Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Pythagorean Report - 4/12/2010

One of the things that I like to do during the baseball season is compile a weekly report of the AL standings, looking at runs scored and allowed, to see who's better than their records and who's worse.

For those unfamiliar, the Pythagorean report is based on a Bill James discovery regarding the relationship between runs scored, runs allowed and winning percentage. It intuitively makes sense that a teams record will be related to how many runs they score and how many they allow. What James discovered was that, for almost all teams, the winning percentage is very close to a ratio of the square of the runs scored to the sum of the squares of the runs scored and runs allowed. Which was dubbed the "Pythagorean" theorum of baseball.

The report consists of, for each team, their runs/game, runs allowed/game and Pythagorean project winning percentage, along with their rank among the teams in the league for each of those categories. The Pythagorean winning percentage is calculated as (r ^ 1.83) / ( (r ^ 1.83) + (ra ^ 1.83) ). (1.83 has been determined to be a slightly more accurate exponent with the current offensive levels than 2.) Using the Pythagorean winning percentage, the expected wins total is calculated and compared to the actual win total. Finally, any difference is expressed as "luck", with negative numbers representing underperforming teams.

Finally, there's a linear projection of final records, based on current winning percentage, and based on Pythagorean winning percentage.

Week one goes into the books as an unqualified ... well, week. 3-3 is not what we're looking for, obviously.

  • The Red Sox had two of the better starting pitchers in baseball make three of the team's six starts this week. They average about 5 1/2 IP per start with an ERA of 6.42. Beckett was pretty good in his second outing, and they were each pretty bad in their first. The other three starters averaged 6 innings per start, with an ERA of 2.00. Lackey was excellent, Wakefield and Buchholz were pretty good.
  • From the That's Baseball department - they won a game in which their starter gave up five runs in fewer than five innings of work, and they lost a game in which their starter went seven scoreless innings.
  • The starters were better than the bullpen, which allowed 12 runs (11 earned) in its 19 1/3 innings of work. The busiest was Daniel Bard, who's pitched in five of their six games thus far, with mixed results. He threw a bad pitch to Nick Swisher and allowed the tying run to score. He threw a good pitch to Rick Ankiel, shattered his bat, yet allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score. Papelbon had a bad inning in his second inning of work in a tie game, but converted both of his save opportunities. Ramon Ramirez had a very bad week.
  • Speaking of Ramirez and bad starts, last year he allowed his fifth earned run on June 10, in his 28th appearance. Yesterday, he allowed his fifth earned run on April 11, in his third appearance. When you're a relief pitcher, getting one inning at a time, and you've allowed five earned runs on April 11th, you know that the ERA is going to be ugly for a very long time to come. It's going to take 10 scoreless appearances, probably at least three weeks, to get it under 4.00.
  • Offensive good: Red-hot starts for Dustin Pedroia (.360/.433/.760/1.193) and Kevin Youkilis (.333/.423/.667/1.090). Fantastic performances off the bench from Jason Varitek (.500/.500/2.000/2.500) and Jeremy Hermida (.375/.375/.875/1.250). Marco Scutaro (.250/.400/.313/.713) and Mike Cameron (.294/.429/.353/.782) have gotten on-base, turned the lineup over, kept innings alive, etc., though neither has hit for any power yet. Adrian Beltre (.400/.381/.450/.831) has been productive, but he's had to hit .400 to do it, as his AVG is higher than his OBP. He needs to hit for a lot more power, or draw some walks, because he's not going to keep hitting .400.
  • Offensive bad: Victor Martinez (.231/.286/.462/.747) had a couple of big hits early, and has done nothing since. We've reached the point where a hard out would be an improvement for David Ortiz (.111/.200/.167/.367), who has now struck out 8 times in his last three games. And Drew has helped Ortiz and Martinez make the 3-7 hitters the part of the lineup where rallies go to die.
  • All told, the Sox were 4th in the AL in runs scored per game, on an 890 runs pace. They aren't going to score 890 runs this year, but it's not a bad start.
  • It's also worth noting that they faced two of the best starting pitchers in baseball this week and scored 17 runs in those two games.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week: - Dustin Pedroia. .360/.433/.760/1.193 with three HR, good defense, and an apparent intention of adding another MVP to his trophy case.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - John Lackey, in his Red Sox debut, went six scoreless innings against the Yankees, allowing just five baserunners.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 4/12/2010






New York6(1)4.33(7)0.645(5)42420




Tampa Bay4(8)5.17(12)0.385(9)24331



Kansas City3.83(9)6(13)0.306(12)24240


Los Angeles3.43(12)6.29(14)0.248(14)25250

Top 5 projections (using current winning %)




New York10854

Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)




New York10557

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