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Cyclone792
11-01-2006, 06:32 PM
Let's break it down to the very basics ...

What's the goal each season for every baseball team? Of course, it's to pop that champagne in late October and collect those World Series rings. But, as oneupper posted earlier this week (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52205), it's very difficult at best to build a World Series team. Your best luck is to build a playoff team for several consecutive seasons with as much of the secret sauce (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5541) as possible and then roll the dice each season in the playoffs.

In the dozen seasons since the beginning of the wild card era, we've seen 96 different teams reach the playoffs. Not any two teams are identical; some could mash with the best, some could pitch with the best, some could catch with the best, some could only pitch because they could catch, etc. Other teams could mash and catch with the best, but not necessarily pitch ... or mash and pitch, but not really catch. Still, the vast majority of those 96 teams had one thing in common, and by the title of this thread, it should be easy to pinpoint ...


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Year Team ERA+ OPS+

2000 Giants 123 101 1997 Braves 132 104
2003 Braves 122 101 2002 Braves 131 100
2002 Giants 120 107 1998 Braves 130 111
2001 Mariners 119 119 1999 Red Sox 127 99
1997 Mariners 118 94 2002 A's 126 101
2003 Red Sox 118 105 1996 Braves 124 100
1995 Indians 117 121 2005 Cardinals 123 103
1998 Astros 117 116 1995 Braves 123 97
1999 Yankees 117 108 2005 White Sox 123 95
2003 Yankees 117 109 2001 Braves 123 94
2006 Yankees 117 99 1995 Indians 121 117
1998 Yankees 116 117 2001 A's 121 110
2002 Yankees 116 113 2001 Mariners 119 119
2004 Cardinals 116 112 1999 Braves 119 106
2004 Yankees 114 96 2002 Angels 118 108
2005 Red Sox 114 93 2001 Diamondbacks 118 103
1995 Reds 113 102 2005 Astros 118 97
1996 Indians 112 113 1998 Yankees 117 116
1999 Mets 112 103 1999 Diamondbacks 117 112
1999 Diamondbacks 112 117 2003 A's 117 102
1997 Indians 111 100 2006 Tigers 117 100


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Year Team ERA+ OPS+

1998 Braves 111 130 2004 Twins 117 96
1999 Indians 111 102 1998 Astros 116 117
2000 Mariners 111 101 2004 Red Sox 116 111
2000 A's 111 103 1997 Yankees 115 109
2001 Indians 111 97 2003 Giants 115 106
2002 Cardinals 111 106 2004 Braves 115 106
2004 Red Sox 111 116 2000 Braves 114 101
2005 Yankees 111 98 2005 Angels 114 98
1998 Red Sox 110 110 2002 Yankees 113 116
1999 Rangers 110 99 1996 Indians 113 112
2000 Cardinals 110 105 1999 Astros 113 106
2001 A's 110 121 2006 Twins 113 101
1997 Yankees 109 115 2004 Cardinals 112 116
1998 Rangers 109 97 1997 Orioles 112 103
1995 Red Sox 108 109 2002 Diamondbacks 112 102
1998 Padres 108 105 2000 White Sox 111 104
2001 Astros 108 103 2001 Yankees 111 102
2002 Angels 108 118 2003 Cubs 111 96
2006 Mets 108 104 1998 Red Sox 110 110
1995 Dodgers 107 108 2005 Braves 110 102


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Year Team ERA+ OPS+

1996 Orioles 107 95 1996 Dodgers 110 99
1996 Rangers 107 109 2003 Yankees 109 117
2000 Mets 107 105 1995 Red Sox 109 108
2001 Cardinals 107 109 1996 Rangers 109 107
2003 Marlins 107 100 2001 Cardinals 109 107
1996 Padres 106 108 1997 Astros 109 106
1997 Astros 106 109 2006 Padres 109 102
1999 Braves 106 119 1996 Yankees 109 99
1999 Astros 106 113 1999 Yankees 108 117
2003 Giants 106 115 1995 Dodgers 108 107
2004 Astros 106 106 1996 Padres 108 106
2004 Braves 106 115 2006 Dodgers 108 104
1997 Giants 105 93 1998 Indians 108 103
2002 Twins 105 107 2002 Giants 107 120
1995 Mariners 104 107 2002 Twins 107 105
1995 Yankees 104 100 1995 Mariners 107 104
1997 Marlins 104 106 2004 Angels 107 101
1997 Braves 104 132 2000 Yankees 107 100
1998 Cubs 104 97 1996 Cardinals 107 99
2000 White Sox 104 111 2002 Cardinals 106 111


