Friday, June 09, 2006

How the Contenders Rank

As you all know, the Tigers just went through a rough stretch against 3 of the top teams in the American League. They went 1-3 versus the Yankees, 1-2 versus the Red Sox and 1-2 versus the White Sox. The Tiger bats had a really rough time over that period and the bullpen proved vulnerable but they did not get beaten up badly in many of those games. Somehow, they came out of that stretch with the best record in baseball so they have to be considered a contender at this point. I thought this would be a good time to see how they rank in various hitting, pitching and fielding categories compared to some of the leading contenders in the American League. The table below shows the league ranks for the 6 teams which are currently above .500. Here are the highlights:


The Tigers lead the league in run prevention but are only 8th in run production. They are 4th in the league in pitching (FIP) and 1st in fielding (DER). Offensively, they are 3rd in the league in power but do not get on base that much (8th). The Tigers will likely need to improve their offense (specifically getting on base) if they are going to hang with the White Sox.



The White Sox have a little more balance than the Tigers ranking 2nd in run prevention and 4th in run production. Surprisingly, their biggest weakness seems to be their pitching (8th) while their fielding ranks 2nd in the league. Offensively, they are better than average in every category.


The Yankees have the best offense in the league and are 4th in run prevention. Their only relative weakness is power where they rank 8th. They make up for their lack of power by getting on base more than any other team. On the defensive side, they lead in pitching and are 5th in fielding.



The Red Sox are 7th in offense and 5th in defense so it’s surprising that they are only a half game behind the Yankees. They walk more than any team in the league and are 2nd in OBP so they have not been too efficient with their ofense. Defensively, they are 9th in pitching and 7th in fielding.


The Blue Jays rank 3rd in run production but 6th in run prevention. The Blue Jays do not walk a lot (7th) but they lead the league in both batting average and power. Their strong fielding (3rd) helps compensate for weaker pitching (11th).



The Rangers are not especially strong in either run production (6th) or run prevention (7th) so it would seem that their lead in the west is tenuous. They are a little above average in batting average, walks and power. Given that they play in the best hiiters park in the league, they’ll probably need to improve their offensive to secure their divisional lead. Their pitching is 2nd in the league but their fielding is near the bottom (12th).


Table: How the Top Contenders Rank among American League Teams


Category

Det

Chi

NY

Bos

Tor

Tex

Record

38-22

36-23

35-23

34-23

33-26

32-27

Runs

8

4

1

7

3

6

Runs Allowed

1

2

4

5

6

7








BA

7

6

2

5

1

4

BB/PA

12

5

2

1

7

6

ISO

3

2

8

6

1

5

OBP

8

6

1

2

3

5

SLG

5

4

6

7

1

3

OPS

7

6

3

5

1

4

RC/27 outs

8

5

3

4

1

6








FIP(Pitching)

4

8

1

9

11

2

DER(Fielding)

1

2

5

7

3

12

ERA

1

3

2

7

9

8

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