Archive for the ‘Sabermetrics’ Category

Eno Saris has just written an article about how good Matt Cain was as he exits the Field of Dreams.

In this article he references the leader of quality starts without wins,


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A look at few of the better pitchers in the NATIONAL LEAGUE.

Pitching Statistics
Kershaw 236.0 8.85 0.92 1.83 232 33 11 .243 2.55 304 315
Bumgarner 201.1 8.90 1.03 2.77 199 31 15 .244 3.11 261 273
Wainwright 241.2 8.16 1.07 2.94 219 34 16 .291 2.71 352 342
Gonzalez 195.2 8.83 1.25 3.36 192 32 17 .278 3.54 245 300
Bailey 209.0 8.57 1.12
199 32 20 .273 3.40 283 302

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With the NFL labor battle taking shape, the talk of any football is clearly on mute until that matter reaches a resolution. But, this just in: It’s baseball time again! As we speak, the Boys of Summer are on their way to spring training camps across Florida and Arizona. The pitchers and catchers arrive early, in order to get their arms warmed for the first game which starts on February 26th.

Over the next few weeks, the focus here at Baseball Happenings will be getting you thinking baseball again. Just like the players, managers, and the general managers, you have to prepare for the upcoming season. Fantasy baseball or Roto for that matter is all about making good business decisions.

There are certain strategies for the typical rotation drafts, and other ways for participating in a full blown auction draft.

I dabble in fantasy play. Or, you could say I live and breathe fantasy baseball. Each year I play in two NL only auction leagues. In addition, I am a commissioner for one mixed league rotation draft, and have a few other pending leagues that are getting started up.

Here we use both the traditional statistics such that are used in typical 5×5 leagues. As well, we make use of sabermetrics to help with some of the decision making.

Moreover, this year I plan on discussing some of the new strategies I have learned over this off season. These are ideas I have never used before, but have become educated on the new ideas.

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Those of you who have been following my site for a while know I am big time into fantasy baseball. In past years,  my favorite resource for getting ready for the draft and the baseball season is USA Today’s must see LABR draft issue. The LABR issue comes out in late March. Until then, there is a wide variety of publications to choose from at reasonable costs.

Leading off is another edition of the DRAYS BAY Annual. This is by far the best one yet, with a bunch of talented writers contributing. I never imagined that the DRB franchise would evolve into such am intelligent community.

Next on the new ticket, is an introductory sabermetrics book just published last week by Lee Panas that is titled Beyond Batting Average. This book introduces fans to sabermetrics with easy to understand explanations and examples. My site was even referenced in the book:

Both the BA/OBP/SLG and BA/EOBP/ISO combinations are limited, due to the fact that they fail to take playing time into account.  For example, a hitter with a .300 BA/.360 OBP/.500 SLG in 600 PA would contribute more to his team than a hitter with the same line in 300 PA.  David Bloom, of BaseballHappenings.com, suggests using OBP/SLG/TOB/TB because it combines both rate measures (OBP, SLG) and playing time statistics (TOB, TB).  However, BA/OBP/SLG is still the most common combination in the sabermetric community.

Next,on tap  for fantasy baseball is the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.  This is a supplement for just $5 to the Rotoprofessor site which is a great resource for your fantasy help throughout the year. See the Rotoprofessor Interview

Another nicely priced resource is Charlie Saponara Fantasy Baseball 365 Draft guide which can be obtained via a donation.  If you don’t check out the guide, fantasybaseball365.com is where you can find good tips throughout the year. I played in a few expert leagues with Charlie over the years. He knows his stuff.

Other Good Resources:

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Over time, I have read plenty of articles that talk about contact rate .  As you improve the amount of times the ball hits the bat, the better the chances are your batting average improves:

take the example of a hitter whose real skill is to hit home runs 8% of the time he puts the ball in play. If his pure power skills stays intact but his contact rate improves from 70% to 80% from season to season, over a 550 at bat season he suddenly goes from being a 30 home run type to being a 35 home run player, even without an improvement in his rate of home runs per ball in play.

The contact rate sure seems like a distant cousin to BABIP or BIPA as ESPN calls it:

This is a measure of the number of batted balls that safely fall in for a hit (not including home runs)

Where as BABIP depends on some luck, contact rate seems like a better indication of the batters abilities.