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Year Team ERA+ OPS+

2004 Dodgers 104 103 2004 Astros 106 106
2005 Padres 104 93 1997 Marlins 106 104
2006 Dodgers 104 108 2003 Red Sox 105 118
1997 Orioles 103 112 2000 Cardinals 105 110
1998 Indians 103 108 1998 Padres 105 108
2001 Diamondbacks 103 118 2000 Mets 105 107
2005 Cardinals 103 123 2003 Twins 105 101
2001 Yankees 102 111 2006 A's 105 98
2002 Diamondbacks 102 112 2006 Mets 104 108
2003 A's 102 117 1995 Rockies 104 99
2005 Braves 102 110 1999 Mets 103 112
2006 Cardinals 102 97 2000 A's 103 111
2006 Padres 102 109 2001 Astros 103 108
2000 Braves 101 114 2004 Dodgers 103 104
2002 A's 101 126 1995 Reds 102 113
2003 Twins 101 105 1999 Indians 102 111
2004 Angels 101 107 2000 Giants 101 123
2006 Twins 101 113 2003 Braves 101 122
1996 Braves 100 124 2000 Mariners 101 111
2000 Yankees 100 107 1997 Indians 100 111
2002 Braves 100 131 2003 Marlins 100 107
2006 Tigers 100 117 1995 Yankees 100 104


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Year Team ERA+ OPS+

1995 Rockies 99 104 2006 Yankees 99 117
1996 Yankees 99 109 1999 Rangers 99 110
1996 Cardinals 99 107 2005 Yankees 98 111
1996 Dodgers 99 110 2001 Indians 97 111
1999 Red Sox 99 127 1998 Rangers 97 109
2005 Angels 98 114 1998 Cubs 97 104
2006 A's 98 105 2006 Cardinals 97 102
1995 Braves 97 123 2004 Yankees 96 114
2005 Astros 97 118 1996 Orioles 95 107
2003 Cubs 96 111 1997 Mariners 94 118
2004 Twins 96 117 2005 Red Sox 93 114
2005 White Sox 95 123 1997 Giants 93 105
2001 Braves 94 123 2005 Padres 93 104

Mean 107 109 Mean 109 107
Median 106 109 Median 109 106

For reference purposes: A 100 in OPS+ and ERA+ is league average. Any number higher than 100 is above average, and any number lower than 100 is below average.

We have two separate sets of the same teams in the above chart, one sorted by OPS+ and the other sorted by ERA+. OPS+ is park adjusted and gives us a pretty accurate method of identifying the teams who hit the ball well. ERA+ is also park adjusted and gives us a pretty accurate method of identifying the teams who pitched and caught the ball well. They aren't the best methods for this exercise, but they're accurate enough, and they should be simple enough for everyone to understand.

Notice the teams I've bolded at the bottom of each list. Those are all the playoff teams since 1995 who were below average in either OPS+ or ERA+. Of the 96 playoff teams since 1995, there are only 13 teams who were below average in either OPS+ or ERA+. That represents only 13.5 percent of all playoff teams, and that's not much at all. If you look closely, you'll notice that even most of those teams aren't far below average at all; in fact, most of the teams listed were still in the 97-99 range, or merely just slightly below average.

BTW, as a sidenote, many people have probably noticed the mean and median figures for ERA+ are slightly higher than OPS+. In his book Win Shares, Bill James estimated that ~48 percent of the game is offense while ~52 percent of the game is pitching/defense. Given his estimates, what we're seeing with the mean/median in OPS+ and ERA+ makes a bit of sense.

