Monday, April 30, 2018

These HoFers Have Long Resumes, Too 4/30/18

Hey baseball fans!

There are plenty of names in baseball that are defined by one statistic or important fact, but baseball players have accomplished way more than just one specific thing. I know, that was some bad explaining, but here are some examples of what I mean:

Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken, Jr.
Baseball's iron men. The top two hitters in consecutive games played. But so what? It's not like they did anything during their respective games played streaks, right? Wrong. Gehrig is one of the best first basemen in baseball history, averaging 29 home runs and 117 RBIs a season during his 17-year career. Oh, and he also batted .340 lifetime. Ripken, on the other hand, homered 431 times in his 21 years in the bigs, made 19 consecutive All Star Games from 1983-2001 and, oh yeah, is 15th on the all-time hits list with 3,184 career knocks.

Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby
These trailblazers broke the color barrier in the National and American League, respectively, but if only they were actually HoF-worthy. Psych! They were! Robinson won the 1949 MVP and went to six All Star Games during his ten-year career. He stole almost 20 bases a season and even batted .311 lifetime. Doby led the league in home runs twice, hit 20+ homers in eight consecutive seasons, and even made seven straight All Star Games from 1949-1955.

Joe DiMaggio
56 straight games with a hit is surely an accomplishment, but you know what else is an accomplishment? Making an All Star Game every single year of batting at the major league level. That's right; DiMaggio played for 13 years from 1936-1951 (he missed 1943-1945 due to military service) and made 13 Midsummer Classics. The Yankee Clipper batted .325 during his illustrious career and is tied for the most MVPs in AL history with three (1939, 1941, and 1947).

So yes, Gehrig and Ripken will always be known for their determination; Robinson and Doby will always be known for their resilience; and DiMaggio will always be known for his streak of consistency. However, these guys are enshrined in Cooperstown because they were great ballplayers, not one-trick ponies. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The True Win: Another BwM Advanced Statistic 4/25/18

Hey baseball fans!

ERA and WHIP are, in my opinion, the easiest measurements of a pitcher's ability. You'll notice that I didn't say wins. That's because the "win" statistic can be extremely misleading. In some cases, a pitcher can get a ton of run support, allow a lot of earned runs, and still win the game; in other cases, a pitcher can go eight scoreless innings only to leave the game in the ninth with the contest still tied at zero. So, in order to make the calculation of wins seem a bit more correlated to a pitcher's skill, I present to you my new statistic: the true win.

The true win is calculated as follows: if a pitcher allows less earned runs than the average annual league ERA during a start, that pitcher is awarded with a true win. A pitcher can even earn a true win in cases where his bullpen blows (and loses) the game. On the other hand, if a pitcher allows more earned runs than the average annual league ERA during a start, that pitcher is awarded with a true loss. Here's an example: the average league ERA for 2017 was 4.35, so if a pitcher goes six innings and allows three runs, which equates to an in-game ERA of 4.50, then he gets a true loss. Some FAQs: a pitcher's true record can only be recorded at season's end; a pitcher is in line for a true win only if he pitches for at least five innings, which is the same rule for real wins; true wins and losses only apply for starters.

In 1968, Bob Gibson's real won-loss record was 22-9, which is impressive, but what's even more impressive was his 1.12 ERA that year. Because the 1968 average league ERA was 2.98, Gibson's true record was 27-7, meaning some real losses turned into true wins for the Hall of Famer. 1963's average league ERA was 3.46, giving Sandy Koufax (pictured below) a 1963 true record of 31-9 in his 40 starts that season, compared to his real record of 25-5. Like I said before, the average league ERA in 2017 was 4.35, so the 2017 Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer, had a 2017 true record of 23-7, but a real record of 16-6.

What are some faults with this new system of determining wins? What are some faults with the old system? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, April 20, 2018

Famous Home Runs That Didn't Actually Matter 4/20/18

Hey baseball fans!

We all remember Joe Carter's walk-off, World Series-winning home run in 1993 because it, well, won Carter's Blue Jays the World Series. The same goes for David Freese's walk-off, Series-tying home run in Game Six of the 2011 Fall Classic because it set up a Game Seven that Freese's Cardinals would end up winning. But what about the home runs that didn't lead to anything, that are just famous for the moment that they were in?

Carlton Fisk walks off the Red Sox in Game Six of '75
In arguably the greatest World Series in baseball history, the Red Sox entered Game Six of the 1975 Series down three games to two to the Reds and the sixth game required extra innings to be resolved. Luckily, Carlton Fisk came up clutch in the twelfth for the BoSox, sending the Series-tying home run off the left field foul pole. This has become probably the most famous home run in Red Sox history, but it actually didn't matter in the long run; the Reds won Game Seven and, thus, the Series, making the Hall of Fame catcher's walk-off dinger the previous night completely obsolete.

