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Thread: Run Distribution and Winning

  1. #1
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    Run Distribution and Winning

    For years, I've been arguing that the Reds have the run distribution just the opposite of what you want it to be. They've constructed offenses that were explosive, but extremely volatile from one game to the next. And the pitching was just the opposite--very consistent, but consistently mediocre or bad.

    Welcome to 2009.

    Here is the evidence that the pitching has changed. I think the chart below gives a simple answer as to why the Reds are winning 55 percent of their ballgames -- look at the zero or one runs allowed. In 2009, they've given up zero or one run in 28 percent of their games. That's peak performance pitching and strong defense at work, and it's a tremendous improvement from 2008.

    As I pointed out in the Pythagorean W-L thread, Pythagorean projections largely become irrelevant if you're giving up 0 or 1 runs on a frequent basis. So this trend is worth tracking.

    Code:
    RA	2009%	2008%
    0	13%	4%
    1	15%	8%
    2	7%	12%
    3	13%	16%
    4	11%	8%
    5	9%	16%
    6	7%	8%
    7	7%	9%
    8	7%	5%
    9	4%	7%
    10	4%	2%
    11	0%	1%
    12	2%	2%
    13	0%	1%
    14	0%	2%
    15	2%	0%
    Key:
    RA = runs allowed
    2009% = percentage of 2009 games where the Reds allowed this many runs
    2008% = percentage of 2008 games where the Reds allowed this many runs

    On the other hand, the offense (via runs scored per game) has been just as volatile--if not moreso--than it was in 2008.

    The notable difference between 2009 and 2008 is that the Reds are scoring 4 or 5 runs much less frequently. Four or five runs should be the most likely outcome for a team that averages ~4.5 runs per game, but that's not the case with the Reds. I suspect this will change as the season progresses.

    Code:
    RS	2009%	2008%
    0	2%	6%
    1	7%	9%
    2	13%	16%
    3	22%	14%
    4	9%	13%
    5	9%	10%
    6	15%	9%
    7	11%	6%
    8	9%	5%
    9	0%	7%
    10	2%	2%
    11	0%	2%
    12	0%	1%
    13	2%	0%
    Nevertheless, I suspect there are lots of reasons why the offense hasn't been consistent in the early going--injuries, lineup construction, early offensive slump coupled with a May improvement, hitting for the longball creates lumpy scoring patterns, etc.

    What I would like to see is a more consistent offensive contribution from night to night. If so, that might be the difference in making this a playoff team.

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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    So here's the question I've been trying to answer: based on the Reds' runs allowed and runs scored distributions, how likely are the Reds to win any given game? And what does it say about the likelihood that they will sustain their current level of performance?

    I used the predicted wins from an old Hardball Times article below. For games in which more than 10 runs were scored, I assumed a .936 winning percentage.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...w-last-week11/

    Code:
    RS      Win %
     0      0.000
     1      0.078
     2      0.243
     3      0.322
     4      0.494
     5      0.606
     6      0.700
     7      0.858
     8      0.847
     9      0.880
    10      0.936
    Using this grid and the Reds 2009 data above, the Reds pitching would have a .543 winning percentage against an average offense, and the Reds offense would have a .513 winning percentage against an average defense. The net predicted win percentage for the offense and defense in 2009 is .559 (0.543*0.513*2=0.559), which is nearly identical to the Reds' actual win percentage through 46 games.

    So my interpretation of the above is that the current performance is sustainable, given that the underlying performance remains level throughout the year.

    FWIW, this method would have predicted a .453 win percentage for the Reds in 2008; .444 was the actual. Not surprisingly (to me at least), the 2008 Reds offense would only win .478 of its games against an average defense.

  4. #3
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Interesting stuff, D-Man.

    Always nice to read your posts.

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Yes good stuff D-Man. So good in fact I don't know what else to say except keep checking in on your theory I'd like to see if it holds up over a longer span. I suspect it will.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

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    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Quote Originally Posted by D-Man View Post
    Using this grid and the Reds 2009 data above, the Reds pitching would have a .543 winning percentage against an average offense, and the Reds offense would have a .513 winning percentage against an average defense. The net predicted win percentage for the offense and defense in 2009 is .559 (0.543*0.513*2=0.559), which is nearly identical to the Reds' actual win percentage through 46 games.

    I don't understand your formula to arrive at .559. If the Reds pitching wins at a .543 clip and the Reds hitting is weaker than the pitching, how do the two combine to project to an even higher win %?

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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    I don't understand your formula to arrive at .559. If the Reds pitching wins at a .543 clip and the Reds hitting is weaker than the pitching, how do the two combine to project to an even higher win %?
    If I understand what he wrote, .543 is based on our pitching given an average (.500) offense, not our actual offense. If the offense is better than average, the team's expected win percentage is pushed higher.
    Not all who wander are lost

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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    If I understand what he wrote, .543 is based on our pitching given an average (.500) offense, not our actual offense. If the offense is better than average, the team's expected win percentage is pushed higher.
    Yes, the pitching alone would have a .543 win percentage against an average offense. And the offense would be better (.513) than an average defense.

    So if the offense is better than average, and the pitching/defense is better than average. . . then the combined effect of having a plus offense *and* defense means that the club should be better than either part independently.

    Hopefully that makes sense.

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    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    I'd like to think that the O is better than average but I don't know. We are still below the league avg in total runs scored but if they're distributing those runs well like you say then maybe they could be a tick above avg.

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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    I'd like to think that the O is better than average but I don't know. We are still below the league avg in total runs scored but if they're distributing those runs well like you say then maybe they could be a tick above avg.
    I too was a little surprised to see that the offense had a .500+ winning percentage.

    Here's a good rule of thumb that may help--a team generally wants to score somewhere between 2 and 7 runs in any given game. Run number one is of marginally less value than others, with respect to winning and losing. The same holds for runs 8 and above. This makes sense because a team is very likely to win whether they score 8, 10, or 15 runs. In contrast, a team isn't likely to win if if scores zero or one run. So the sweetspot is between 2 and 7 runs.

    When you look at the Reds 2009 offense, they have scored between 2 and 7 runs in 78% of the teams games, so they're "in" nearly every game.

    Here's the math:
    Code:
    RS	Win %	RS	2009%	WinPred
    0	0%	0	2%	0%
    1	8%	1	7%	1%
    2	24%	2	13%	3%
    3	32%	3	22%	7%
    4	49%	4	9%	4%
    5	61%	5	9%	5%
    6	70%	6	15%	11%
    7	86%	7	11%	9%
    8	85%	8	9%	7%
    9	88%	9	0%	0%
    10	94%	10	4%	4%
    				51.3%
    WinPred = product of Win% and 2009%; the sum of all parts is .513
    Last edited by D-Man; 05-30-2009 at 02:39 PM.

  11. #10
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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Great stuff as usual.
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Nice idea D-Man, this will be a cool thread to follow through the year.

    If you have this stuff in an Excel file, would you mind posting the standard deviation for RS per game in 2008 vs 2009? That seems like a quick and dirty way of comparing the volatility of the "manufacturing runs" 09 style vs the "beer league" 08 style.

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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    So the biggest jumps are getting that 5th run or getting that 7th
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    Re: Run Distribution and Winning

    Quote Originally Posted by 11larkin11 View Post
    So the biggest jumps are getting that 5th run or getting that 7th
    If I'm reading it right, the biggest jump is getting that 4th run (adds 17%), followed by the 2nd and 7th (both add 16%).
    Win some, lose some, some get rained out.


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