Monday, August 13, 2007

How the Tigers and Indians Rank

Rather than dwell on the Tigers 7-2 loss to the Athletics tonight, I'll just say that they are tied for first place with the Indians. With 5 of their next 9 games versus the Indians, it's a good time for a statistical comparison of the two teams.

Table 1 below shows how they rank in overall run production and run prevention:
  • The Tigers are 2nd among 14 American League teams in run production but 11th in run prevention.
  • The Indians are closer to the middle of the pack in both categories - 5th in runs scored and 8th in runs allowed.
Table 1: Overall Ranks

DET

CLE

#

Rank

#

Rank

Record

65-53

5

65-53

5

R/G

5.71

2

5.03

5

RA/G

5.11

11

4.66

8



In Table 2, we can see how the two teams rank in various offensive categories:
  • The Tigers rank 2nd in batting average and 2nd in isolated power (ISO). The only area where they are below average is walks (11th).
  • The Indians rank 4th in walks but only 6th in isolated power and 8th in batting average
Table 2: Batting Ranks

DET

CLE

#

Rank

#

Rank

BA

.289

2

.267

8

BB

358

11

421

4

K

748

7

896

13

ISO

.176

2

.160

6

OBP

.346

3

.341

5

SLG

.464

2

.427

5

OPS

.812

2

.768

4



The pitching ranks are listed in Table 3:
  • The Tigers rank 11th in both Fielding Independent Pitching and ERA. In the two years , I have been doing these comparison charts, this is the first time the Tigers ERA is not a lot lower than their FIP. This suggests that their fielding is not helping their pitching as it was last year and earlier this year.
  • Earlier in the year, the Tigers were getting good starting pitching and poor relief pitching. Now they are not doing well in either department (8th in starter ERA and 11th in reliever ERA).
  • The Indians are getting average pitching overall (7th in the league in both FIP and ERA)
  • Cleveland is in the middle of the pack in starter ERA (7th) and reliever ERA (9th)
Table 3: Pitching Ranks

DET

CLE

#

Rank

#

Rank

FIP

4,69

11

4.38

7

ERA

4.67

11

4.37

7

SP ERA

4.63

8

4.55

7

RP ERA

4.74

11

3.96

9



Table 4 Looks at how teams rank in fielding. Defensive Efficiency Ratio (DER) is the percentage of balls in play converted into outs. One of the problems with DER is that it penalizes fielders for not converting very difficult batted balls into outs. Another problem is that it does not consider where balls were hit.

Revised Zone Rating (RZR) improves upon DER. Each position on the field has a zone around it and a player's RZR is the proportion of balls hit into his zone which he converts into outs. Team RZR is the proportion of balls hit into all fielding zones which are converted into outs. Balls not hit into any zone are not considered in the calculation. The chart below also breaks RZR into infield RZR and outfield IZR. For a further discussion of DER, RZR and other fielding statistics, check out Fielding Stats at The Hardball Times by Dave Studeman.

Here are the highlights for team fielding so far this year:
  • The Tigers rank 5th in RZR (although 10th in DER). Their outfield RZR is best in the league while their infield ranks only 9th.
  • The Indians do not rank well in any fielding category.
Table 4: Fielding Ranks

DET

CLE

#

Rank

#

Rank

DER

.697

10

.698

9

RZR

.829

5

.800

13

IF RZR

.777

9

.754

13

OF RZR

.905

1

.865

10



Summary

The Tigers are doing very well offensively and can be expected to continue doing so. Their pitching has been weak this year and their defense has been declining. Cleveland has no major strength comparable to the Tigers offense. Their offense is OK. Their fielding is not. They do have an edge in pitching although not a huge one. I've been pretty focused on the struggles of the Tigers as of late but this comparison shows me that the indians have as many holes as the Tigers. We have every reason to expect a close race.

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