101
94
98
107
Opp. OPS
.800
.717
.770
.792
Oppo. OPS+
100
90
100
110
 
HR Rate
3.3%
3.1%
2.7%
3.3%
BB Rate
7%
9%
9%
9%
SO Rate
17%
19%
17%
18%
Opp. Steals / Caught
9 / 8
12 / 6
10 / 12
14 / 4

ROTATION / BULLPEN
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Rotation IP/G
5.7
5.7
5.9
5.9
Rotation ERA
4.54
4.88
5.60
4.28
Park-Adj. League Rotation ERA
5.14
4.72
5.14
4.87
Rotation ERA+
113
97
92
114
 
Bullpen ERA
5.01
2.65
3.03
5.17
Park-Adj. League Bullpen ERA
4.60
4.23
4.61
4.37
Bullpen ERA+
92
160
152
84

PERIPHERALS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs per game
5.44
4.48
4.58
4.38
Expected RS/game
5.36
4.16
4.37
4.26
"Luck" per game
0.08
0.32
0.22
0.13
"Lucky" runs scored
2
8
5
3
 
Runs/G
4.92
4.68
4.96
4.85
Projected Runs / G
5.22
4.34
4.93
5.36
Luck per game
(0.30)
0.34
0.03
(0.51)
"Lucky" runs prevented
7
(8)
(1)
13
 
Total Luck
9
(0)
4
17

STANDINGS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Actual Wins
13
12
12
11
Actual Losses
12
13
12
15
Actual Win%
.520
.480
.500
.423
 
Pythag Wins
13.8
12.0
11.1
11.7
Pythag Losses
11.2
13.0
12.9
14.3
Pythag Win%
.550
.478
.461
.450
 
Periph Wins
12.8
12.0
10.6
10.1
Periph Losses
12.2
13.0
13.4
15.9
Periph Win%
.514
.478
.440
.387

PARKS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Park Factor (OPS)
1.05
0.95
0.99
0.95
Park Factor (Runs)
1.02
0.94
1.02
0.97

Posted by Lucas at 06:29 PM

August 12, 2005

Flight of Icarus

AL West on June 1:

TEX 30-20
LAA 30-22 -1.0
SEA 21-30 -9.5
OAK 19-32 -11.5

AL West since June 1:

OAK 47-16
ANA 35-27 -11.5
SEA 28-34 -18.5
TEX 26-38 -21.5

Posted by Lucas at 08:36 AM

August 06, 2005

AL West Stat Roundup

I was out of town most of the week, so here's the statistical roundup for the West through August 5th.

OFFENSE
TEXAS
L.A.
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Scored
589
504
524
476
Average
.270
.267
.265
.259
OBA
.333
.321
.334
.317
SLUG
.474
.404
.404
.396
Steals
39
102
23
68
Caught Stealing
12
37
14
30
 
RS+
105
99
98
98
Team OPS+
104
92
94
93

As has been the case all season, Texas is the only team in the West with a solid offense. Remember that the "+" sysmbol indicates the statistic has been adjusted for the home park.

PITCHING
TEXAS
L.A.
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Opp. Runs Scored
563
434
463
500
Average
.279
.252
.242
.269
Opp. OBA
.343
.314
.311
.338
Opp. SLUG
.433
.396
.386
.422
Opp. Steals
36
42
76
56
Opp. Caught
20
27
18
26
Unearned Runs
42
36
53
33
Oppo. OPS+
101
91
85
108
 
RA
5.26
4.02
4.29
4.67
Adj. League RA
5.13
4.59
4.84
4.44
RA+
97
114
113
95
 
ERA
4.91
3.67
3.83
4.48
Adj. League ERA
4.77
4.27
4.50
4.13
ERA+
97
116
118
92
 
ROTATION / BP
Rotation IP/G
5.64
6.28
6.19
5.86
Rotation ERA
5.08
3.82
3.96
5.14
Rotation ERA+
94
112
114
80
Bullpen ERA
4.62
3.34
3.53
3.15
Bullpen ERA+
103
128
128
131

Sure, the Texas rotation has collapsed, but check out Seattle, which has a higher ERA even ignoring park effects. Lost in the tatters of the Ranger rotation is a bullpen that has quietly approached respectability. Even so, they're well behind their division rivals and a faint whisper of their 2004 performance.

