RedsZone.com - Cincinnati Reds Fans' Home for Baseball Discussion The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution

 06-20-2011, 05:06 PM #2 Kc61 Member   Join Date: Jan 2001 Posts: 12,603 Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution If 18 teams have better run distributions than the Reds, including all five other NL Central teams, why is that acceptable? As I read it, your analysis seems to show that the Reds are deficient in offensive consistency.
 06-20-2011, 05:11 PM #3 kaldaniels Viva la Rolen     Join Date: Jul 2005 Posts: 7,412 Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution The first question that needs to be answered is "What is ideal run distribution?"
06-20-2011, 05:16 PM   #4
Brutus
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Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Kc61 If 18 teams have better run distributions than the Reds, including all five other NL Central teams, why is that acceptable? As I read it, your analysis seems to show that the Reds are deficient in offensive consistency.
I prefer they be near the top, so I don't want to suggest that's a good thing. I just mean they're hovering near league average.

I suppose Kal's question is appropriate... what is an ideal distribution? If the theory is true that a tighter distribution leads to more wins, in theory, I suppose a distribution of practically zero is ideal.
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 06-20-2011, 05:23 PM #5 RedsManRick Stat Wanker Hodiernus     Join Date: Dec 2004 Location: Chicago, IL Posts: 15,672 Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution The real takeaway from a more comprehensive study would likely be this: Scoring more runs, period, is a much more important factor in winning baseball games than is the manner in which said runs are distributed. It's sort of like debating where the guy with the .300 OBP should hit. If the goal is to score more runs, stop worrying about batting order and find somebody who can get on base. But this points to another issue: Is the distribution of runs something a team can control? If so, how? Like the example above, is trying to control it missing the forest for the trees? And if not, why do we care, other than perhaps as a tool to help explain differences between actual W-L records and the pythag expectation? If I had to guess, teams with high variation in runs scored have two basic factors: 1) They score more runs (given a fixed lower bound of zero, this gives them more opportunity for variance) 2) They have a greater range of talent within their lineup. (a lineup full of studs or scrubs will have less variance than one with a mix) __________________ Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance. Last edited by RedsManRick; 06-20-2011 at 05:26 PM.
 06-20-2011, 05:24 PM #6 pahster Something clever     Join Date: Feb 2005 Location: Columbia, MO Posts: 1,903 Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution Sounds like none of the teams' RPG are significantly (p ≤ .05) different from one another. Given that this is most likely true (at least for most of the sample), it seems as if we don't really have enough data from this season yet to draw any conclusions about what effect, if any, the distribution of runs scored per game has on the probability of winning. Here's a suspicion I have: I bet teams that score fewer runs experience less variation in their RPG.
06-20-2011, 05:28 PM   #7
Brutus
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Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution

Quote:
 Originally Posted by pahster Here's a suspicion I have: I bet teams that score fewer runs experience less variation in their RPG.
Well, that has to be true somewhat, because there's a floor as to how many runs a team can score at the low end -- they can't score less than zero. But on the high end, there's no actual ceiling a team can score. A team with 4.0 runs per game has to only score 9 runs to automatically have a higher distribution than a team scoring zero with the same RPG.

So yes, it's true that teams with fewer RPG is going to naturally have a built-in bias in their deviation because there's a floor in the distribution in one of the two directions.
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06-20-2011, 05:34 PM   #8
Brutus
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Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution

Quote:
 Originally Posted by RedsManRick The real takeaway from a more comprehensive study would likely be this: Scoring more runs, period, is a much more important factor in winning baseball games than is the manner in which said runs are distributed. It's sort of like debating where the guy with the .300 OBP should hit. If the goal is to score more runs, stop worrying about batting order and find somebody who can get on base. But this points to another issue: Is the distribution of runs something a team can control? If so, how? Like the example above, is trying to control it missing the forest for the trees? And if not, why do we care, other than perhaps as a tool to help explain differences between actual W-L records and the pythag expectation? If I had to guess, teams with high variation in runs scored have two basic factors: 1) They score more runs (given a fixed lower bound of zero, this gives them more opportunity for variance) 2) They have a greater range of talent within their lineup. (a lineup full of studs or scrubs will have less variance than one with a mix)
I definitely agree it's more important, but can't both be important in theory? It doesn't have to be one or the other. There are a lot of factors involved at winning baseball games, and ideally, you'd like to address all of them if you could.

That is not to say we know with any real certainty you can address distribution or find players that are more consistent. To my knowledge, no one has tackled the issue of distribution or consistency with players themselves (though I actually think that would be a neat study). But if we know that mere distribution can add a few more wins a year, that can sometimes make the difference between winning a World Series and sitting at home in October.

I'm not trying to insinuate that run distribution is a monumental factor, by the way. I don't want to overplay the significance of it. But I think we have some evidence to suggest it's important, just a matter of how much so and can it be knowingly addressed by a team wishing to improve its consistency?

