Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Very Early Trends

The season is only 7 games old so it’s hard to do a really meaningful statistical analysis but I’ll try. I won’t even look at the individual statistics yet there might be enough information to say something about team trends. The table below shows how the Tigers rank among the 14 American League teams in many different categories in 2005 and in the first 7 games of 2006.


Table: How the Tigers Rank after 7 Games (Record: 5-2)


Statistic

2005 Rank

2006 Ranks

(7 games)

Winning Percentage

11

3




Runs scored

11

1

BA

4

3

BB/PA

14

11

ISO

7

1

BB/SO

14

12

HR

7

1

OBP

12

6

SLG

6

1

OPS

7

1

RC27

7

3




Runs allowed

8

1

DIPS (pitching)

12

2

DER (fielding)

8

2

ERA

8

1

BB/9

7

2

SO/9

13

2

SO/BB

9

1

FPCT

11

1



They are first in the league in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed so there is little to complain about as far as results. However, given their past history and the very small sample of games, we can probably not be too confident that they’ll remain number one in either category for very long.



My favorite small sample statistics are walks and strikeouts for both batters and pitchers. These statistics tend to be more stable than most other statistics so they may reveal some useful information even at this early point in the season. As usual, the Tigers do not rank well in BB/PA (11th) or BB/SO (12th). So, in the early going, they seem to be still struggling with patience/plate discipline. Of course, they finished dead last in both categories in 2005 so their poor showing so far in 2006 might be viewed as an improvement.


On the pitching side, they are 2nd in BB/9 IP and 2nd in SO/9 IP and 1st in SO/BB. This reflects the good starts by some of their young pitchers. Most of us know that any significant improvement by the team this year hinges heavily on the young staff. The Major Leagues can be a tough place for young hurlers but the early indicators are positive.


Beyond the walks and strikeouts for batters, it all looks positive. They are first in all the power categories and third in batting average but their OBP is dragged down to sixth due to lack of walks. They are also either first or second in every pitching and fielding category. Now, if they continue to dominate in power, pitching and defense, they can get away with a low numbers of walks. However, it is doubtful they can come close to keeping up the pace in those areas. In fact, the poor plate discipline and/or lack of patience indicated by the low walks and high strikeouts may actually affect the batting average and power somewhat down the road.

I’ll be reporting on all of these ranks frequently (probably weekly) during the course of the season. So we’ll see where they are in a week or so when I do this again.

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