The following was sent to me via email yesterday by the folks at ACTA Sports -
What are the odds that a player will do better than he did the previous year? In the recently-released Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010, baseball guru Bill James explains his new “Strong Seasons Leading Index,” a methodology that tries to round up as many indicators as possible and produce a list of hitters who are most likely—and least likely—to improve on their 2009 seasons.
“Age is the most obvious indicator of likely movement,” James says in his article. “We also know that players tend to move back to their historical norms, so we look at last year’s On-base Plus Slugging percentage compared to his career OPS. We also factor in a player’s batting average on balls in play, his strikeout-to-walk ratio, and his speed before distilling all this into a single number that indicates how likely a player is to have a strong season in the coming year.”
The article in its entirety is available here. James scores each player out of a possible 38 points. A score of 24 or higher indicates a better-than 50% chance the player will sustain or improve the following season; 23 points or less makes it increasingly unlikely the player will top last year’s numbers.
Here are the top 10 players most likely to sustain or improve in 2010, along with their Strong Seasons Leading Index score:
Player 2010 Team Score Dioner Navarro Tampa Bay Rays 26 Chris B. Young Arizona Diamondbacks 25 J.J. Hardy Minnesota Twins 25 Russell Martin Los Angeles Dodgers 24 Grady Sizemore Cleveland Indians 24 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox 23 James Loney Los Angeles Dodgers 23 Ian Kinsler Texas Rangers 23 B.J. Upton Tampa Bay Rays 23 Nate McLouth Atlanta Braves 23
Here are the 10 players least likely to sustain or improve in 2010, along with their Strong Seasons Leading Index score:
Player 2010 Team Score Jorge Posada New York Yankees 8 Matt Diaz Atlanta Braves 9 Craig Counsell Free Agent 9 Russell Branyan Free Agent 11 Jason Bartlett Tampa Bay Rays 11 Scott Podsednik Free Agent 11 Derrek Lee Chicago Cubs 11 Kendry Morales LA Angels of Anaheim 11 Ichiro Suzuki Seattle Mariners 11 Rajai Davis Oakland Athletics 12
I’m reading The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 now and will have a review on it soon. But, in the interim, this is an interesting study. And, as a tease, I’ll also have a study coming out within the next few days on Posada and his future with the Yankees.