Deadballers: Ducky and High Pockets Present…

Passionately undeveloped opinions on the state of baseball, the shifting landscape of stats and analysis, and the opiate power of El Pato tomato sauce

Interleague Update: June 24, 2013

We are officially past the halfway point of interleague games in 2013 (2 games past technically) so I’m back with an update on how the scoring has broken down. First and foremost, the AL leads the NL on record, 80-72. Based on pythagorean expectation, the AL should’ve won 80.82 games, the NL 71.18, so we are actually very close to what our run differential suggests. Check out how win expectancy has tracked with actual wins here: AL Wins, Game 152

Not too much variation off expected, in fact never more than about 3.5 games.

Run differential itself is a bit more interesting. The AL regained the advantage around game #30 and has never looked back, pushing it as high as 60 in their favor.

Run Differential, Game 152

Who wants to see stabilized data? Everyone! Runs scored per game has tracked nicely since about game #40, as can be seen below. There’s currently a 0.29 runs/game advantage for the AL (AL: 4.32, NL: 4.03), though both are ever so slightly below their intraleague averages (AL: 4.39, NL: 4.06). I’m going to step out on a limb and assume those aren’t significant differences.

RS/G, Game 152

Lastly, I’ve added a histogram of win margin to see if one league or another is posting a lot more 8-run victories than normal. Nearly 75% of both teams wins are of the 1 to 3 run variety, though the AL has more of the 2- and 3-run variety, the NL has more 1-run. Beyond that each league is posting about the same number of blowouts, with the AL having two 9-run victories to the NL’s zero, and two 10-run victories to the NL’s one being the biggest contributors to run differential.

Win Margin, Game 152

As a whole, the leagues are very well matched up through a 152 games, which should be expected. The AL seems to be making slow but steady progress towards a better record, but the small win margins would seem to indicate it’s fairly luck driven and not necessarily an indicator of a real quality difference between the leagues. I guess the All-Star Game will sort that one out for us! /sarcasm/

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We need more power!

Got wind thanks to @lonestarball, this tweet sums up The Worldwide Leader’s attention to details:

Yup, the Red Sox just jumped the Rangers in rankings of power (a bizarre concept when you really think about it) after getting swept by said Rangers.

3 weeks of interleague

And boy how things have changed. I suppose it’s not actually too much considering one week of data is so small, but still things are different looking. That primarily is due to the White Sox getting swept by the Nationals a week and a half ago, as well as the Twins getting knocked around by the Mets in between snow storms. The AL gained some ground back with wins by Texas, New York, and Baltimore, but really only enough to stem the tide for the time being.

chart_1

As you can see, the run differential took a drastic turn south in favor of the NL when the Metropolitans beat the Twins by 11. It peaked as high as +16 in favor of the senior circuit and hasn’t got closer than +8. Note: The Twins now play the Marlins for the first interleague series this week. God knows what this graph will look like come Thursday.
chart_2

Hand in hand with getting outscored is losing (learned that from Joe Morgan), and you can see a nice 5 game losing streak right after I started this project. The AL Central blows. It did provide us with our first drop in expected win percentage though (at game 10). A nice recovery towards expectations has the AL being only slightly unlucky according to Pythagoras.
chart_3

Meanwhile, the NL has a nice steady climb going for it, which serves up some confirmation bias for me that the AL is top-heavy in good teams while the NL has more parity but higher average talent. Provable? Hopefully for someone else.

chart_4

And lastly, a new graph that shows each league’s runs scored per game in interleague contests. The NL has actually scored exactly 5 runs per game to this point, whereas the AL is a tick below 4.5. We’ll see how much the summer months cause this graph to go skyward.

I know I mentioned that Ducky wasn’t as positive this data is actually meaningful a few weeks ago and I’m still not either, but I do think it provides an interesting storyline to how the first year of year-round interleague progresses. Who’s the better league is always a nice subplot to the season and while this in no way provides an answer to that question it does provide food for thought. And pretty graphs.

-High Pockets

Keeping tabs on Interleague

Update: I think Ducky is not as enthused about this as I am, and he brings up good points. I’ve always seen pythagorean expectation used for a single team over the course of a season and assumed it would apply for a league as well. That may not be the case. So while I do some digging take all this with a grain of salt. Which you should anyway since 6 games doesn’t not a meaningful sample size make. The run differential trend should be fun regardless though. -High Pockets

Update 2: Also, this expectation equation I’ve used has a factor of 2 involved. Apparently research since the original equation came about has found that a factor of 1.83 is more accurate. It will be used from now on (if pythagorean expectation is continued).

