View Full Version : Baseball Prospectus' Secret Sauce

10-04-2006, 11:32 AM
I was reading Sports Illustrated and they had a sidebar about the "secret sauce" of teams that do well in the playoffs that they got from Baseball Prospectus. I was particularly interested in that they said it predicted the 1990 Reds championship. I don't think I have seen it mentioned here, apologize if I missed it.

Here is the blurb from BP:
". . . there are three particular characteristics of teams that win more than their share of post-season games. These characteristics are as follows:

A power pitching staff, as measured by normalized strikeout rate.
A good closer, as measured by WXRL.
A good defense, as measured by FRAA.
Of the dozens of team characteristics that we tested for statistical significance, in terms of their relationship with winning post-season games and series, these were the only three that mattered. Ending the year hot doesn’t make a whit of difference, for example, nor does having a veteran club, or a smallball offense.

More remarkably, all three of these characteristics relate to run prevention, rather than run scoring. That does not mean that offense is of no importance in the playoffs. But there is a lot of noise in the postseason record, and offense did not produce enough signal to emerge through it. The reasons are too complicated to get into here, but have to do with what happens when good offenses face good pitching.

In any event, this "secret sauce" is fairly pungent. The two teams that rated most favorably in these categories in the 2005 playoffs were the White Sox and the Astros, who met in the World Series. The formula also predicts the success of some surprise World Series winners like the 1990 Reds and 1979 Pirates. Conversely, of the ten post-season teams since 1972 that rated worst in the "secret sauce" rankings, none advanced beyond their LCS."
More of the article is available to subscribers. According to the average rankings, the Mets should meet the Twins in the WS this year. (Too bad for the Mets, they have been bitten by the injury bug.) The Cardinals are the worst team in the playoffs.

I am interested in where the Reds would rank in these categories this year, but don't know where to find it.

10-04-2006, 12:01 PM
The playoff versions of both those teams pitching staffs are probably pretty different from what was measured. Plus, IMO, Gardenhire is one of the worst playoff managers I have ever seen. His style consists of: pull my best starting pitchers early enough to get plenty of work for my worst relievers(and most of his relievers are so good that it would be almost impossible for a normal manager to screw this up), and don't forget to have everyone run into as many outs on the bases as possible.

I missed a big one: lose an elimination game with my best available pitcher watching from the bullpen.