Filtering by Tag: Deleting the Adjectives

Deleting the Adjectives: Notebook

While researching for today’s column I found a lot of stats or small nuggets of information I found interesting, but none that on their own could be a column. After much deliberation I decided to use that to my advantage by creating a sort of notebook column this week where I will share with you everything I found that were interesting or amusing. So here we go.

The Nationals rank 23rd in Major League Baseball in total wins above replacement using the superior Fangraphs version. Total wins above replacement is the sum of the team’s total position player WAR and total pitcher WAR. The Nats ranked ahead of the White Sox, Mariners, Twins, Brewers, Padres, Marlins and Astros. The Padres and Astros were the only teams to have a part of their team perform below replacement level as a whole. The Padres position players have amassed -1.7 WAR, while the Astros pitchers clocked in at -.6 WAR. The best team in baseball in terms of total WAR is the Detroit Tigers at 33.6 wins above replacement.

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Deleting the Adjectives: Strikeouts

"There's nothing worse than a strikeout."

"Strikeouts kill rallies and are theantithesis of scoring."

"Teams that strike out more, lose more."

"Players who strike out a lot are worthless and should be gotten rid of immediately."

These are all opinions some voices in baseball would want you to believe are true, but are they?

To find out I used the five-year team data from my pitches per plate appearance post and added in strikeout rate and raw strikeout numbers. This should give us a large sample, spread over two different statistics measuring strikeouts, which can give us a good way to test the effect of strikeouts.

Like with the pitches per plate appearance column I again used linear regression to measure the correlation between the two strikeout statistics and the associated stat.  As we were before, we are looking for that big R-squared value that indicates a greater correlation for the data. The only difference is that this time we are looking for a negative correlation, since our hypothesis is that a higher strikeout rate negatively affects production.

Let's start with the big picture, how much do strikeouts effect win totals?

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Deleting the Adjectives: The Drew Storen Enigma

When the Nationals signed Rafael Soriano this offseason it supposedly set upa nigh unbeatable triumvirate in the bullpen of Soriano, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. All were elite relievers who had experience closing out games, combined they would shut down opponents in the later innings.

But that hasn't been the case this season. All three have had their struggles, but none as much as Storen. Just a year away from a 43 save season Storen currently has a 4.85 ERA, 4.14 FIP and 1.54 WHIP.  While not in the closer role this season Storen already has three blown saves, just two less than in 2011 when he was the full-time closer. Storen isn't that bad, his talent was not suddenly stolen away from him by the aliens of Moron Mountain, so why is he having so much trouble this year?

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Deleting the Adjectives: Adam LaRoche and the Three True Outcomes

Of Nationals regulars, excluding the mess at second base, could you name the one with the highest strikeout rate? The title may have given it away, but it's Adam  LaRoche at 26.6%. This is up from his 21.3% rate in 2012 and a good bit ahead of second place Ian  Desmond at 23%.   What LaRoche does have going for him is that he is in second place among the same group in walk rate at 11.7%, behind only Bryce  Harper and his 14% walk rate. As well as, second in home runs with 10, again behind Harper who has 12. So why is this important?

Well, for some who enjoy advanced statistics there's a well-known concept called the Three True Outcomes. As you may have guessed the Three True Outcomes are a strikeout, a walk and a home run. This is because these are the only outcomes of an at-bat that are completely within the control of just the pitcher and batter, anything else involves the defense in some way. Baseball Prospectus, who coined the term in an article in 2000 , described the Three True Outcomes as distilling the game of baseball down to its essence.


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Deleting the Adjectives: Tyler Moore

Sometimes when looking at thecomplex mathematical formulas that go into the new advanced stats it is hard to remember that at their root is the game of baseball. One time I was debating the merits of Steve Lombardozzi and Danny Espinosa and was accused of only liking Espinosa more because he had a higher WAR. When I laid out that in fact I liked him because of his superior power, base running and defense I got the odd response that those were all components of WAR. What the person I was discussing this with seemed to forget was that these are also components of baseball.

Numbers are not there to replace baseball, merely to either confirm what you have observed or to make you re-think it. What is really cool is when you observe something and the numbers come back in complete agreement. I just experienced this the other day in regards to Tyler Moore.​

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Deleting the Adjectives: Explaining Zimmermann

Before we begin let me apologize for not being able to write last week, assome of you may know I am still a student and with that comes exams, so my attention was elsewhere. Alright let's get on with the show.​

Jordan Zimmermann has elevated his game this year. This is probably the truest true fact about the 2013 Washington Nationals. He currently possesses a 1.69 ERA and .87 WHIP, while going 7-1 in eight starts. He is going deeper into games too, pitching seven or more innings six times already, two-thirds of his 2012 season total of nine. This is known. What we want to know though, is why has he been so good?

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Deleting the Adjectives: Stephen Strasburg and Strikeout Rate

Like Anthony Rendon, my new column is making its triumphant debutthis week. This will mostly be a space for research and statistics based analysis, but we won’t get bogged down in the numbers, they’re just meant to illuminate a small part of the game that may go unseen. So now let’s get on with the show.

So far this season Stephen Strasburg has been striking out batters at a rate of 21.4%. For the typical pitcher that in and of itself is fairly unremarkable, the MLB average is around 18.5%, so 21.4% is solidly above average while not being spectacular. However, for Strasburg, a pitcher with a career K% of 30.4%, it is a startlingly low rate.

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