Archive for July, 2006

2004 Red Sox-Yankees Win Probability

I’ve received a few requests to do Win Probability charts for the 2004 Red Sox-Yankees ALCS. Enjoy!


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All-Star Win Probability

Tonight’s All-Star game was by far the lowest scoring All-Star game in the past 5 years, but it certainly did make for an exciting Win Probability graph thanks to Michael Young’s 2-out, 2-run triple in the top of the ninth. The National League was very close to pulling out a win, but in the end they still remain without a win in the past decade.


Away Home
M Rivera 21.9
S Kazmir 5.2
B Zito 5.2
J Santana 4.9
B Ryan 3.5
K Rogers 0.0
R Halladay -0.9
T Gordon 12.7
D Turnbow 10.0
B Fuentes 8.3
B Arroyo 7.3
B Webb 6.5
R Oswalt 5.7
B Penny 0.0
T Hoffman -60.7

M Young 59.1
P Konerko 11.1
V Guerrero 6.7
G Matthews Jr 6.1
V Wells 0.6
M Ordonez -1.9
T Glaus -2.4
D Ortiz -3.2
A Rodriguez -3.8
I Rodriguez -3.9
J Thome -4.9
M Tejada -5.8
M Loretta -5.9
I Suzuki -6.2
D Jeter -6.4
J Dye -7.7
J Mauer -9.3
G Sizemore -12.0
C Beltran 17.5
D Wright 4.4
A Soriano 2.2
L Berkman 2.1
C Utley 0.3
D Eckstein -1.2
B McCann -1.5
J Bay -2.1
M Holliday -4.6
A Pujols -5.7
P Lo Duca -7.2
R Howard -7.5
E Renteria -9.7
F Sanchez -11.8
C Lee -15.0

New York Times: All-Star WPA

In today’s New York Times, Alan Schwarz takes a look at the All-Star selections by Win Probability Added.

“Most back-and-forths about All-Star selections focus on the player’s longtime all-starness (whatever that means) or, toward the statistical end of the spectrum, his runs batted in, his earned run average, even his on-base percentage plus slugging percentage. But if your image of an All-Star is his season-long contribution to victories, then the more blue-collar W.P.A. — Win Probability Added — could make your next All-Star symposium less, well, cheesy.”

As always, you can find the Win Probability sections here:

Win Probability: Individual Game Graphs & Stats
Win Probability: Team Stats

Side by Side: Liriano and Hernandez

They say that 50 is the new 40, but I like to say that Francisco Liriano is the new Felix Hernandez. Seattle’s Hernandez made a splash in his major debut last year, going 4-4 with a 2.67 ERA and displaying great velocity, control and the ability to keep the ball on the ground. Sadly, he has not performed as well in 2006, though his long-term potential remains intact.

This year, Minnesota rookie Liriano is even better than Hernandez was last year, with a 9-1 record and a 1.99 ERA. Like Hernandez, Liriano strikes out batters, doesn’t walk them and keeps the ball on the ground. But some of you may have forgotten that Liriano actually made his debut last year, when his ERA was very similar to Hernandez’s 2006 ERA (admittedly, in only 23.2 innings pitched). In fact, the two youngsters over the past two years form an “X” on this ERA graph:


Two pitchers, so similar in stuff, have been contrasts the past two years. Let’s take a closer, graphical look at some of their components to see if we can spot the key differences between them last year and this year.

Both pitchers are premier strikeout pitchers, though Liriano is particularly impressive. He leads the major leagues in strikeouts per nine innings and Hernandez is 14th.


Both pitchers also have great control — Liriano has particularly improved his control this year, a key to his great start…


In general, pitchers have the most control over strikeouts and walks — after that, things start to break down a bit. For instance, a big difference between these two young studs in 2006 is the last of the “three true outcomes,” the home run. Hernandez and Liriano have have formed another “X” on either side of the major league average, which partially accounts for Liriano’s improvement and Hernandez’s decline.


Once a ball is hit in play, a pitcher is dependent on his fielders for help. Liriano’s fielding support has remained around the major-league average, but Hernandez’s hasn’t, as you can see in this graph of each pitcher’s Batting Average on Balls in Play.


But the most dramatic difference between the two phenoms the past two years has taken place on the basepaths. Take a look at the percentage of baserunners each pitcher has left on base this year and last:


Felix’s LOB% has gone down, and Liriano’s has gone WAY up. Now, this change isn’t entirely random; pitchers with a 1.99 ERA will almost always have an impressive LOB%. But it’s one more part of the equation for each pitcher, which might be summarized as follows:

Hernandez in 2006: more home runs, more hits falling in, more baserunners scoring.

Liriano in 2006: improved control, fewer home runs, fewer baserunners scoring.

These trends mean next to nothing regarding each one’s long-term promise. In fact, the most meaningful difference between the two is one I haven’t graphed, age. Hernandez is two-and-a-half years younger than Liriano, which makes his potential long-term career a bit brighter.

Here are a couple of bonus graphs, the batted ball types for both pitchers. First up is Hernandez’s, and you can see that he hasn’t been as strong a groundball pitcher as he was last year (Note: the green line is the percent of batted balls that are groundballs, the blue line represents the flyball percentage and the red line represents the percentage that are line drives):


Finally, here is Liriano’s graph. The key is that he is getting batters to pound the ball into the turf as often as Hernandez. In fact, the two kids rank fourth and fifth in highest groundball percentage among all league pitchers — an extremely impressive stat.


Remember that combination: groundball pitchers with 95-100 mph fastballs and great control. You can’t beat it.

Dunn Joins “Ultimate Grand Slam” Club

Tonight, Adam Dunn became the 23rd player in Major League history to hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th to win the game by one run. This feat has been dubbed an “Ultimate Grand Slam” and is only slightly more common than say, throwing a perfect game. The last player to hit one of these grand slams was Jason Giambi over 4 years ago on May 17th, 2002.


In terms of Win Probability, the Reds pretty much defied all odds to pull out a win for the ages. Dunn’s grand slam was worth about 90 points of Win Probability Added (WPA) giving his former season total of 30% a nice boost.