Here's another chart of some of the above listed teams:


Year Team OPS+ ERA+

2000 Giants 123 101
2003 Braves 122 101
2002 Giants 120 107
2001 Mariners 119 119
2003 Red Sox 118 105
1995 Indians 117 121
1998 Astros 117 116
1999 Yankees 117 108
2003 Yankees 117 109
1998 Yankees 116 117
2002 Yankees 116 113
2004 Cardinals 116 112
1995 Reds 113 102
1996 Indians 112 113
1999 Mets 112 103
1999 Diamondbacks 112 117
1997 Indians 111 100
1998 Braves 111 130
1999 Indians 111 102
2000 Mariners 111 101
2000 A's 111 103
2002 Cardinals 111 106
2004 Red Sox 111 116
1998 Red Sox 110 110
2000 Cardinals 110 105


Year Team OPS+ ERA+

2001 A's 110 121
1997 Yankees 109 115
1995 Red Sox 108 109
1998 Padres 108 105
2001 Astros 108 103
2002 Angels 108 118
2006 Mets 108 104
1995 Dodgers 107 108
1996 Rangers 107 109
2000 Mets 107 105
2001 Cardinals 107 109
2003 Marlins 107 100
1996 Padres 106 108
1997 Astros 106 109
1999 Braves 106 119
1999 Astros 106 113
2003 Giants 106 115
2004 Astros 106 106
2004 Braves 106 115
2002 Twins 105 107
1995 Mariners 104 107
1995 Yankees 104 100
1997 Marlins 104 106
1997 Braves 104 132
2000 White Sox 104 111


Year Team OPS+ ERA+

2004 Dodgers 104 103
2006 Dodgers 104 108
1997 Orioles 103 112
1998 Indians 103 108
2001 Diamondbacks 103 118
2005 Cardinals 103 123
2001 Yankees 102 111
2002 Diamondbacks 102 112
2003 A's 102 117
2005 Braves 102 110
2006 Padres 102 109
2000 Braves 101 126
2003 Twins 101 105
2004 Angels 101 107
2006 Twins 101 113
1996 Braves 100 124
2000 Yankees 100 107
2002 Braves 100 131
2006 Tigers 100 117

Mean 108 111
Median 107 109

This one's sorted by OPS+, but the sort isn't what's important here. Instead, what's important is noticing that every team listed above was no worse than league average in each of OPS+ and ERA+. Some teams excelled in both offense and pitching/defense, others had one or the other. But the key here is there are 70 teams listed above who were all at least league average at the plate and on the mound/in the field. Those 70 teams shown above represent 73 percent of all the playoff teams we've seen from 1995-2006, and that's a very high percentage of the total playoff teams we've seen in the last dozen years.

Build a team that excels either offensive or in pitching/defense, and you've got a great start. Make sure that very same team is at least league average in whatever area they're not excelling at, and you've got yourselves the making of a playoff caliber club.

Now this should be common sense to most people, but it cannot be stressed enough that if you're aiming to build a playoff caliber team, you must not only have pitching and defense, but you should also probably not forget about your offense. Don't forget that only 13 of the 96 playoff teams in the last dozen seasons were actually below average in OPS+. The reason I'm bringing this up is because I've seen a plethora of people discussing ways to improve the pitching/defense, and most of those ways involve sacrificing a good chunk of our offense. Good pitching/defense is absolutely crucial, but remember, if the offense doesn't exist, well ... you're likely still not making the playoffs.

Additionally, considering what the 2006 Reds were above/below average at, I'm a bit perplexed:


Year Team OPS+ ERA+

1995 Reds 113 102
1996 Reds 105 96
1997 Reds 90 97
1998 Reds 100 97
1999 Reds 107 113
2000 Reds 99 114
2001 Reds 97 90
2002 Reds 92 103
2003 Reds 91 84
2004 Reds 106 77
2005 Reds 107 86
2006 Reds 95 106

Mean 100 97
Median 100 97

Again, notice the above Reds teams who were successful, and you'll also notice how those teams share similar traits as the above 96 playoff teams. The 1995 Reds were a good offensive team with slightly above average pitching/defense. The 1999 Reds were an above average offensive team with good pitching/defense. The 2000 Reds - don't forget they won 85 games - were just about an average offensive team while also being a good pitching/defense team. Every other Reds team listed above was below average to a significant degree in either OPS+ or ERA+ (and a few were below average in both).

