Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pirate Batters Like Home Cooking

It was pointed out at that the Pittsburgh offense has done much better at home than on the road this year. Let's compare park adjusted runs/game for all MLB teams so far in 2006:
TEAM      Adj HM R/G   AW R/G   DIFF
Arizona 5.93 4.56 30%
Atlanta 4.80 5.59 -14%
Baltimore 6.15 4.04 52%
Boston 5.39 5.54 -3%
Chicago Cub 4.08 3.77 8%
Chicago Sox 5.73 5.35 7%
Cincinnati 5.32 4.73 13%
Cleveland 5.59 5.81 -4%
Colorado 3.82 4.10 -7%
Detroit 4.62 5.56 -17%
Florida 4.71 4.80 -2%
Houston 4.54 4.62 -2%
Kansas City 4.79 3.41 41%
LA Angels 4.37 4.59 -5%
LA Dodgers 6.10 5.35 14%
Milwaukee 4.85 5.08 -5%
Minnesota 5.27 4.08 29%
NY Mets 4.92 5.28 -7%
NY Yankees 6.26 5.84 7%
Oakland 4.40 4.63 -5%
Philadelphi 4.95 4.95 0%
Pittsburgh 5.88 3.54 66%
San Diego 3.72 6.09 -39%
San Francis 5.27 4.56 16%
Seattle 4.61 4.44 4%
St. Louis 5.14 5.08 1%
Tampa Bay 4.66 3.76 24%
Texas 4.56 5.50 -17%
Toronto 5.86 5.09 15%
Washington 4.39 4.50 -2%
Wow. While the league average home advantage currently sits at 7%, Pittsburgh batters have pounded out 66% more runs at home than on the road. The next closest team is the Royals, at 41%.

There are a lot of things wrong with these numbers of course. For one, I only accounted for park factors in home games and assumed the road games averaged out. I really should have found a weighted average park factor for each team's away runs/game. Second, I didn't account for the strength of the pitching home or away. There could be significant differences in the level of pitching Pirate batters have had to face at home and on the road.

I think the largest culprit is just dumb luck, however. I bet you'll see these numbers be a lot closer to league average by the end of the year.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Series Win Probabilities - Mil @ Phi

Hard to be upset about having a greater than 55% chance of winning a series on the road. The pitching matchups seem to be favorable to Milwaukee as well.

Also, be sure to check out Bill Batterman's series preview over at

Capuano Takes The Ball As Brewers Visit Citizen's Bank Park To Face-off With Phillies

Hit Tracker is Neat

Ever watch a moon shot slam against the back wall of Miller Park and wonder how far it would have gone? Well, now you can know. A new website called Hit Tracker calculates what it calls the true and standard distances for all home runs in the majors. “True distance” is simply how far the ball would have traveled unimpeded. “Standard distance” also makes adjustments for wind and atmospheric conditions, allowing for more fair distance comparisons. posted an article about the website here:

Some interesting Brewer-related facts:

  • The shortest HR of the year has been Lane’s cheapy against Wise on April 17th. It traveled a “standard distance’ of only 297 ft. I remember watching that HR and thinking with disgust how easy it is to hit home runs to left field at Minute Maid Park. Seeing this certainly doesn’t change my mind.

  • Prince Fielder has insane power. He currently has the two longest “true distance” home runs for the Brewers this year. One would have traveled 473 ft and the other 462 ft. The 473 ft shot was the 3rd longest in the majors so far. Both were just monster shots.

  • Carlos Lee has the 4th hardest hit home run of the year. His laser beam the other day had a calculated speed of 124.5 MPH off the bat.

It’s updated nightly so check it out often.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

David Bush Will Be Fine

A couple bad outings and already Bush is being described as pathetic and horrible on message boards everywhere. Calm down people! In 10 starts, Bush is 3-4 with a 5.06 ERA. His latest outing was especially painful; giving up 5 runs to the Reds in the first before recording an out. Should we be concerned?

Let’s look at some of his raw stats:

Season  K/9  BB/9  HR/9 WHIP BABIP  LOB%   FIP
2004 5.90 2.30 1.01 1.23 .284 71.4 4.31
2005 4.95 1.91 1.32 1.25 .283 71.2 4.93
2006 7.73 2.11 1.41 1.23 .301 62.3 4.40
Total 5.86 2.08 1.24 1.24 .287 69.4 4.61
Compared to his career averages, Bush is currently striking out about an extra 2 batters a game, giving up about the same number of walks and has allowed a couple extra HRs than expected. That adds up to a 4.40 FIP, pretty respectable for a back of the rotation starter. The only other problem, other than the extra dingers, has been his low LOB%. That’s usually just a sign of bad luck. His career LOB% is pretty much in line with league average, so look for that to creep up as the season progresses.

I don’t see anything to be concerned about here. If anything, Bush seems to be progressing nicely.