I would like to see a study grouping teams with like runs scored & runs allowed over the course of several years and then compare their winning percentages with their run distribution. That would obviously be a much more conclusive study about the effect (though not necessarily the causes).
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"No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

 06-20-2011, 05:37 PM #9 kaldaniels Viva la Rolen     Join Date: Jul 2005 Posts: 7,412 Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution I have a feeling run distribution is one of those things that is helpful looking back in asking "why team X wound up with Y won-loss record". But to project run distribution going forward I would hypothesize is a complex task with fruitless results.
06-20-2011, 06:52 PM   #10
RedsManRick
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Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp I definitely agree it's more important, but can't both be important in theory? It doesn't have to be one or the other. There are a lot of factors involved at winning baseball games, and ideally, you'd like to address all of them if you could. That is not to say we know with any real certainty you can address distribution or find players that are more consistent. To my knowledge, no one has tackled the issue of distribution or consistency with players themselves (though I actually think that would be a neat study). But if we know that mere distribution can add a few more wins a year, that can sometimes make the difference between winning a World Series and sitting at home in October. I'm not trying to insinuate that run distribution is a monumental factor, by the way. I don't want to overplay the significance of it. But I think we have some evidence to suggest it's important, just a matter of how much so and can it be knowingly addressed by a team wishing to improve its consistency? I would like to see a study grouping teams with like runs scored & runs allowed over the course of several years and then compare their winning percentages with their run distribution. That would obviously be a much more conclusive study about the effect (though not necessarily the causes).
I agree with you in theory. But as you start to describe, this isn't just one study. It's a series of studies.

- Is there an effect? (preliminary analysis suggest yes)
- What is the size of the affect?
- What causes teams to have different distributions?
- Can that thing be controlled?
- If so, can it be controlled without negatively impacting other factors?

I'll take a look tonight and see what I can contribute. But if I had to guess I'd say our conclusion will be this: Yes, run distribution has a measurable effect. However, there is nothing a team can do to control it's run distribution that doesn't have a greater effect on other factors. And further, I would guess that the biggest portion of the effect is tied up in simply not getting shut out. I'd also guess that runs scored distributions are pretty strongly skewed, meaning your standard significance tests don't quite work.
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Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

Last edited by RedsManRick; 06-20-2011 at 06:58 PM.

06-20-2011, 07:00 PM   #11
Brutus
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Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution

Quote:
 Originally Posted by RedsManRick I agree with you in theory. But as you start to describe, this isn't just one study. It's a series of studies. - Is there an effect? (preliminary analysis suggest yes) - What is the size of the affect? - What causes teams to have different distributions? - Can that thing be controlled? - If so, can it be controlled without negatively impacting other factors? I'll take a look tonight and see what I can contribute.
I agree with this synopsis.

It would require first establishing players having an ability to be more consistent. To establish that, we'd have to differentiate the ones that are consistent with the ones that are not, and then we'd have to show a predictive ability to know which ones are likely to sustain the consistency. Then we'd have to regress that within yearly projections along with the other factors (whether it's WAR or other variations of the projection systems).
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"No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

06-20-2011, 07:46 PM   #12
mth123
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Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution

Quote:
 Originally Posted by pahster Sounds like none of the teams' RPG are significantly (p ≤ .05) different from one another. Given that this is most likely true (at least for most of the sample), it seems as if we don't really have enough data from this season yet to draw any conclusions about what effect, if any, the distribution of runs scored per game has on the probability of winning. Here's a suspicion I have: I bet teams that score fewer runs experience less variation in their RPG.
Logical suspicion. There isn't an upper limit, so things would naturally tend to be more spread out as they get bigger. There is a clear lower limit. As teams approach ut, there just isn't room for separation.
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06-20-2011, 08:05 PM   #13
RedsManRick
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Re: The Reds; Run scoring & run distribution

This was actually tackled here on RZ a few years back.

When you consider that each additional run beyond the mean has a decreasing marginal win value and that there's a lower limit, it naturally follows that given a fixed total number of runs scored (fixed mean), less variation is better. That is, if you can trade runs above the mean for runs below the mean (e.g. trade a 2 & 6 for two 4s), you do it. In that example, you'd go from an average .447 winning percentage over those two games (given the data below) to a .471. Over a full season, that's 4 games worth of difference. Now, that's the difference between a team with 0 variance and one with quite a bit of variance.

Quote:
 Code: ```Runs Win% Marginal Gain 0 .000 .000 1 .077 .077 2 .208 .131 3 .339 .131 4 .471 .132 5 .593 .122 6 .686 .092 7 .776 .090 8 .840 .064 9 .874 .034 10 .921 .047 11 .939 .018 12 .963 .025 13 .987 .024 14 .978 -.009 15 .976 -.001 16 .983 .007 17 1.000 .017``` In terms of winning ballgames, the second through the fifth runs have the most impact, followed by the sixth and seventh runs, and then the first run." The implication is clear; the lower the variance of the average runs scored per game, the better record your team will likely have. To illustrate this another way, if the average runs per game were 5 for the NL in ’08, then the average total runs scored per team would be (5 x 162) 810. If the Reds managed to average 10 runs a game and score 1620 runs in ’08 you would expect them to be world beaters and have an extremely high winning percentage. If the Reds scored 0 runs in 81 games and 20 runs in 81 games, however, they will have averaged 10 runs a game but would at most only have a .500 winning percentage. This is why the distribution is so important. Now, obviously, it would be best if a team could manage to just score one run more than the opposition for every game, and sometimes 10 or more runs would be needed to accomplish this, but the fact remains that if a team were able to always score their average the benefits of not having those lower scoring games outweighs the marginal gains of those runs scored above 7 runs.
__________________
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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