Finally, notice where the 2006 Reds fell: a paltry 95 OPS+, but a not-so-bad 106 ERA+. Believe it or not, the 2006 Reds were actually an above average team when it came to the combination of pitching the ball and catching the ball. Offensively, they were a bit of a mess as their 95 OPS+ indicates. In fact, in road games for the 2006 season, the Reds averaged only 4.30 runs per game. That figure was good enough to rank 13th in the NL, ahead of only the Brewers, Cubs and Pirates. It's also considerably less than the NL league average runs scored of 4.76 runs per game.

Now, I'm not saying this team doesn't need anymore pitching and/or improved defense. Trust me, we need improvements in both areas, and I'd be very uncomfortable in relying on our current crop of arms and defenders (in their 2006 fielding positions) to go out and give us another 106 ERA+. Additional pitching and defense aids our run value, and it's run value that we should be concentrating on.

What I am saying is that sacrificing more offense for improved pitching and/or defense just won't get the job done in achieving the goal of reaching the playoffs. This was flat out a below average team offensively in 2006, and if the Reds are going to make the playoffs anytime soon, offense is going to have to be added to this current crop, not sacrificed.

Like pitching and defense, additional offense aids our run value, and it's run value as a whole that we should be concentrating on. Run value is what it is, and we need to make positive gains in it in every method possible. Sacrificing one aspect of run value for gains in the other aspect just won't work any longer. A massive offensive chip could be sacrificed in order to gain great run value in pitching/defense, but understand if that's the case, then this team is going to have go out and somehow acquire multiple solid offensive chips to not only make up for all those lost runs at the plate, but to push this team to at least average on the ledger of offensive punch.

For this team to be a playoff contender anytime soon, we need positive gains in both pitching/defense ... as well as offense. Acquire more bats that know how to avoid outs while accumulating bases. Acquire pitchers that can strike batters out without giving up a plethora of home runs and walks. On a very basic level, those are the types of players who will aid the team in run value. And they are the types of players who can push this team into the playoffs.

But make sure not to ignore one aspect of run value (the offense) while concentrating on the other aspect (pitching and defense).

deltachi8
11-01-2006, 06:39 PM
As always Cyclone, excellent stuff.

oneupper
11-01-2006, 07:11 PM
Since you are stressing that BOTH pitching and defense should be above average to make a winning team...why not multiply the factors OPS+ and ERA+?

If you really want to refine it...give them Bill James 48/52 weighting...(probably overkill).

I'd imagine that any team with a combined factor of over 1.4 had to be a KILLER team.

Spring~Fields
11-01-2006, 07:23 PM
Thanks Cyclone, very nice work and interesting material.

RedsManRick
11-01-2006, 07:58 PM
I wish I could find the post I made last year in which I went through all of the calculations of what would happen if the 2006 had been able to repeat the 2005 offensive performance, but with league average pitching...

Great post per usual Cyclone.

Cyclone792
11-01-2006, 08:45 PM
Since you are stressing that BOTH pitching and defense should be above average to make a winning team...why not multiply the factors OPS+ and ERA+?

If you really want to refine it...give them Bill James 48/52 weighting...(probably overkill).

I'd imagine that any team with a combined factor of over 1.4 had to be a KILLER team.