PERIPHERALS
TEXAS
L.A.
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs per game
5.50
4.67
4.85
4.45
Expected R/g
5.34
4.42
4.59
4.24
Luck per game
0.17
0.25
0.26
0.21
"Lucky" runs scored
18
27
29
23
 
Runs/G
5.21
4.02
4.29
4.67
Projected Runs / G
5.03
4.16
4.13
4.86
Luck per game
0.19
(0.14)
0.16
(0.19)
"Lucky" runs allowed
(20)
15
(17)
20
 
TOTAL LUCK
(2)
42
12
43

Everyone in the West is scoring more than expected according to my magic formulae. Of course, I could be wrong, but my estimate of total runs scored and allowed for the league is very close to even.

STANDINGS
TEXAS
L.A.
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Actual Wins
54
63
62
47
Actual Losses
54
46
47
61
Actual Win%
0.500
0.578
0.569
0.435
 
Pythag Wins
55.9
62.0
60.6
50.9
Pythag Losses
51.1
46.0
47.4
56.1
Pythag Win%
0.523
0.574
0.562
0.475
 
Periph Wins
56.7
57.3
59.6
46.2
Periph Losses
50.3
50.7
48.4
60.8
Periph Win%
0.530
0.530
0.552
0.432

Texas continues to play nearly at the level of Oakland and LA, though you wouldn't know it from watching the product on the field lately.

PARKS
TEXAS
L.A.
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Park Factor (OPS)
1.07
0.99
1.01
0.95
Park Factor (Runs)
1.09
0.98
1.03
0.94

I decided that one-year park factors were too volatile (the Texas factor was actually pitcher-friendly until June, when the temperature shot up). These are factors from 2004 to present.

Posted by Lucas at 12:25 PM

July 13, 2005

AL West At The Break

PARK FACTORS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
OPS 1.056 .966 1.000 .952
Runs 1.031 .944 1.061 .970

OFFENSE
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Games
86
88
87
87
Runs Scored
476
420
400
377
RS+
112
105
90
93
Average
.272
.274
.264
.259
OBA
.332
.326
.336
.319
SLUG
.480
.419
.395
.392
Team OPS+
107
100
94
93
Steals
28
73
21
57
Caught Stealing
8
32
14
26

Texas outshines its division peers offensively, even when accounting for the hitter-happy Ballpark. The OPS+ of 107 would be the sixth-best in franchise history if it holds up, and the slugging percentage of .480 would be the best. It would be better if not for the out machines manning center and right field. Richard Hidalgo has batted worse than replacement-level.

PITCHING
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Opp. Runs Scored
430
355
386
388
RA+
96
109
112
102
Opp. AVG
.277
.255
.244
.259
Opp. OBA
.340
.316
.315
.330
Opp. SLUG
.422
.400
.388
.407
Oppo. OPS+
99
96
89
103
Opp. Steals
30
35
67
50
Opp. Caught
17
22
14
18
-
-
-
-
-
ERA
4.78
3.79
3.95
4.24
ERA+
94
108
117
100
- - - - -
Rotation IP/G
5.71
6.22
6.01
5.90
Rotation ERA
4.71
3.85
4.03
4.87
Rotation ERA+
95
107
115
87
Bullpen ERA
4.86
3.53
3.72
2.96
Bullpen ERA+
92
116
124
143
-
-
-
-
-
Unearned Runs
25
22
48
28

Even with the recent chaos, Texas has fielded a fairly stable rotation compared to last year. Sadly, this has not resulted in improved performance despite the heroics of Kenny Rogers and Chris Young, as the 2004 rotation had an ERA+ of 98. The Rangers can survive a mediocre rotation, but they have no hope of winning without substantial improvement from the bullpen. The 2004 version was the best in the league; this year's corps is easily the worst in the division.

