Sunday, June 10, 2018

Astros Fielders Have Played A Big Part In Success Of Their Pitchers So Far

Last year the Astros had a .682 Defensive Efficiency Rating (DER). That is the percentage of balls in play that are turned into outs. The league average was .689.

This year the Astros lead the AL with .721 while the league average is .692.

To get a rough idea of how much difference this might make, I ran a regression on all major league teams from 2014-2017 with ERA as the dependent variable and DER and FIP (fielding independent ERA) as the explanatory variables. Here is the equation

ERA = 11.97 - 17.22*DER + 0.973*FIP

The Astros are .039 better this year at DER (.721 - .682). That times 17.22 gives us .67. So their better defense is estimated to lower their ERA by .67 compared to last year.

Their FIP ERA is 3.16 this year while last year it was 3.91. That is an improvement of 0.75. That times .973 gives us about .73. So the FIP ERA improvement has lowered the overall ERA by more than the DER has, but it is very close.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Trout has a chance to be the first player to win a "triple threat" triple crown in 40 years

In 2015, I did a post on "triple threat" triple crowns "triple threat" triple crowns.

Suppose that we looked for league leaders in stats that might represent three different skills:

Speed (triples, SBs, SB%)

Power (SLG, ISO, HRs, TBs, extra-base hits)

Getting on base (OBP, times on base)

So if a player lead his league one year in at least one stat from all three skills, he won the "triple threat" triple crown. The link above has a table with all the winners. The last guy to do it was Jim Rice in 1978.

Right now, Trout is tied for 1st in SB%, leads in SLG, HRs, TBs, OBP and times on base. So he has the lead in at least one stat in all three categories.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Ohtani is 11th in the AL average game score for pitchers with 5+ starts and 9th in OPS+ for guys with 100+ PAs

Here are the ranks from the Baseball Reference Play Index.

Player GmScA
Justin Verlander 71.8
Gerrit Cole 69.8
Corey Kluber 66.7
Luis Severino 64.4
Charlie Morton 63.5
Chris Sale 63.4
Trevor Cahill 62.9
James Paxton 61.8
Trevor Bauer 61.5
Blake Snell 60.7
Shohei Ohtani 59.5


Player OPS+
Mookie Betts 208
Mike Trout 203
Manny Machado 172
Aaron Judge 170
J.D. Martinez 167
Jose Ramirez 167
Gleyber Torres 157
Mitch Moreland 155
Shohei Ohtani 154
Francisco Lindor 151

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Is This The Year Mike Trout Will Become Another Mickey Mantle?

Tim Kurkjian said Trout was another Mantle on ESPN back in May 2016. Trout, like Mantle, has both great speed and power to go along with a high OBP. But although Trout has been about as valuable as Mantle thru age 25, he has yet to come close to Mantle's peak value as a hitter.

Thru age 25, Trout has a 172 OPS+ while Mantle had 174. Trout had 54.2 WAR (and 9.2 per 650 PAs) while Mantle had 52.8 (and 8.8 per 650 PAs). So perhaps Trout is just slightly better.

But one thing that Trout has yet to match is Mantle's peak value in hitting. Look at what Mantle did at age 24. The table below shows he had a 210 OPS+ (his triple crown year). Age 25 was better with 221. He batted .365 with a .512 OBP and a .665 SLG.

Age
Trout
Mantle
19
89
117
20
168
162
21
179
144
22
168
158
23
176
180
24
173
210
25
186
221
Thru 25
172
174
 
So far Trout's best OPS+ was 186, last year. Mantle had one more season over 200, a 206. He also had a 195 and 188 (for qualified seasons). So his five best seasons are all above Trout's so far.

This year, after 54 games (one third of the season), Trout is at 207. Given that Mantle went over 200 three times, it seems like Trout would need to have at least one such season to be considered "another Mantle." Trout may end up with more career WAR (Mantle had 110.3) or a higher OPS+ (Mantle finished at 172). But Trout has not come close to Mantle's peak hitting value.

Last year Trout seemed to have a good chance to finish with a 200 or higher OPS+. Here is an excerpt from a post I did on August 8, 2017:
"Trout currently has an OPS+ of 216. He has played 68 games and the Angels have 49 left. Assuming an equal number of PAs per game played for each group of games (which might not be quite right), if he has an OPS+ of 178 the rest of the way, he would finish at 200"
Trout had been hurt. That is why he had only played 68 games thru Aug. 7. At that point, his OPS was 1.180. But in his last 46 games, his OPS was "only" .907. Maybe his injuries slowed him down. So there is no guarantee he will finish with an OPS+ of 200 or higher this year even though he is off to a good start.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Odd Split: Trout Hits Better Against Righties Than Lefties (Part 2)

Part 1 was yesterday. Trout had an OPS of .999 vs. RHP thru Sat. while it was .941 vs. LHP. Since 2012, all right handed batters combined had .707 & .749. That gives Trout a swing of .100.

For this post, I called up all the right handed batters that had 3000+ PAs since 2012 (thru Sun.). I looked at two things: What % of their PAs were against LHP and their OPS differential (vs. LHP minus vs. RHP).

Trout has faced LHP 24.496% of his PAs, the 15th lowest of the 54 guys in the study.   Another odd thing is that none of them reached the MLB average of 33.78%. Guys who reached 3000+ PAs are probably pretty good hitters overall and maybe they are just not given much of a chance to face LHP, something I wondered about yesterday with Trout. In this group, Austin Jackson had the highest % vs. LHP at 32.9%.

Now the OPS differential. Here are the ten lowest (or most negative). Trout has the biggest negative differential of the group by far. In fact, only 12 of the 54 had a negative OPSDIFF. 14 had a positive differential of .100 or more, with Giancarlo Stanton the biggest at .214 (1.090 - .872).

Player
OPS v. LHP
OPS v. RHP
OPSDiff
Mike Trout
0.950
1.008
-0.058
Brandon Phillips
0.700
0.730
-0.030
Adam Jones
0.767
0.797
-0.030
Albert Pujols
0.752
0.779
-0.027
Jose Bautista
0.822
0.844
-0.022
Carlos Gomez
0.758
0.778
-0.020
Manny Machado
0.806
0.821
-0.015
Edwin Encarnacion
0.888
0.901
-0.013
Jean Segura
0.722
0.735
-0.013
Jonathan Lucroy
0.792
0.797
-0.005