Since Interleague play is constant this year as a result of the Astros moving to the AL, we can follow how each league is doing all year long instead of waiting until June. I’ll be posting a few graphs after every week to get an idea of what’s going on. The first will be run differential, then a graph of AL Wins vs. Expected wins (computed based of simple pythagorean expectation), and finally a graph of NL Wins vs. Expected Wins (the inverse of the AL graph).

chart_1 (2)

Fairly close after a week, thanks to four 1-run games, a 2-run game, and a lone blowout of Philly by KC. The Reds and Angels seemed to be evenly matched, but the 9 run win by the Royals threw the run differential immediately into the AL’s favorite.

chart_2

The AL has already been unlucky to the tune of nearly a game. Again, thank the Royals beatdown of Philadelphia on Friday.

chart_3

Since the AL has been unlucky, the NL must’ve been lucky to win its 3 games. Math is fun like that.

So there you have it. After one week the AL is clearly superior to the NL /incorrect assertion/. See you all next week!

WGotD: 4-2-13

Slim pickin’s for the worst game of the day today. There’s only 7 games to begin with, which is odd because you think these guys wouldn’t need a day off yet. And the Rays, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Indians are just now getting started. Weirdos. So with our limited slate of games to choose from I’ve gone ahead and selected the Rockies and Brewers as the Worst Game of the Day. Which is hilarious because their first game was tied in the 9th on a homerun by Dexter Fowler of all people, then Jonathan Lucroy hit a walkoff sac fly for the Brew Crew in the 10th. Go Figure. The matchup of Marco Estrada and De La Rosa…wait, that’s not Rubby is it? No, it’s Jorge. Ok, Marco Estrada and Jorge De La Rosa don’t create excitement, so yeah, I’m comfortably making Colorado v. Milwaukee (all matchups now titled like court cases) my selection.


Go Tulo!

Unconnected thoughts

First, the WGotD (worst game of the day, catch up with the new lingo) quickly turned one-sided thanks to a Colin Cowgill (who?) grand slam. He plays for the Mets. So the Mets won 11-2 over the hapless Padres. Edinson Volquez was once traded for Josh Hamilton and for awhile people thought the Reds won that trade. Not so much. Oh, and Ike Davis was 0-5 with 4 Ks. So begins the Deadballers curse.

Second, I was going to rant about this earlier, but Ron Washington is an idiot and his ability to create a unified clubhouse is quickly becoming a non-starter for me in conversations. Is it really that hard to not be seen as a blowhard stats guy of a manager by players? Why can’t common sense work in a clubhouse? Can’t we just tell baseball players, “Look, bringing in this player in this situation gives us the best chance to win, period. Sorry you’re the veteran and you’ve got to take a seat on this one.”? Would they not understand? Yesterday, in a 4-2 game in the 6th inning, Ron Washington brought in Derek Lowe to face Rick Ankiel with 2 men on. Lowe had most recently not been selected to be the teams 5th starter over Nick Tepesch (go look him up, I can wait)……….Exactly. Why do you bring in your worst possible option to face a decent power hitter?! WTF, Ron?!

Rant over. It could be a long season.

WGotD: Opening Day Edition

Happy baseball season, everyone! Yes, it all started last night technically, with an abysmal performance by the Texas Rangers against division foe Houston (so strange), but I’m actually in a good mood. Probably because Texas followed that game up by signing awesome shortstop and handsome gentleman Elvis Andrus to a long term extension at a very friendly price. Hello most amazing infield for the next 5 years (at least).

Back to today though. Games have already started and before they get going too much I wanted to introduce a new feature I’m going to try and pump out daily (probably not going to happen). Instead of the game you should really try to find on tv, it’s the game you ideally want to avoid. It’s The Worst Game of the Day! [cool graphic and guitar riff]

I’ll try to prevent this from becoming whoever is playing the Marlins all year long, but standings, talent, and general interest will take precedent in deciding who gets the short straw.

