Sunday, September 07, 2008

Offense versus defense again

Yesterday I examined the importance of offense versus defense (pitching/fielding) in getting into the playoffs. Today, I'll take an even simpler approach to the same question. Once again, I ranked each team by how many runs they scored (offense) and how many they allowed (defense). Then I looked to see how often they ranked better offensively/ defensively. Here are the results for 128 playoff teams since 1988:

offense 47
defense 68
ties 13

Now for the World Series teams those years:

offense 8
defense 25
ties 5

So, the conclusions are the same as before:

Pitching/fielding is a little more important than offense in getting into the playoffs but it is not at all uncommon for teams with better offenses to make the playoffs.

Pitching/defense becomes more important for World series teams but it's still possible for a better offensive team to win the pennant.


  1. Good stuff as usual Lee. It just proves how the pitching and defense in 2006 led the team, along with some timely hitting.
    This team needs to find a new pitching coach, as many of the pitchers have regressed under chuck hernandez watch. Also left side of the infield and catcher need defensive upgrades. Inge is better at third than at catcher, Santiago has alot more range at short. Hessman is a quality defensive thirdbaseman too. But with so much upgrade needed with starters and relievers, it is just too much to do in one off season.

  2. I'm not sure what to make of this in evaluating the Tigers. The strength of the team would appear to be two exceptional position players, Granderson and Cabrera, even though the draft emphasis has been on pitching for many years. Of course, it was the drafting of pitching that led to the acquisition of Cabrera.

    Two-thirds of the recent World Series teams have had superior pitching/defense, but how does one build a team with that goal in mind? Recent experiences with young pitchers like Bonderman and Zumaya underscore how unpredictable is the injury factor, and drafting young players primarily for their defensive ability does not seem to be a method that anyone chooses. Also I think that good defense is wasted if it is paired up with lousy pitching. I guess if I were a GM I would wish for good defense but I think I'd still use the high picks on power arms and offensive potential.

  3. Charles, I also prefer a balanced approach of drafting hitters and pitchers. I think the reason pitching wins more often is not because pitching beats hitting but because of the luck factor. There is some degree of certainty in building a line-up so teams know what they have at the beginning of the season. There is a lot of luck involved in building a staff though. Thus, the teams that get lucky in a particular year tend to win.



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