Bush’s THT Stats

Bush's Fangraphs Page

Friday, May 19, 2006

Series Win Probabilities - Min @ Mil

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Series Win Probabilities - Phil @ Mil

With the season about a quarter of the way done, I'm finally comfortable to start viewing a team's raw stats as representative of their "true abilities". As a result, I'll begin posting series win probabilities for the Brewers again. I did so last year at, but I've modified the methodology somewhat. Instead of starting with actual runs scored (RS) and runs against (RA), I'll use expected RS and RA using the Base Runs run estimation formula. A quick overview of the steps I use:

1. Calculate expected RS and RA, using Base Runs

2. Find expected winning percentage with the Pythagopat Equation (with a .29 exponent)

3. Use the log5 equation to calculate the probability of winning a single game against a particular opponent.

4. Calculate the probability of winning a certain amount of games in a series.

You can find the Base Runs equation HERE and the rest of the methodology HERE. Without further delay, here is the series win probabilities for the upcoming Brewers/Philli series:

I have to stress, this in no way adjusts for the particular starting pitchers that will see action during the series, which is a significant limitation. Of course, using only a quarter of season's worth of stats to represent a team's true ability is a huge limitation, so take this for what it's worth :)

Runs Per Game and Consistency

Much has been made of the inconsistency the Brewers offense and pitching has supposedly exhibited so far this year. To be fair, it’s hard to ignore when a team wins 11-0 one day and loses 11-0 the very next day. Just how atypical has Milwaukee’s scoring per game been through their first 38 games, though? As a rough estimator for the typical runs per game (RPG) distribution, I used the values from THIS BP article. The Brewers are scoring and giving up about 5 RPG, so I used the 5.0 RPG chart as reference. There are far better ways to do this but I was being lazy and its close enough, anyway. Let's look at runs scored first:

The Brewers have been shut out about 2 more times than you would have expected but have also scored 1 and 2 RPG less than expected. Since it's rare to win any game where you score less than 3 runs anyway, it seems like a wash to me. The only other number way out of line is in the 6 RPG category, where the Brewers would have been expected to have about 4 such games (instead of their actual 1). Overall, their "runs scored" distribution doesn't look that out of wack to me, although that 16 run game was certainly unexpected.

Next up is runs against:

The Brewers have allowed 2 runs in 9 games so far this year, much higher than the expected 4 games. They've also been blasted to the tune of 10, 11, 12 and 13 runs already. This Hardball times article, suggests that that type of inconsistency is actually a good thing, however. The reason is quite simple and can be easily illustrated with an example. Over the course of 4 games, what set of runs would be better to give up?

Scenario 1: 2,2,2,18

Scenario 2: 6,6,6,6

In both cases, the pitchers have given up an average of 6 runs but they'll probably have a better record in scenario 1. For a given runs against average, it's better to get blasted a few games since that means that you must have given up less in all the others. This kind of inconsistency may have actually resulted in a couple extra wins for the Brewers this year.

This is all very quick and dirty but this consistency stuff is way over blown in my opinion. Even if a team had a tendency to have irregular run distributions, that fact might actually help them.

I hope to go into more detail about this in the near future.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bullpen Taking Too Much of the Load

Prompted by a poster's comment at, I took a look at what percentage of the total innings has been pitched by Brewer starters this year, compared to the rest of the NL. Here you go:
TEAM           G    St IP  Tot IP Start%
Arizona 37 226.0 325.2 69.5%
Florida 35 207.2 306.2 67.7%
San Francisco 38 227.1 336.1 67.6%
Cincinnati 38 226.2 340.0 66.5%
LA Dodgers 38 226.2 341.1 66.3%
Washington 38 224.2 338.1 66.3%
NY Mets 37 222.1 339.1 65.5%
Atlanta 37 212.2 325.0 65.3%
Colorado 38 219.1 339.0 64.6%
Chicago Cubs 37 209.2 324.0 64.6%
Pittsburgh 38 207.2 330.1 62.8%
San Diego 38 215.1 350.2 61.4%
St. Louis 38 206.0 336.1 61.3%
Philadelphia 37 194.0 329.0 59.0%
Houston 38 199.2 339.1 58.7%
Milwaukee 38 173.1 334.2 51.8%

With about one quarter of the season over, the Brewer starting pitchers are averaging less than 5 inning a start. Unsurprisingly, that's good for dead last by a WIDE margin. Not a good sign, especially when your bullpen has a below average 4.53 ERA so far.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Jenkins and Consistency

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I've been busy with a lot of things. That doesn't mean I haven't done any sabermetric work lately. As a little teaser to what I've been working on, I'll post 2 graphs with no explanation. I'll only say that if you've read "Curveball", you'll know what I'm up to.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Brewers Have Best RPI

ESPN's Relative Power Index (RPI) has the Brewers on top through yesterday's game. Their RPI uses the following:

Team Winning %: 25%
Opp. Ave winning %: 50%
Opp. opp. Ave winning %: 25%

It's easy to see why the Brewers are tops when you look at the top 4 teams:

Crew: .562
Reds: .561
Cubs: .545
Cards: .539

It's good to see that that the Brewers nice 15-11 start has been compiled against some pretty good/hot teams.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Brewer's Pythagorean Record, 4/27

With those 2 huge blowouts again the Cubs, the Brewers' pythagorean got a whole lot better:

I don't think the offense will continue to outscore all but 2 NL teams but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.