Our first worst game of the day is San Diego vs. the Mets. Both teams have decidedly low expectations and strong divisional rivals. Edinson Volquez takes the hill for San Diego, a team I was unaware he played for. Jon Niese, who’s actually not bad, toes the bump for the Metropolitans. Other than that we have David Wright and Yonder Alonso (forgot he was a Padre), maybe Ike Davis, as standout players of the game. If Davis could go ahead and smash about 6 homeruns today to get my fantasy team off to a hot start it would be much appreciated.

The game has already started and it’s the top of the 2nd, scoreless, and the Padres have the only hit and an error. Avoid at all costs, folks. And Chase Headley, come back soon.

-High Pockets

RIP Earl Weaver

Legendary Orioles coach Earl Weaver passed away last night. The last year he managed was the year I was born, so he was a little before my time. That doesn’t mean he still can’t influence the game, both the way it’s played and thought about. He’ll be remembered, especially in Baltimore, for 4 AL pennants and one World Series title in 1970 as well as nearly 1500 wins in 17 seasons.

I will always remember him for the link below, as it most likely started my love of baseball of my realization of how deep the history of the game really is. Thanks for the memories, Coach Weaver, you will be missed.

Earl Weaver Baseball (1987)

Hall Pass

Growing up my family used to take long vacations in our giant Ford van across the country. We mostly saw national parks and various historic places, stepping out onto American battlefields or into state capitols after riding 10 hours or more. We always made sure to find nearby pro stadiums to at least see from the outside or take a tour. I distinctly remember walking through Old Busch Stadium in St. Louis before a night game; we couldn’t stay for the game. I remember going to Coors Field and whatever AT&T Park used to be called then, right after they opened. Baseball was my family’s life. It still is, though it’s less taking the kids to practice, more watching games on TV.

One summer we left the Texas heat for the northeast, visiting family friends in Indiana before journeying to upstate New York and Cooperstown. Cooperstown is not full of great memories, not just because we lost the family camera in a restaurant there and it never showed up again. Someone out there has about a 15 year old Canon camera with film of our trip; we’d still like it back, please. Anyways, Cooperstown was not that awe-inducing for a 12 year old. I’d heard of a few of the bigger names obviously — Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, etc. — but for everyone player I’d heard of there were probably 10 I had no clue who they were. Add in the owners, umpires, broadcasters, and everything else and it’s easy to see how the Hall of Fame just doesn’t do it for a pre-teen kid. My favorite part? The Louisville Slugger bat making demo, just down the street if I remember correctly. Reading bronze plaques of people you’ve never heard of doesn’t really do it for most kids, I imagine.

Today the BBWAA announced that this years class of Hall of Fame inductees will include no living players. After the selection of years recently where it seems like they’re just letting anybody in, suddenly no one is good enough. Not in terms of baseball, mind you. No, no one is a good enough person to deserve to be inducted. Barry Bonds, the most prolific home run hitter of all time and (to borrow a phrase from FJM) notorious dog-puncher*, just rubbed too many writers the wrong way when he used steroids. Disregard the fact that the writers most likely knew he was doing it. Roger Clemens dominated hitters for about two decades, but taking winstrol in the ass is too much a black stain on his previously awesome demeanor for the flawless writers to overlook. God knows what Tim Raines has to do to get elected to the Hall. He should find out what Jack Morris did to get so much support.

I’m not going to go over every candidate. The steroid-linked (rightfully or not) candidates have issues that some people will never be able to get past. Focusing on them means others fall by the wayside. Kenny Lofton fell off the damn ballot because he only got 18 votes. Maybe he’s not Hall of Fame caliber, but he deserves a little more consideration than 18 votes. David Wells got one year on the ballot with a better WHIP and ERA+ than Jack Morris. Their vote percentages: 0.9 and 67.7, respectively. Bye-bye, David, guess writers didn’t like those storylines you gave them. Fred McGriff’s career 134 OPS+? An abysmal 20.7% of the vote, after 23.9% last year. The Crime Dog needs big support soon. None of these guys, plus the what should be sure things like Biggio, Bagwell, Schilling, Clemens, Bonds, Piazza, Raines, and others should have to put up with the idiocy of so many of the writers. I’m worried about Greg freaking Maddux making it in next year for chrissakes.

