Saturday, October 23, 2010

Were The Rangers Actually Better Than The Yankees By The End Of The Season?

That is sort of the question raised by Rob Neyer at Rangers had 'em all the way. One comment caught my interest. It was from the peerless yet eccentric and reclusive "maxbentley." He said:

"For the season, the Yankees had an OPS differential of .065 while the Rangers had .048. In the 2nd half, those were .033 and .043. So the Rangers passed the Yanks. In Sept/Oct, those #'s were .009 & .035. The last month or so the Rangers were playing alot better. Could be the opponents. But it is interesting."
I thought I would break things down just a little differently and use 1.7*OBP + SLG. The table below shows the results. As you can see, the Yankees were much better in the 1st half, but as the season wore on, the Rangers were clearly better. That could possibly be due to the Rangers getting Cliff Lee and getting more playing time from Moreland, as Neyer suggests. The Yankees differentials were .122, .042 and .017. The Rangers did a better job of maintaining their performance. Their differentials were .064, .058 and .052. It is true that the Yankees probably played a tougher schedule, especially the last 18 games. But even considering that, the Rangers seemed to have been a better team in the 2nd half and the last month. A .052-.017 edge the last month looks very big. Another thing occurs to me: Josh Hamilton only played 5 games in Sept./Oct. That held down the team OBP and SLG. So the Rangers might have been better than their differential indicates.