Here's the list with OPS+ and ERA+ multiplied:


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Product

1998 Braves 111 130 144
2001 Mariners 119 119 142
1995 Indians 117 121 142
1997 Braves 104 132 137
1998 Astros 117 116 136
1998 Yankees 116 117 136
2001 A's 110 121 133
2002 Yankees 116 113 131
1999 Diamondbacks 112 117 131
2002 Braves 100 131 131
2004 Cardinals 116 112 130
2004 Red Sox 111 116 129
2002 Giants 120 107 128
2003 Yankees 117 109 128
2002 Angels 108 118 127
2002 A's 101 126 127
2005 Cardinals 103 123 127
1996 Indians 112 113 127
1999 Yankees 117 108 126
1999 Braves 106 119 126


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Product

1999 Red Sox 99 127 126
1997 Yankees 109 115 125
2000 Giants 123 101 124
1996 Braves 100 124 124
2003 Red Sox 118 105 124
2003 Braves 122 101 123
2003 Giants 106 115 122
2004 Braves 106 115 122
2001 Diamondbacks 103 118 122
1998 Red Sox 110 110 121
1999 Astros 106 113 120
2003 A's 102 117 119
1995 Braves 97 123 119
1995 Red Sox 108 109 118
2002 Cardinals 111 106 118
2006 Tigers 100 117 117
2005 White Sox 95 123 117
1996 Rangers 107 109 117
2001 Cardinals 107 109 117
2006 Yankees 117 99 116


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Product

2001 Braves 94 123 116
1995 Dodgers 107 108 116
1997 Astros 106 109 116
2000 Cardinals 110 105 116
2000 White Sox 104 111 115
1999 Mets 112 103 115
1997 Orioles 103 112 115
1995 Reds 113 102 115
2000 Braves 101 114 115
1996 Padres 106 108 114
2005 Astros 97 118 114
2000 A's 111 103 114
2002 Diamondbacks 102 112 114
2006 Twins 101 113 114
1998 Padres 108 105 113
1999 Indians 111 102 113
2001 Yankees 102 111 113
2004 Astros 106 106 112
2000 Mets 107 105 112
2002 Twins 105 107 112


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Product

2006 Mets 108 104 112
2006 Dodgers 104 108 112
2004 Twins 96 117 112
2005 Braves 102 110 112
2000 Mariners 111 101 112
2005 Angels 98 114 112
1995 Mariners 104 107 111
2001 Astros 108 103 111
1998 Indians 103 108 111
2006 Padres 102 109 111
1997 Indians 111 100 111
1997 Mariners 118 94 111
1997 Marlins 104 106 110
2004 Yankees 114 96 109
1999 Rangers 110 99 109
1996 Dodgers 99 110 109
2005 Yankees 111 98 109
2004 Angels 101 107 108
1996 Yankees 99 109 108
2001 Indians 111 97 108


Year Team OPS+ ERA+ Product

2004 Dodgers 104 103 107
2003 Marlins 107 100 107
2000 Yankees 100 107 107
2003 Cubs 96 111 107
2003 Twins 101 105 106
2005 Red Sox 114 93 106
1996 Cardinals 99 107 106
1998 Rangers 109 97 106
1995 Yankees 104 100 104
1995 Rockies 99 104 103
2006 A's 98 105 103
1996 Orioles 107 95 102
1998 Cubs 104 97 101
2006 Cardinals 102 97 99
1997 Giants 105 93 98
2005 Padres 104 93 97

Mean 107 109 117
Median 106 109 115

For a general ballpark, it's not a bad estimate, though the specifics start to get a bit messy due to the combined noise in OPS+ and ERA+ (OBP and SLG valued equally, no baserunning, no unearned runs, etc.). Near the top of the list are some top quality teams, the 1998 Yankees, 2001 Mariners, 1998 Braves, and near the bottom of the list are some low win teams that still managed to crawl their way into the postseason, such as this year's version of the St. Louis Cardinals. An interesting comparison is with each team's pythagorean record (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1123327&postcount=12), and most of the teams are in a similar vicinity relative to one another.

