Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Third of the Way Home

One month into the season, the Tigers seem to be the very definition of mediocrity. They are 7th in the league with 5.3 runs per game and 8th in runs allowed with 5.0 per game. According to the Pythagorean Theorem, they should be 11-10 which is exactly where they are. Even the division is mediocore with no team more than two games above .500 and four teams within a game of first place. Things should get interesting the next two weeks as the Tigers have a stretch of 13 games versus the Indians, White Sox and Twins.

The Bengals are middling in almost every offensive category:
  • 8th in batting average (.265)
  • 9th in slugging (.417)
  • 7th in OBP (.339)
  • 8th in Isolated Power (.252)
  • 8th in homers (23)
  • 9th in walks (71)
One area where they actually rank pretty well is strikeouts where their 133 total is 5th lowest in the league. With all the talk of Josh Anderson and the speed he brings to the Tigers you might think they are running the bases well but they really aren't. According to Baseball Prospectus Equivalent Base Running Runs (EqBRR) Statistic they rank 13th with 2.54 runs below average.

On the other side of the ball, their pitching staff is 9th overall with a 4.84 FIP. Bullpen implosions have been most responsible for their relatively low ranking as their starting pitching ranks 5th in FIP.

It may look like their fielding has been bad but the defensive measures do not agree. They rank fifth in Defensive Efficiency Ratio at .700 and second on The Hardball Times Fielding Runs Above Average statistic (+11).

While the team has been very average overall, they have been some fine performances by individual players. The biggest surprise offensively has been Brandon Inge who leads the team in the following categories (found at FanGraphs):
  • OPS 1.114
  • Slugging .667
  • Isolated Power .348
  • Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA) 9.1
  • Walk Percentage 15.9%
  • BB/K ratio 0.93
Miguel Cabrera leads in batting average (.377) and On Base Average (.455). Their top base runner has been Josh Anderson (.432 EQBRR) but he is just barely ahead of Carlos Guillen (.430) and Gerald Laird (.391).

This will likely create an uproar but the pitching categories are divided among Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson and yes Justin Verlander who has done very well in the Fielding Indepencent Statistics:
  • ERA - Galarraga 1.85
  • FIP - Verlander 3.21
  • BB/9 IP - Jackson 2.25
  • K/ 9 IP - Verlander 10.93
  • HR/ 9 IP - Galarraga 0.37
That 2.25 walk ratio for Jackson has probably been the single most surprising and encouraging element of the Tigers pitching staff so far.

The bullpen has been led by Bobby Seay who leads the relievers in the following statistics:
  • ERA 0.00
  • FIP 2.08
  • BB/ 9 IP 0.00
  • Win Probability Added (WPA) 0.52
Despite his 5.63 ERA, Fernando Rodney ranks right behind Seay with a 0.51 WPA.


  1. AnonymousMay 01, 2009

    You ever try watching a baseball game? It can be a lot of fun. The numbers that you use and seemingly obsess over really take away from the basic enjoyment of a baseball game. You should try it. These numbers are stupid and take away the very essence of what baseball really is.

  2. Mr. Anonymous, I've watched thousands of games over the past 40 years and I agree that they are lots of fun to watch with or without stats. Statistics make the games even more fun for me and help me understand it more. Major League teams agree with me as every one of them employs statisticians to inform their decisions.

    If you don't enjoy statistical analysis, I suggest you try reading another baseball web site. There are a lot of very good ones out there with lots of different perspectives not involving statistics. I'm sure you can find one that is more suitable to your interests.


  3. Mr. Anonymous, perhaps you'd care to wax eloquent on what the essence of baseball is then, and how the evil maths take away from it eyond "numbers are stupid"?

  4. Mr. Anonymous,
    Your an ass.



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