4/20/16

Reese Kaplan -- No Clear Road Map to the Playoffs

5 comments
In 2015 ten teams made the playoffs in both leagues.  While it was Kansas City that inevitably prevailed against the Mets for the World Series championship, the other teams in the post season each had their own strengths and weaknesses that made them formidable opponents.   Some were good at hitting, others at power, others at pitching yet there didn’t seem to be a magic formula that would guarantee success. 

What I did was arbitrarily take a look at aggregate totals in each league for several offensive and pitching categories to analyze how teams progressed as far as they did, and frankly I’m a bit stumped.  There doesn't appear to be a clear route to take when looking for post-season success, though it does seem to lean heavily in the direction of pitching being far more valuable in this regard than hitting.  Have a look at the numbers and see what conclusions you can draw:









AVG
HR
RBIs
OBP
SB%
OFF AVG
Astros
21
2
1
6
14
8.80
Blue Jays
2
1
6
1
1
2.20
Rangers
10
11
3
3
11
7.60
Royals
3
24
7
7
4
9.00
Yankees
17
4
2
2
15
8.00








AVG
HR
RBIs
OBP
SB%
OFF AVG
Cardinals
12
25
19
24
24
20.80
Cubs
29
12
16
16
13
17.20
Dodgers
19
6
24
10
26
17.00
Mets
28
9
17
17
21
18.40
Pirates
9
23
14
11
19
15.20








ERA
SV
K
WHIP
P AVG
OVERALL
Astros
6
22
13
5
11.50
10.00
Blue Jays
12
29
26
7
18.50
9.44
Rangers
23
12
29
26
22.50
14.22
Royals
10
3
22
13
12.00
10.33
Yankees
17
6
5
14
10.50
9.11








ERA
SV
K
WHIP
P AVG
OVERALL
Cardinals
1
1
11
11
6.00
14.22
Cubs
3
7
1
1
3.00
10.89
Dodgers
5
8
3
3
4.75
11.56
Mets
4
5
10
2
5.25
12.56
Pirates
2
4
9
10
6.25
11.22

There are some obvious things that jump out.  First, the offensive numbers in the DH league are understandably higher.  The pitching numbers in the non-DH league are understandably better. 

Now let’s get to specific teams.  The Blue Jays were, off the top of most people’s heads, considered an offensive powerhouse.  The numbers mirror this conclusion with an Offensive Average (OFF AVG) ranking far better than any other team.  What perhaps was less obvious about the Blue Jays was their great success in stolen bases.  It’s not necessarily how many you steal that matters as much as your success rate since a failed stolen base has negative impact on a team’s ability to score runs.  Unfortunately just as strong as the bats were for Toronto, the pitching was second worst of any post-season team.  Just as the conventional wisdom says that defense wins championships in football, so too does preventing scoring (pitching) help to win in baseball. 

Notice that the eventual champion Royals trailed the rest of the AL post-season teams in offense, but made up for it on the other side of the ledger with a top 3 ranking in terms of pitching success.  They also led in Saves overall, though the measure of a bullpen is far more than who finishes the final out.  The Mets learned quite well last October the value of bullpen depth when it comes to winning games.

Based upon these numbers if cumulative stats were all it took, it would appear the crosstown rival New York Yankees win the dubious honor of underachievers as they ranked in the middle of the pack in offense and led all in pitching, yet didn’t progress very far at all. 

On the NL side most people would have guessed the young sluggers of the Cubs would put them at the top, yet it was surprisingly the Pittsburgh Pirates who were the cream of the crop when it came to offensive prowess.  They hit for average and got on base, but didn’t produce much with the long ball nor score as many runs as their competitors.  Their pitching was, unfortunately, their inevitable downfall.

The Cubbies were in the middle of the pack offensively but turned out to have the best pitching numbers against such stiff competition from teams like the Mets and Dodgers. 

Looking at the final overall averages for the NL, the Cubs, Pirates and Dodgers all underachieved against the Mets whose finish in 4th of 5 post season teams’ cumulative averages was probably skewed a bit by their very mediocre first half of the season.  These numbers didn’t reflect month-to-month performance averages to take into account momentum going into the playoffs.

5 comments:

Metsiac said...

What jumped out at me was the Mets pitchers only 10th in Ks. Of. Course it was skewed by Thor not joining the team until mid-year, but still...

Thomas Brennan said...

I think the Mets have a winning formula this year.

Last year, the marginal hitters in the line up were frankly poor. This year, really everyone can and should hit, and the power difference is startling. Health is key. If there are injuries, we won't fall off an offensive cliff like last year.

Defense is up a tick.

The pen is much better than early in 2015 and well above average.

The starters, presuming health including Zach Wheeler, are better full year than last year.

The Nats have a strong team, and if Harper decides to go Ruthian this year, we may need our big guy Cespedes to try to stay close to him (meaning hit at least 40) in order to win the division. I think Cespedes is up to the challenge.

eraff said...

3 weeks in and no clear path to the Playoffs?

Reese Kaplan said...

No, I think you misinterpreted what I said. I was just looking at whether some magic formula existed with X number of parts slugging, Y number of parts starting pitching and Z number of parts of bullpen prowess assured success. I wasn't being critical (this time) :)

eraff said...

I'm a big fan of a Long, entertaining Baseball Season...the lack of guarantees and "clear paths" makes sports the most enduring of all "Reality Shows"

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