PERIPHERALS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Runs Scored / Game
5.53
4.77
4.60
4.33
Expected Runs / G
5.39
4.62
4.53
4.24
Luck / Game
0.15
0.15
0.06
0.10
Off. Lucky Runs
13
13
6
8
-
-
-
-
-
Runs Allowed / Game
5.00
4.03
4.44
4.46
Expected Runs / G
4.87
4.24
4.25
4.62
Luck / Game
0.13
(0.21)
0.19
(0.16)
Def. Lucky Runs
(11)
18
(16)
14
-
-
-
-
-
Total Lucky Runs
1
31
(11)
22

STANDINGS
TEXAS
LA ANGELS
OAKLAND
SEATTLE
Actual Wins
46
52
44
39
Actual Losses
40
36
43
48
Actual Win%
.535
.591
.506
.448
-
-
-
-
-
Pythag Wins
47.4
51.3
45.0
42.2
Pythag Losses
38.6
36.7
42.0
44.8
Pythag Win%
.551
.583
.518
.486
-
-
-
-
-
Periph Wins
47.4
47.8
46.3
39.8
Periph Losses
38.6
40.2
40.7
47.2
Periph Win%
.551
.543
.533
.457

Texas leads the Peripheral Amercian League West! Seriously, the Rangers can take heart that they're not playing any worse than Anaheim. Texas unfortunately cannot erase their five-game deficit with peripherals.

Posted by Lucas at 11:42 AM

July 05, 2005

Texas At The Midway Point, Part 2

2005 versus 2004

STANDINGS
2005
2004
Actual Wins
43
89
Actual Won-Loss Pct.
.531
.549
"Pythagorean Wins"
45.2
87.5
"Pythagorean" Won-Loss Pct.
.558
.540
Wins based on peripheral stats
44.1
81.3
Won-Loss Pct. based on peripheral stats
.545
.502

Texas is only three games off their 46-35 record from one year ago. I have to confess the margin feels larger, perhaps because last year's success was so unexpected and 2005's June was a trainwreck. Texas did everything "right" in 2004, finishing sixteen games over .500 despite middling peripherals. This year, their record reflects a pretty good squad but none of last year's good luck.

OFFENSE
2005
2004
Runs scored per game
5.43
5.31
Expected runs scored per game based on peripherals
5.31
5.06
"Lucky" runs (positive = lucky)
10
41
-
-
-
Batting Average
.270
.266
On-Base Percentage
.331
.329
Slugging Percentage
.473
.457
Net steals per game
0.12
(0.02)
-
-
Park Factor (OPS)
1.042
1.056
OPS+
108
98

In 2004, the allegedly powerful Ranger offense was largely a mirage based on park effects. They slugged with abandon but didn't reach base enough, finishing .011 below the park-adjusted league average for OBP. (Incidentally, I despise complaints like "Texas is over-reliant on the home run," as if the team could somehow hit too many home runs. Perhaps the issue is semantic, but such statements place the blame on what Texas does well instead of where they're lacking. Instead, say "Texas doesn't hit enough for average or draw enough walks.") So far in 2005, run-scoring is down about one-quarter run per game league-wide, and The Ballpark has played less hitter-friendly than during 2002-2004. Thus, Texas's seemingly insignificant increase of 0.12 runs per game is really quite an accomplishment.

PITCHING / DEFENSE
2005
2004
Runs allowed per game
4.84
4.90
Expected runs allowed per game based on peripherals
4.85
5.04
"Lucky" runs (positive = lucky)
1
23
-
-
-
Opp. Batting Average
.277
.274
Opp. On-Base Percentage
.339
.344
Opp. Slugging Percentage
.421
.432
Net steals allowed per game
(0.04)
(0.04)
-
-
-
Opponent OPS+
98
97
-
-
-
Park Factor (runs)
1.007
1.100
RA+
96
112
ERA+
93
112
-
-
-
Rotation innings per game
5.79
5.56
Rotation ERA
4.53
5.16
Rotation ERA+
96
99
Bullpen ERA
4.86
3.46
Bullpen ERA+
89
147
-
-
-
Unearned Runs Allowed
21
70

