Tuesday, August 26, 2008

That's No Way To Win

Bobby Valentine once told me (and everyone else watching FSNY in 1999) that there are 3 elements in baseball and you need to be successful in at least 2 to win: Hitting, Pitching and Defense. Everyone knows about the first 2, that's why baseball players are rich. However, every offseason (and Hall of Fame vote for that matter, i.e. Keith Hernandez), we all seem to forget about the third. D-E-F-E-N-C-E. Just like in Football and Basketball, it wins championships. If you can't catch the ball, you ain't gonna get anyone out. Here's a little stat analysis, courtesy of our friends at Baseball Prospectus* (note - I don't know nor have ever talked to anyone at Baseball Prospectus):


Bottom 5 AL Team Defenses, by Defensive Efficiency


Team, DEF EFF


Texas Rangers, .681


Seattle Mariners, .686


New York Yankees, .688


Kansas City Royals, .693


Cleveland Indians, .694




Bottom 5 NL Team Defenses, by Defensive Efficiency


Team, DEF EFF


Cincinnati Reds, .678


Pittsburgh Pirates, .682


Colorado Rockies, .686


San Francisco Giants, .693


Washington Nationals, .697




Definition:"Def Eff, or Defensive Efficiency, is the rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs by a team's defense. Def Eff can be approximated with (1 - BABIP), if all you have is BABIP, but a team's actual Def Eff is computed with1 - ((H + ROE - HR) / (PA - BB - SO - HBP - HR)) ." I made the latter half of the definition in small text because it's very confusing. I don't know what it really means, but that first sentence is pretty clear. This stat measures how good a team is at turning balls put in play into outs. What's the one thing that all (but 1) of these teams have in common. They SUCK. 9 of the 10 teams on that list are flat out bad this year. The Yankees, however, are not bad. They are 10 games over .500 and play in a very tough division, the toughest in baseball to be honest. We all know they can hit (even though it goes away at times) and we all know they can't pitch (save for the Moose and Pettitte and the rare gem tossed by Sir Sidey and his Good Time Buddies). The season is far from over, but I know a lot of Yankee fans have given up hope this year. I'm sure they've given up for all the wrong reasons (they're stupid) but you can't ignore the trouble a team is in, even if they manage to make the playoffs, if they can't catch the ball.

1 comment:

Doc Holliday said...

Nerd Alert.

And Yankee fans have given up for several reasons. I will detail them in my new post.