The point of all this is the Hall of Fame has never really been about the fans. Throwing some plaques and pictures up and saying “These guys were the best according to the writers” just isn’t doing it for me anymore. The players I remember being amazed at growing up apparently aren’t good enough or weren’t nice enough or simply played in the wrong era for the people in charge. I’m tired of it. An awful lot of us know who’s good enough to be in the Hall of Fame, regardless of what 569 ballot casting people who may not really cover baseball think. If I walked through Cooperstown this year, I imagine I’d be enthralled about as much as I was when I was 12.

It’s funny, we never use the actual name this site started as in our heads because it’s pretty stupid. Deadballers worked because we liked the nicknames of two players who played near the Deadball era. But our emails contain the real name we started as: the MBWAA. The Mothers Basement Writing Association of America. And just like the real BBWAA, we’re going to start voting for our own hall of fame. Ducky is in the process of writing up the initial points now, but if you want to join in on the fun, please do. We’re going to try and recognize the people (ALL of the people) who were awesome to baseball; playing it, coaching it, umping it, broadcasting it, whatever. The Baseball Hall of Fame should be about recognizing achievement in a very fun game, not holding grudges or bias or being a snooty prick against someone for any reason, legitimate or not. Let’s have some damned fun.

High Pockets

PS- Aaron Sele got a vote? WTF?

Cyber Monday News

It’s Cyber Monday, which means some cool things are on sale. But more than likely it’s stuff that you already have or could get at a hardware store for $4. Case in point: this level on Amazon. It really looks like a steal for $7.96, but today only there’s a coupon for an additional $2.50 off. That’s $5.46! Winner!

A few key features:

  • True Blue Vial, superior accuracy, durability, visibility, made in USA

It’s blue. So cool. Superior accuracy? It’s a level, you line up bubbles. Made in the USA makes me really want it though.

  • Heavy-duty extruded aluminum frame

Heavy-duty, so I can totally go to town on this level and it won’t break. That’s American quality right there.

  • Strong-holding magnetic edge

Well at least it’s strong holding. Weak-holding would kinda defeat the purpose.

  • Advanced concentric molding guarantees perfectly formed vials

That sounds cool, so it must be.

  • Vials read plumb, level and 45 degrees

The same as every level ever made.

Let’s go to the reviews!

From Michelle,
4 out of 5 stars, titled “Works fine”
“Not much to say. I have no complaints. It works fine. Serves my needs. It is small, but that’s no issue for me.”

Feel the enthusiasm!

From cody181,
5 out of 5 stars, titled “great level”
“I bought this item because I really like the blue color water levels and because it is magnetic and looks nice.”

Cody knows what he wants and he got it. Of course, he searched Amazon for a level, so he might be a shut in and wants all the levels, but that’s ok. I’m not here to judge (yes I am).

From MortemCaine,
4 out of 5 stars, titled “Stronger than it looks”
“While the description says it’s aluminum, it’s obvious that it’s more plastic than anything, but apparently that doesn’t matter. I’ve dropped this thing from the top of scissor lifts (I’ll tell you why shortly) countless time, as had my co-worker who has the same level, and both are still fully intact, fully operational.

Why 4 stars? The magnet. While in my field (sheet metal) I would really like it to have magnets on both side I can see how some people wouldn’t, however, the magnet that they did put on it could have been a little more magnetically attractive. It’s like the magnet rolls you get at arts and craft stores for making crappy fridge magnets. Hence the reason the level keeps falling off the duct those times when you’re leveling the bottom over the side of the lift. And to make things worse (for me, don’t know about other trades that don’t work with metal as much) it’s just strong enough to grab the little steel shaving, making it even harder for the already weak magnet to grab the metal (a different co-worker has one that’ll fly outta your hand before you even get to the metal)”

Wow, that was way more than I was expecting. You’ve really made me think about my level needs, MortemCaine, and for that I thank you.

 

From Adre5484,
5 out of 5 stars, titled “GREAT!!!!”
“GREAT PRODUCT!!! WORKS WELL FOR ALMOST ANY JOB EASY TO SITS ON SURFACES WELL AND STANDS WELL. THEY SHOULD MAKE A BIGGER VERSION OF THIS LEVEL.”

Have I got some exciting news for you, Adre5484: http://www.amazon.com/Empire-e81-12-12-Inch-Magnetic-Level/dp/B0007A2A0Q/ref=pd_cp_hi_1

God, I love this country.

In baseball news, Evan Longoria got paid again today (6 year extension, 100 million Washingtons), so he could buy 18,315,018 levels (before taxes and shipping). Well done, Evan.