Likewise, because of a friendlier home park and lower scoring nation-wide, allowing 0.06 fewer runs per game is not cause for celebration. The Ballpark had a park-adjusted league-average ERA of over 5.00 in 2004. This year so far, it's only 4.34. Depressingly, the rotation on the whole has performed no better than the seventeen-man 2004 version. Texas has Kenny Rogers, Chris Young, and a month of Ricardo Rodriguez. The rest: a beehive swarming with earned runs. Worse still, the bullpen that made Texas a winner in 2004 has collapsed in injury and ineffectiveness. The retooled crew has performed much better of late, but Texas can't hope to fully overcome the loss of Frank Francisco and Carlos Almanzar.

Inconceivable though it may seem, the 2004 pitching staff offered the fourth-best performance in the American League and also the fourth-best in Ranger history in terms of ERA+. I swear it is true. In 2005, they're not quite average.

Posted by Lucas at 06:04 PM

Texas At The Midway Point, Part 1

Texas versus the AL West

STANDINGS
Texas
LA
Oakland
Seattle
Actual Wins
43
50
40
35
Actual Won-Loss Pct.
.531
.610
.494
.432
"Pythagorean Wins"
45.2
50.4
41.5
37.6
"Pythagorean" Won-Loss Pct.
.558
.615
.512
.464
Wins based on peripheral stats
44.1
45.5
42.7
35.2
Won-Loss Pct. based on peripheral stats
.545
.555
.527
.435

Division-leading Los Angeles set a franchise record with 51 wins after 81 games. As is often the case, they've won more games than their peripherals would suggest. Oakland has risen from the dead to reach the outskirts of the division race. Texas is playing better than the 2004 squad in some respects, while Seattle isn't quite bad enough to be interesting.

OFFENSE
Texas
LA
Oakland
Seattle
Runs scored per game
5.43
4.85
4.51
4.16
Expected runs scored per game based on peripherals
5.31
4.64
4.40
4.07
"Lucky" runs (positive = lucky)
10
18
8
7
-
-
-
-
-
Batting Average
.270
.275
.260
.254
On-Base Percentage
.331
.326
.334
.313
Slugging Percentage
.473
.419
.385
.384
Net steals per game
0.12
0.15
(0.11)
0.07
-
-
-
-
-
Park Factor (OPS)
1.042
.959
1.023
.960
OPS+
108
102
90
89

Unlike last year's park-driven effort, the 2005 Ranger offense really is good and easily the class of the division. Anaheim batted .308 in June to build a seven-game lead, but no other team relies so heavily on base hits. If they bat .260 and tally a few fewer hits with runners on base, they'll suffer greatly. One can hope. Oakland was sporting an OPS+ of about 80 six weeks ago; a solid June has propelled them from historic wretchedness to ordinary wretchedness. Even considering Safeco-diminished expectations, the Mariners don't reach base or hit or power.

PITCHING / DEFENSE
Texas
LA
Oakland
Seattle
Runs allowed per game
4.84
3.84
4.40
4.47
Expected runs allowed per game based on peripherals
4.85
4.15
4.17
4.64
"Lucky" runs (positive = lucky)
1
25
18
(14)
-
-
-
-
-
Opp. Batting Average
.277
.251
.241
.259
Opp. On-Base Percentage
.339
.312
.313
.331
Opp. Slugging Percentage
.421
.397
.383
.406
Net steals allowed per game
(0.04)
(0.11)
0.43
0.19
-
-
-
-
-
Opponent OPS+
98
92
83
100
-
-
-
-
-
Park Factor (runs)
1.007
.934
1.092
.983
RA+
96
112
115
101
ERA+
93
112
120
98
-
-
-
-
-
Rotation innings per game
5.79
6.23
6.07
5.84
Rotation ERA
4.53
3.64
4.02
4.98
Rotation ERA+
96
110
117
85
Bullpen ERA
4.86
3.38
3.64
3.08
Bullpen ERA+
89
119
129
137
-
-
-
-
-
Unearned Runs Allowed
21
21
46
21