I decided to take a look at BABIP at some of the NL batters in 2009, and showing the contact rate as a percentage alongside :

Player Contact% BABIP BB% Notes
Garrett Atkins 83.62% .246 10.28% 2009 had .226/.308/.342/

LD% drop from previous years

Swing% drop from previous years

Hit .199/.268 vs RHP/LHP in 2009

Hit .200/.252 vs Away/Home

Chipper Jones 81.76% .287 16.95% .264/.388/.430 in 2009 vs .364/.470/.574 in 2008

HR/FB% down in 2009

Bad 2nd half

Troy Tulowitski 79.37% .316 11.62% .263/.332/.401 vs .297/.377/.552 in 2009with luck in favor as BABIP increased from .289 previous season

Became more of patient hitter with BB% spike increase

Prince Fielder 76.65% .315 15.30 .276/.372/.507 vs .299/.412/.602 in 2009.

Luck factor spike in 2009 with BABIP, and HR/FB%

Cut down on swings outside strike zone, increase in contact outside strike zone

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Each year, on the internet and in the blogosphere , through the use of collaboration, new ideas and methodologies are brought to the forefront.

It was most recently, I learned about Chris Dial’s OPD . That came about after I was searching for 2009 PMR data, and was surprised to see that they were not doing them this year.

Adding on to my knowledge on defense metrics, is the feature on BJ Upton, where the Bossman’s Total Zone Ratings were referenced:

  • Rtz  – Total Zone Fielding Runs above average
  • RtzrD – Total Zone Fielding Runs above average  on road
  • Rtzhm – Total Zone Fielding Runs above average  on road
  • Rof – Outfield Arm Run above average
  • RF/9 – Range factor per 9 innings

Now lets visit a few  Tape Measure Blasts from the web:

An early look at Ed Wade’s Houston Astros

The useless stat the Quality Start (QS) and Ron Shandler’s alternative

Braves preview from Capitol Avenue Club

Tommy Rancel of DRB  (the site i founded in 2005) on Hot Stove

My favorite site Around the Bases is now  Hardball Talk

Fack Youk continues to get us pumped for Spring Training.

Bloomberg Sports tool is amazin – see #BBGSports on Twitter

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Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is a stat that combines measures of all aspects of a player’s value to create one total figure that expresses the player’s value in terms of wins provided to his team:

  • contains measures of both offensive and defensive value for non-pitchers
  • is expressed in terms of wins
  • uses a replacement-level baseline that is at some point below average
  • measures value provided by a player as opposed to the true talent or ability of the player


The batting component of WAR consists of park-adjusting wRAA(runs above average)

wOBA (weighted on-base average) : wOBA consists of using linear weights of each type of event where a batter reaches base successfully  relative to the total plate appearances.


By using linear weights to quantify offense and defense, it is possible to determine the value of a player above replacement level. WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is the statistic that represents this idea. It can be expressed in terms of wins and dollar value. There are 6 components of batter’s WAR.

The next component is Fielding runs. This is based on UZR (more info here) and is also expressed as a run value. A UZR of 5 means that player saved his team 5 runs above what the average player playing that position did. Remember, a run saved is as good as a run earned.

The 3rd component is the Positional adjustment. It should be obvious that, in baseball, certain positions are easier to play than others. Great hitting SS are harder to find than great hitting 1B. So, we have to adjust for that.

The 4th part of WAR is the Replacement runs component. What this is is the expected amount of production from a team full of Triple-A call-ups, the proverbial “AAAA player.” The number of runs a replacement level player should contribute is 20 over 600 Plate Appearances.  So, this means that players who exceed 600 PAs get credit for being on the field more, while those who don’t reach 600 PAs don’t earn the full 20 runs of replacement

Batting (wRAA) + Fielding (UZR) + Positional adjustment + Replacement value = RAR (Runs Above Replacement). In order to get this number into Wins, the math is simple; just divide by 10. So, if a player is worth 40 runs, they are worth 4 wins.

Dollars – The amount of money a player’s WAR would be worth that season on the open market based on league average. For example: Albert Pujols had a WAR of 8.4 in 2009, which was worth $38 Million based on the average cost of a win in 09 (4.52MM per win).

Vive War Hitters

offense + defense + position + replacement level

Vive War Pitchers

Rally War Database


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