The mean and median figures are up in the 115-117 range so that gives us an idea what the typical run-of-the-mill playoff team produces in terms of OPS+ and ERA+ multiplied. The easiest way to end up right in that range is just to score 100 more runs than you allow, which we know thanks to pythag, and by splitting up the offensive factors (OPS+) and defensive factors (ERA+), we see that it's rare for teams to be significantly deficient in one category and still able to make the playoffs. The 2005 Astros are an example of such a team since they were a below average offense, but it took incredible run prevention measures of a 118 ERA+ just to get them to 91 pythag wins and 89 actual wins. If that ERA+ was only 115, then they may have missed the playoffs altogether, and their offense with its 97 OPS+ is where people would have been pointing their fingers.

The 2006 Reds scored 749 runs while allowing 801 runs, and their OPS+ and ERA+ product was 101 (their pythag, which I'd rely on moreso, painted an uglier picture). For them to jump up 15+ points to the level of a typical playoff team, they've got to find 125 runs in run value somewhere. If they maintain their current offense, they've got to shave their runs allowed down to around 675 runs. The problem is, if they sacrifice offense to get their runs allowed down to 675, then 675 may not even cut it on its own footing. That number has to drop further if the offensive production falls farther beyond ~750 runs.

Or, another way to phrase the above paragraph, if we maintain our 95 OPS+ offense, then that ERA+ has to push the 120 range for us to have a solid shot at the postseason. As we can see, that hasn't occurred too frequently.

RedsBaron
11-01-2006, 10:14 PM
Terrific post. There have been world championship teams with a great offense and average pitching, and world championship teams with great pitching and an average offense, but I can't think of any world champions whose offense or whose pitching were significantly below average.

oneupper
11-02-2006, 09:14 AM
One more observation on this...

Out of the teams in the top of the OPS+ times ERA+ list, practically all of them outplayed their pythag (only 2 or 3 exceptions). Many significantly, which is hard enough considering they are all 100 win (or close to) teams.

It might be a stretch, but having a superior offense AND defense could allow you to "bend" the pythag curve a bit. Perhaps "pulling out" more than your share of close games. (Just speculating...I have no idea if this is statistically significant).

Nice work....
(do you have a job?)

texasdave
11-02-2006, 12:01 PM
I thought this was a very interesting way of looking at things, Cyclone. Thanks. Since this is a Reds' Forum I borrowed Cyclone's idea and applied it to the hometown team. The attachment shows how Cincinnati fared in the modern baseball era (1901-2006) using Cyclone's method. The OPS+ and ERA+ figures were borrowed from www.baseball-reference.com. The Product column is a result of those two figures multiplied. The next column is the Prdrk column. This just ranks the top and bottom 15 seasons - T1 indicating the best and B1 the worst. I put the W/L record there as sort of a comparison. And at the bottom this is broken out by decade - the 70's being the best and the 30's being the worst. By averaging out all 106 seasons it is interesting to note that since the Modern Era began the Reds have been pretty much a league average team. OPS+ turns out to be 100. ERA+ ends up being a tick better at 101. The .503 winning percentage matches up with this pretty well.

westofyou
11-02-2006, 12:10 PM
I can't think of any world champions whose offense or whose pitching were significantly below average.


Probably the 1906 CWS are the best example, or maybe the 1966 Dodgers


.230/.301/.286/.588 CWS
.249/.303/.318/.621 AL

.256/.314/.362/.675 Dodgers
.256/.313/.384/.697 NL
Both are during extreme pitching eras and in extreme pitching parks CWS (78) and Dodgers (86)

RedsBaron
11-02-2006, 12:22 PM
Probably the 1906 CWS are the best example, or maybe the 1966 Dodgers


.230/.301/.286/.588 CWS
.249/.303/.318/.621 AL

.256/.314/.362/.675 Dodgers
.256/.313/.384/.697 NL
Both are during extreme pitching eras and in extreme pitching parks CWS (78) and Dodgers (86)

I had thought of those two teams. Of course, the 1966 Dodgers were not world champions, losing the World Series in a four game sweep to the Orioles.
The 1965 Dodgers, who were world champs, ranked 8th in the 10 team NL with 608 runs scored, compared to a NL team average of 656. The Dodgers ranked first in runs allowed, surrendering only 521. In 1966, LA again ranked 8th in runs scored with 606, as compared to a team average of 662, and again ranked first in runs allowed with 490.
I'd like to see the home and away numbers for the Dodgers in 1965 and 1966. I suspect that Dodger Stadium, which as you noted was an extreme pitching park, made LA's offense appear to be much worse than it was, and its pitching beter than it was.