Chris Chambliss sends the Yankees to the 1976 World Series
The very next year after Fisk's temporary heroics, the Yankees were on the cusp of making their first World Series in 12 years, but they first needed to get past the AL West champion Royals. The 1976 ALCS went to five games (the maximum at the time) and Game Five was tied at six runs apiece entering the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium. Chris Chambliss led off the half-inning with a home run to send the Yanks to the promised land. There was only one problem, though: once New York got to the Fall Classic, they were swept by the same Reds that beat Fisk's Red Sox in '75. Once again, another home run that didn't really do much to change the course of history.

Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard Round the World"
This one is the saddest of the bunch, only because this home run is probably the most famous in baseball history, at least in my opinion. Let me set the scene: the Dodgers and Giants were tied at the top of the NL standings at the end of the 1951 season, so a best-of-three playoff series was implemented to decide the NL pennant winner. The two teams split the first two games, but the third game looked to go to the Dodgers, who were leading 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth at the Polo Grounds in New York. A run was driven in for the Giants, which brought up Bobby Thompson to the plate with two runners on and one out. Miraculously, he hit a home run! To use Russ Hodges's famous call of the play, "the Giants [won] the pennant!" Everybody was going crazy in the stadium because the Giants were headed to the World Series! Too bad they lost the 1951 World Series to the Yankees in six games.

What other famous moments in baseball history are overrated because they didn't really matter in the end? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BwM's Consistency Index 4/16/18

Hey baseball fans!

So there's always this talk about which team is the greatest in baseball history and there are always these comparisons made that aren't applicable for most teams. For example, how can you judge a team's success based on World Series championships when some teams have never been to the World Series in the first place (I'm looking at you, Nationals and Mariners)? With this in mind, I wanted to come up with a definitive way to define a team's success with the one stat that is measurable among all MLB teams: regular season success. After doing some calculations, I came up with a sort of consistency index, a score that measures a team's year-to-year success during the MLB regular season.

Here's how the index is calculated. To be fair to all teams, I took the total number of wins of every MLB team since 1998, the last year of MLB expansion, and averaged them out to get an average wins per season. From there, I took the absolute value of the change in wins from season-to-season for all the teams and I averaged those numbers out to get a volatility score. From there, I subtracted the volatility score from the average seasonal wins total to get the consistency index. There are several numbers that caught my eye that are worth mentioning. First of all, it's no secret that the Yankees had the best average seasonal wins total at 94.75 wins a season, but they also had an extraordinary volatility score; their wins total from year-to-year only changed by 5.84 wins a season, meaning they were consistently good. In fact, their consistency index of 88.91 was the best in the majors. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Diamondbacks averaged 79.80 wins a season from 1998-2017, but their year-to-year difference in wins was an average of 14.95. Their MLB-low consistency index of 64.85 means that they were consistently mercurial, meaning that their season-to-season win total is completely random and void of any trend.

Other teams with good consistency indexes include the Braves, Dodgers, A's, and Cardinals, among others. To see my calculations, click here. Would you change any of my math? What other ways could you objectively determine a team's success? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Five Historically Significant World Series Matchups We Could See 4/12/18

Hey baseball fans!

We are officially two weeks into the 2018 MLB season, which means it's only right to start talking about the World Series, right? Well, that's wrong, but still: what historically significant World Series matchups would be possible for us to see this October? Here are five:

Matchup: Yankees vs. Dodgers
Historical significance: Out of all the World Series matchups in history, this one has happened the most times: 11 to be exact. In those Fall Classics, the Yankees have won eight of them, while the Dodgers were victorious in three.
Likeliness of happening: Both of these teams played in their respective championship series last year, so this matchup is pretty likely.

Matchup: Red Sox vs. Mets
Historical significance: These two teams squared off against each other in the 1986 World Series, regarded as one of the best Series ever. The Mets won in seven, but it was close throughout the seven games.
Likeliness of happening: These two teams have been the hottest coming out of the gate in 2018, but will their hot starts continue into the dog days of summer? My guess is not for the Mets.

Matchup: Indians vs. Cubs
Historical significance: Both of these teams were famous for their long World Series droughts, until of course the Cubs ended their 108-year drought two years ago against the Indians in the 2016 World Series.
Likeliness of happening: Both of these teams have declined since their runs to October in 2016, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this World Series rematch.

Matchup: Astros vs. Cardinals
Historical significance: Back when the 'Stros were in the NL Central, these teams had a sort of mini-rivalry, facing off in consecutive NLCS's in 2004 and 2005, with each team winning one.
Likeliness of happening: I don't like the Cardinals' chances of making the playoffs in a very competitive National League Central/Wild Card race.

Matchup: Mariners vs. Nationals
Historical significance: Not only have these two teams never won a World Series in their respective histories, but both have never even been to one.
Likeliness of happening: The Nationals will probably do the same thing they've done every year in the playoffs: lose in the first round. The Mariners, on the other hand, will be lucky if they even make the playoffs.

What other World Series matchups would have an interesting historical significance? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."