Yes, they've been lucky, but Los Angeles features a solid rotation and superior bullpen. I fear that their offense must decline sharply for Texas to catch them. Conversely, Texas could catch up with improvement from the bullpen and something to quiet the giant sucking sounds coming from center and right field. Oakland has both the best and worst defense in the West. They lead in Defesive Efficiency but have the lowest fielding percentage. Also, they have allowed a division-worst 31 runners to reach via error and caught only 18% of would-be basestealers.

Coming soon: an explanation of how I calculate "expected runs" and "luck." You'll just have to take my word for the moment.

Posted by Lucas at 05:09 PM

June 04, 2005

AL West Statistical Review

(Statistics are through May 31. Yeah, I'm late.)

Standings

STANDINGS
Texas
Los Angeles
Oakland
Seattle
Actual Won-Loss Pct.
.600
.577
.373
.412
"Pythagorean" Won-Loss Pct.
.608
.560
.369
.444
Won-Loss Pct. based on peripherals
.585
.449
.384
.431

Texas would lead the division by six games if the standings were based on peripheral statistics. Los Angeles hitters have an OPS of .692 and their pitchers have allowed an OPS of .728, yet the Angels have outscored their opponents by 26 runs and are virtually tied with Texas.

Offense

OFFENSE
Texas
Los Angeles
Oakland
Seattle
Runs scored per game
5.60
4.38
3.94
4.25
Expected runs scored per game
5.31
3.93
3.76
4.01
"Lucky" runs (positive = lucky)
15
23
9
12
 
Batting Average
.272
.252
.243
.250
On-Base Percentage
.333
.303
.320
.312
Slugging Percentage
.473
.389
.345
.381
Net steals per game
0.08
0.12
(0.06)
0.10
 
Park Factor (hitting)
1.021
.986
1.019
.985
OPS+
112
89
77
90

Texas is the class of the division. Put another way, the rest of the division is an embarrassment. LA has drawn far fewer walks than any team in the league. Their average-driven strategy works fine when they hit .280; when they hit .250, they have little to offer. Seattle has to be sorely disappointed in their minimal improvement from 2004 given the additions of Beltre and Sexson. Beltre's struggles and gaping holes at short and catcher have kept them down. Oakland's 77 OPS+ is a function of everyone hitting terribly simultaneously. That said, they won't be a good team at the plate even if Eric Chavez and Jason Kendall wake up. Note: "Net steals per game" = ( steals - caught stealing*2 ) / games played.

Pitching

PITCHING / DEFENSE
Texas
Los Angeles
Oakland
Seattle
Runs allowed per game
4.50
3.88
5.16
4.76
Expected runs allowed per game
4.47
4.36
4.76
4.61
"Lucky" runs (positive = lucky)
(2)
25
(20)
(8)
 
Opp. Batting Average
.268
.260
.254
.259
Opp. On-Base Percentage
.332
.322
.333
.327
Opp. Slugging Percentage
.400
.406
.404
.412
Net steals allowed per game
(0.18)
(0.23)
0.69
0.18
 
Park Factor (pitching)
.958
.983
1.111
1.030
ERA+
95
118
104
96
 
Rotation innings per game
6.11
6.29
5.74
5.84
Rotation ERA
3.97
3.80
4.86
5.21
Bullpen ERA
5.02
3.03
4.06
3.16

Los Angeles has had the best pitching in the division, though again, they've also had the best luck. A solid rotation and tremendous top three in the bullpen should keep them in contention no matter what the offense does. Texas amazingly has surrendered the lowest slugging percentage in the division. Oakland hasn't pitched terribly in the aggregate, but bullpen acquisitions Juan Cruz and Kiko Calero have cratered, and closer Octavio Dotel won't even be trade bait after electing to have elbow surgery. Seattle had a terrible rotation in 2004 and has done nothing to improve it.

Posted by Lucas at 02:14 PM