RedsBaron
11-02-2006, 12:31 PM
I assumed that the 1906 White Sox had a below average offense, because that it what I had always read. However, when I checked Baseball.Reference.com, I discovered that the Chisox ranked third in the AL in 1906 with 570 runs scored, compared to a per team average of 562. The White Sox ranked first in runs allowed, giving up only 460. This indicates that Chicago had great pitching but an average to slightly above average offense. When one considers park effects, the Pale Hose pitching staff probably wasn't quite as good as its stats indicate, and their batting was actually above average.

westofyou
11-02-2006, 12:46 PM
I had thought of those two teams. Of course, the 1966 Dodgers were not world champions, losing the World Series in a four game sweep to the Orioles.That series is on right now on MASN, all far back camera shots.

Willie Davis muffed them.

Cyclone792
11-02-2006, 01:01 PM
The 1906 White Sox are a strange bunch offensively. In fact, that season is a bit odd offensively. The White Sox were third in the AL in runs scored, fourth in the AL in runs per game (3.70 vs. league average of 3.67), but they were seventh in OPS+ at 92 despite having a park factor of 78.

Compare that to the St. Louis Browns of the very same year who were fifth in runs per game at 3.62 while also second in the entire league in OPS+ at 104, and their park factor was 90.


CHICAGO WHITESOX HITTING STATS

YEAR AB R H 2B 3B HR HR% RBI BB SO SB CS
1906 4924 567 1132 152 52 7 0.14 444 453 0 214 0
TOT 4924 567 1132 152 52 7 0.14 444 453 0 214 0

YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS RC TB EBH ISO SEC BPA IBB HBP GIDP SAC SF PARK
1906 .230 .286 .301 .588 538 1409 211 .056 .192 .392 0 51 0 227 0 76
TOT .230 .286 .301 .588 538 1409 211 .056 .192 .392 0 51 0 227 0



ST. LOUIS BROWNS HITTING STATS

YEAR AB R H 2B 3B HR HR% RBI BB SO SB CS
1906 5041 559 1246 145 61 20 0.40 456 366 0 221 0
TOT 5041 559 1246 145 61 20 0.40 456 366 0 221 0

YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS RC TB EBH ISO SEC BPA IBB HBP GIDP SAC SF PARK
1906 .247 .312 .304 .616 614 1573 226 .065 .181 .405 0 47 0 171 0 90
TOT .247 .312 .304 .616 614 1573 226 .065 .181 .405 0 47 0 171 0

Check out the discrepancy in actual runs vs. runs created for both teams. The White Sox outscored their runs created mark by 29 runs while the Browns fell 55 runs shy of their runs created total. Two things that may have happened were that the White Sox could have just been a more efficient offense, and they may have gotten a bit luckier as well.

A third possibility that could play a role is basestealing, specifically the caught stealing numbers. Each team stole a similar number of bases, but unfortunately there's no caught stealing records to look over. The closest seasons for caught stealing records would be 1914-1915 (AL in 1914, both leagues in 1915). Here were the league averages for those seasons:


Season SB CS Pct%

1914 AL 1657 1370 54.74%
1915 BOTH 2637 2046 56.31%

TOTAL 4294 3416 55.69%

This is merely a guess, nothing more, but it may be plausible that the White Sox were just a heckuva lot smarter on the bases in 1906 than the Browns were, something OPS+ would not account for. From 1914-1916, Ty Cobb stole 199 bases while being caught 79 times, good for a 71.58 stolen base percentage. While that figure is right around the present day cutoff as we know it, it was actually far above league average for Cobb's day. If the White Sox were significantly above league average in stolen base percentage and/or the Browns were significantly below average in stolen base percentage, some of the discrepancy in runs scored vs. runs created vs. OPS+ may be explained. Without caught stealing data, however, that's nothing more than an educated guess.

westofyou
11-02-2006, 03:02 PM
I'd like to see the home and away numbers for the Dodgers in 1965 and 1966. I suspect that Dodger Stadium, which as you noted was an extreme pitching park, made LA's offense appear to be much worse than it was, and its pitching beter than it was.

