• Do Numbers Not Adding Up Provide An Explanation?

    Posted by on June 27th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    Via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, I was just looking at the A.L. team totals, to date, in RCAA and RSAA. Here are the leaders:



    So, in terms of team totals, the Yankees offense is third best in the league and the Yankees pitching is fourth best in the league.

    Then, why do the Yankees have the 10th best record in the league?

    It seems like a team with the talent of the Yankees should have least the fourth best record in the league. Since they’re six slots under that expectation, they’re under-performing.

    This all begs the question: What causes a team to under-perform?

    Well, if it’s not lack of skill, it’s got to be lack of motivation and/or lack of leadership, no? Oh, wait, it’s “back luck” – right? Really?

    What do you think?

    Comments on Do Numbers Not Adding Up Provide An Explanation?

    1. rbj
      June 27th, 2007 | 4:22 pm

      Snake bitness. Yanks have been so good for so long, they were bound to have a year of bad luck. How does “motivation” or “leadership” factor into it?

    2. Garcia
      June 27th, 2007 | 4:30 pm

      You watch the games, as we all do, and from all the games I’ve watched I don’t feel that the Yankees offense performs as the third best in the league and the Yankees pitching does not perform like fourth best in the league.

      Sometimes you just have to watch the games, that’s why I don’t believe 100% in all the SABR stats and/or any other stat because they are all devoid of one key aspect, the visual portion. And the same rule applies to the stats, sometimes our eyes can deceive us and the stats can help put things in perspective.

      When you look at the Yankees and when they can’t execute a bunt – Cano last night – then that tells me that this is a team that can’t do the hidden things well. The stuff that doesn’t show up in the box score (i.e Abreu and Cabrera giving up on a fly ball) and is not accounted for in any stat.

      I always think back to my time in college and the studies that were done on software development teams, a perfectly gelled team will usually produce a high quality product, a team that doesn’t gel and operates in chaos will hardly ever produce anything high in quality. This Yankee team simply hasn’t gelled. I felt this team really gelled when they beat up on Boston last year, but then in September when Sheffield came back and the dynamics of the team changed, so went the perfectly gelled team we saw in August.

      I don’t really think the Sawx are as great as their record, but one thing they have done since day one is that they’ve gelled fairly well. They communicate, they pick each other up, bunts are executed, Crisp makes some awesome plays on defense, etc, etc.

      How does a team gel? They win on a consistent basis and they build on their success, and even when they fail they stay the course and know that they’ll win the next day. Think back to the ALCS in 1998, Bloc-head throws the ball away, and the Indians go up 2 – 1 on the Yanks but that team knew how to overcome adversity, they had gelled, and knew that they would beat the Indians.

      Also having the right mix of talent helps too. This type of topic can be talked about for the next year and we’ll never have a good answer.

      Right, “Stevie”? 🙂

    3. June 27th, 2007 | 4:30 pm

      ~~~How does “motivation” or “leadership” factor into it?~~~

      The ability to remain focused, and perform well, at key moments within a game – those key plays that can mean the difference between a run or two…and the difference between winning and losing.

    4. Garcia
      June 27th, 2007 | 4:35 pm

      BTW, I think other Yankee teams have gelled fairly well and they didn’t win the championship. I felt that all the Yankee teams, except for the 2004 and 2006 clubs, were all a pretty cohesive unit. Even in 2005, I felt that after they came back the way they did that they had a lot of chemistry going for them. They just couldn’t beat the Angels. Sometimes that happens.

    5. bobo
      June 27th, 2007 | 4:54 pm

      Simply because they win blowouts and lose close games.

      They have scored 270 runs and given up 103 in their wins, an average margin of victory of 4.64 runs. 26 times did we win a game by 4 runs or more.

      They have scored 130 runs and given up 236 in their losses, an average margin of loss of 2.79 runs. Only 11 times have we lost a game by 4 runs or more.

      This is a huge difference, if it wasn’t obvious. Unfortunately I don’t have the numbers for the rest of the teams, but obviously as a whole, the average margin of victory is equal to the average margin of loss.

      You talk about gelling, and executing, whatever, but if we didn’t, how could be absolutely demolishing our opponents nearly half the time?

      I of course see the bad decisions in the bullpen by Torre, and so-and-so not getting a bunt down. But this doesn’t happen all the time.

      I’m pretty firmly in the “bad luck” camp. You redistribute those runs a bit, and we’re 8 games over .500.

      Luckily over time, that’s exactly what has been shown to happen.

    6. Raf
      June 27th, 2007 | 5:04 pm

      To look at the numbers a bit closer, these are the guys who have hurt the team

      Ron Villone -1
      Colter Bean -2
      Mike Mussina -2
      Matt DeSalvo -3
      Luis Vizcaino -3
      Chase Wright -3
      Tyler Clippard -5
      Jeff Karstens -5
      Kei Igawa -9

      Andy Phillips -1
      Johnny Damon -3
      Miguel Cairo -5
      Josh Phelps -5
      Wil Nieves -7
      Bobby Abreu -8
      Robinson Cano -8
      Doug Mientkiewicz -8
      Melky Cabrera -10

      So it looks like the pitching is stabilizing; most of the guys who have a negative RSAA aren’t on the team, but they need to do something about the offense.

    7. Lee Sinins
      June 27th, 2007 | 5:45 pm

      I don’t consider anyone who says that the stats are wrong because they don’t confirm with what the person “saw” to have any credibility. I don’t believe them when they say that they saw the games.

      If you did see the games, you would see a team that (1) has allowed 4.40 earned runs per 9 innings, (2) in a league in which the average team allows 4.44 earned runs per 9 innings and (3) played in a good hitter’s park so far this year, with 13% more runs being scored in Yankees home games vs. Yankees road games.

      Each of those are undisputable facts.

      Combining all of those factors, as well as performing the same combining of the factors for every team in the league, produces the conclusion that the Yankees have had the 4th best pitching in the league.

      A similar combining of factors can be done for the Yankees hitting.

      To deny those facts, because they do not conform to what you say that you saw, leads only to the conclusion that you did not actually see that which you claim to have seen.

      It is no different than someone who denys that Dwight Eisenhower was President of the United States from 1/20/53 to 1/20/61 and claims he was alive then and that doesn’t conform to what he saw. If one attempted to deny such an indisputable fact, then the only reasonable explanation is the person really did not see what he claims that he saw.

      The deniers of statistical facts have just as little credibility.

    8. Don
      June 27th, 2007 | 6:22 pm

      No one expected Abreu or Cano to be so very bad. Although Cano is the type to be a boom-or-bust as he swings at too many pitches and had a way high opinion of himself before he arrived. I was in favor of not picking up Abreu’s 2008 contract last year, before this awful season; he must not be back

      Melky should be on the bench or in AAA.

      Ca$hman has put together a poor bench.

      The Joe Torre obsession with Cairo is sad. Cairo in the lineup, again. Where’s Don Zimmer when you need him? He made Torre think.

    9. bobo
      June 27th, 2007 | 6:30 pm

      Lee Sinins: Nice, but I don’t think anyone is denying that they have the 4th best pitching or 3rd best hitting, or at least something in that neighborhood.

      The question is given that, how can our record is so bad. Why do we lose games by small margins but win them by big margins?

      It would be interesting to study the games more in depth.

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