Saturday, 7 September 2013

Wx - Lx Records: Part 2

In this post, which in retrospect I will call Part 1, I introduced the idea of using RE24 and REW to get an idea of what pitchers' "true" win-loss records should be. This is an attempt to reduce or eliminate the effect of team offence on what is deserving of a win, a loss, or a no decision, without removing the start-to-start luck experienced by the pitcher.

If a pitcher gets lucky and has a great season despite allowing an alarming number of base runners and warning track fly balls, that pitcher is deserving of wins, as they currently stand, despite the fact that you may not want that pitcher to lead your staff next year. If that same pitcher ends up with a lot of losses and no decisions because his team's offence only averages 2 runs per game- those are the kind of W-L fluctuations I am trying to see past.

One of my sharp readers commented that in the hitters post, I was comparing Wx-Lx for hitters with W-L for pitchers. Good point.

In this post I want to put some big tables of Wx-Lx for pitchers, then:
a) see if it still makes sense
b) see whose W-L records may not be as great as they seem

a) and b) are related - part of the Wx-Lx making sense is who would benefit and who would not from this alternative scoring system.

Friday, 6 September 2013

W - L for Hitters (Part 2)

In Part 1, I introduced the concept of win-loss records for hitters that are within the same range as real pitchers' win-loss records. I built many tables of single season win-loss records.

Now I will look at a few selected players' career totals, in a few different categories: no-doubt hall of fame type players (Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds); mid-level hall of fame types (Cal Ripken, Pete Rose, Robin Yount, Paul Molitor); borderline cases from the last few years (Craig Biggio, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Kirby Puckett); and current players who I think might be interesting (Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Vernon Wells, Adrian Beltre, Adam Dunn). I will then pick a couple of comparable pitchers based on their real win-loss records.

Let's start with the all time stat-masters.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

W - L for Hitters

Baseball fans learn to understand win loss records pretty quickly. At least until they become the dreaded sabermetricians who doubt everything they ever knew about win loss records.

But, win-loss records are still a thing, and given a win loss record you probably have an 80% chance of understanding what kind of season that pitcher had. When I was a kid, Jack Morris came to play for the hometown blue jays and WON 20 GAMES. Well, he was worth 2.9 WAR that year, and his 4.04 ERA was not special. So that is a misleading example. I have already written about Cliff Lee and how much his 2012 6-9 record means.

Anyways, yesterday I decided to turn RE24, which can transform into REW, into an equivalent win loss record that depends a little less on how the pitcher's team does in individual games and a little more about how the pitcher actually, you know, pitches. I can't go into what RE24 means again, so please go read that one first.

The Win is Dead! Long Live the xWin!

I was reading Joe Posnanski's blog, as usual, when I went through this article and came across a comment by one of his Brilliant Readers, Stephanie. Which got me thinking that it's time for a blog post.

The article is about the building support which has been apparently formalized into killing the win as a statistic because it's dumb. But maybe we should still keep it, because everyone knows the win and its a very easy to understand statistic. 20-5 is a great season. 11-13 is a mediocre season. 3-12 is a bad season. Ok.

I've already been over this, but although wins and losses are certainly correlated with a good pitching season, they can be incredibly misleading. So I am proposing an alternative, a way to turn a very good and robust advanced metric into a win loss record. For now, let's call it xWins and xLosses, or Wx-Lx.

First, a look at old wins and losses.

To get a win, a starting pitcher must
- pitch at least 5 innings
- leave with his team in the lead
- his team never gives away the lead and wins the game

To get a loss, a starting pitcher must
- start the game
- leave the game with his team losing, and his team never comes back to even tie the game

Ok. That's a weird statistic, right? Relief pitcher wins are even worse. For example, you could pitch 1/3 of an inning, give up 5 runs so that your team is tied or losing, but finish the inning. Now have your team mount a comeback in the next half inning, get pulled out of the game, and pick up the WIN.