1965


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF XI ROE GDP SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Total 2017 5425 608 1329 193 32 78 548 492 57 891 52 103 35 1 82 78 172 76 .245 .312 .335

Home 1003 2591 268 619 79 12 26 236 250 36 402 21 46 15 0 39 43 90 38 .239 .309 .309
Away 1014 2834 340 710 114 20 52 312 242 21 489 31 57 20 1 43 35 82 38 .251 .314 .360

1966

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF XI ROE GDP SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Total 2080 5471 606 1399 201 27 108 565 430 54 830 49 84 32 1 95 116 94 64 .256 .314 .362

Home 1044 2671 286 695 80 12 43 268 226 27 395 19 43 17 1 40 67 50 39 .260 .320 .347
Away 1036 2800 320 704 121 15 65 297 204 27 435 30 41 15 0 55 49 44 25 .251 .308 .375

westofyou
11-02-2006, 03:08 PM
This is merely a guess, nothing more, but it may be plausible that the White Sox were just a heckuva lot smarter on the bases in 1906 than the Browns were, something OPS+ would not account for. From 1914-1916, Ty Cobb stole 199 bases while being caught 79 times, good for a 71.58 stolen base percentage. While that figure is right around the present day cutoff as we know it, it was actually far above league average for Cobb's day. If the White Sox were significantly above league average in stolen base percentage and/or the Browns were significantly below average in stolen base percentage, some of the discrepancy in runs scored vs. runs created vs. OPS+ may be explained. Without caught stealing data, however, that's nothing more than an educated guess.

The walked a ton more then the rest of the league, putrid across the board with the stick (7 HR's for the season, last in EBH)



AMERICAN LEAGUE
SEASON
1906
AVERAGE vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
SLG vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
WALKS vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
OBA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria

RUNS CREATED/GAME RC/G AVG SLG BB OBA
1 Indians 4.81 .024 .029 -48 .014
2 Yankees 4.27 .010 .011 -32 .005
3 A's 4.17 -.009 .002 31 -.004
4 Browns 4.03 -.009 -.016 0 -.008
5 Senators 3.68 -.018 -.018 -56 -.023
6 Tigers 3.66 -.014 -.022 -28 -.017
7 White Sox 3.48 -.026 -.041 82 -.010
8 Red Sox 3.30 -.019 -.023 -78 -.028

D-Man
11-02-2006, 03:36 PM
Terrific post. There have been world championship teams with a great offense and average pitching, and world championship teams with great pitching and an average offense, but I can't think of any world champions whose offense or whose pitching were significantly below average.

The 1985 Royals were putrid offensively (13th out of 14 in scoring), but they had one heck of a defense and pitching staff.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/KCR/1985.shtml

Heath
11-02-2006, 08:46 PM
Of course the one team that is the exception, not the rule, are the 1987 Minnesota Twins.

Even the '61 Reds and '50 Phillies dodged a Pythag formula.

Good work as usual Cyclone, woy, et. al.

RedsBaron
11-02-2006, 08:55 PM
The 1985 Royals were putrid offensively (13th out of 14 in scoring), but they had one heck of a defense and pitching staff.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/KCR/1985.shtml

I didn't realize how bad the 1985 Royals offense was until I looked it up. Steve Balboni did hit 36 HRs, and Frank White, Hal McRae and Willie Wilson were still productive though slightly below average offensively. It makes me appreciate even more what a force George Brett was in 1985. By the Win Shares measurement, he was even better in 1985 (37 Win Shares) than he was in 1980 when he hit .390 (36 Win Shares). Brett should have won his second MVP award in 1985. Without him, K.C. would have not been even a .500 team IMO, let alone World Champions.