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Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Sabermetrics R Us-Bobby A-G has this comment from yesterday
Not to get too deep into it, but thus far I've pulled this year's team batting stats, calculated the hitting efficiency (hits/runs) for each team, then ranked the teams and compared the teams' ranking for this ratio with the other offensive numbers. Although one might not expect it, for some teams there is a significant gap between their rankings for On Base Percentage (OBP), Slugging Percentage, or On Base Plus Slugging (OPS) and their rank for hitting efficiency. This suggests that hitting efficiency might have value as a batting stat that isn't present with OBP or the other stats. Some initial team information has seemed to back this hypothesis up, as well. It seems that a general statement may be made to the effect that a team with a high OBP or OPS ranking but a significantly lower hitting efficiency ranking indicates an underachieving, untimely-hitting, and/or "less lucky" team in terms of offense, while a team in the opposite position (low OPS ranking, high hitting efficiency ranking) indicates an overachieving, timely-hitting and/or "more lucky" team in terms of offense. Thus, teams like Atlanta and Boston, for example, have high rankings across the board, indicating that they play up to their offensive potential. Teams like Detroit and Los Angeles have consistently low rankings, indicating that they just don't have much offensive potential. A team like Kansas City has a efficiency ranking 5 or 6 spots higher than its OPS ranking, indicating that it may be "luckier" or have "more timely hitting" than its peers. This would reinforce my subjective observations that KC seems to get a lot of hits at the right time. Minnesota, on the other hand, who many consider to be underachieving, has a efficiency ranking 5 or 6 spots lower than its OPS ranking, indicating that it has the offensive firepower, but it doesn't use it at the right time. This is, of course, a quick summary and leaves out some caveats (The most important? This stat doesn't necessarily reflect on record, since pitching and defense are equally important in that area.) and details, but I thought that the initial results were interesting enough to pass along for you baseball fanatics out there.
I gave the numbers a once-over, pulling results from ESPN, and here are my results. I included three statistics-OPS (On Bace Percentage +Slugging Percentage) LW (Bill James' Linear Weights)-
Walks and Hit Batters *0.33+ Singles *0.46+ Doubles*0.8+ Triples*1.02+ Homers*1.4+ Steals*0.3+ Caught Stealing*0.6- Outs*0.25
and hitting efficiency (runs/hits). James may have changed the parameters, but those are the ones that I have hard-wired from The Hidden Game of Baseball from the mid-80s. Here's the American League stats
RNK NAME R OPS OPS Rank LW LW Rank HE HE Rank
1 Boston 673 0.862 1 249.27 1 0.581 1
2 Toronto 635 0.814 2 171.01 2 0.565 3
3 Texas 583 0.801 3 149.2 4 0.549 5
4 NY Yankees 582 0.8 4 166.62 3 0.573 2
5 Kansas City 578 0.768 7 109.24 6 0.561 4
6 Seattle 568 0.777 5 134.44 5 0.54 7
7 Baltimore 553 0.763 8 103.81 8 0.519 9
8 Minnesota 529 0.769 6 108.4 7 0.491 11
9 Chicago Sox 522 0.76 9 93.37 9 0.541 6
10 Anaheim 505 0.747 10 74.4 10 0.507 10
11 Oakland 504 0.734 11 64.92 11 0.532 8
12 Tampa Bay 497 0.73 12 61.6 12 0.481 13
13 Cleveland 471 0.718 13 32.95 13 0.487 12
14 Detroit 364 0.659 14 -56.38 14 0.427 14
Here, the OPS seems to be a better predictor of one's run ranking than hitting efficiency. The more cumbersome Linear Weights model is even better, but OPS is a good quick-and-dirty measure. Kansas City is a bit of an outlier here, but their team speed (#2 in steals) doesn't show up in either hitting efficiency or OPS. Here's the National League stats
RNK NAME R OPS OPS Rank LW LW Rank Hitting Efficiency HE Rank
1 Atlanta 632 0.832 1 201.97 1 0.427 1
2 St. Louis 628 0.82 2 188.56 2 0.471 2
3 Colorado 624 0.798 3 157.11 3 0.502 5
4 Houston 537 0.751 7 82.93 7 0.494 4
5 Philadelphia 535 0.755 6 101.02 6 0.485 3
6 San Francisco 528 0.768 4 105.08 5 0.502 6
7 Cincinnati 524 0.75 8 82.91 8 0.516 9
8 Florida 523 0.766 5 109.78 4 0.514 7
9 Montreal 507 0.734 13 64.24 13 0.515 8
10 Pittsburgh 503 0.737 12 70.55 10 0.546 13
11 Chicago Cubs 494 0.745 9 76.28 9 0.527 10
12 Arizona 492 0.744 10 68.9 11 0.544 11
13 Milwaukee 487 0.738 11 68.45 12 0.544 12
14 NY Mets 470 0.709 15 21.87 15 0.588 16
15 San Diego 467 0.716 14 41.51 14 0.556 14
16 Los Angeles 379 0.654 16 -52.68 16 0.57 15
Florida is the big underperformer. They're the #1 steal team; it might be that they run themselves out of innings in practice with that league-leading 48 times caught stealing. Montreal is a positive outlier. It seems that OPS and LW worked better in the American League, while hitting efficiency seems to work better in the National Leauge, better predicting OPS outliers Montreal and Florida. However, OPS still has the edge overall.

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