Going team by team to determine which collection of hurlers is most imposing this October.
Nate Silver spent the final week of September 2006 evaluating playoff rotations in a manner reflected in his other work across various fields. The analysis was intuitive, yet innovative and unrivaled. What Silver incorporated that basic playoff rotation analyses often exclude is uneven workloads. Playoff teams may designate four starters, but they shift parts around due to the sporadic schedule and threat of extinction; after all, if a loss makes elimination inevitable, logic dictates having the best man lead the final surge.
The usage numbers Silver presented then are now dated, but the ones provided below are not, thanks to intern Bradley Ankrom. These new percentages include every postseason series since 1995, classifying the starters’ roles by their order of appearance in the playoffs. That means the number ones are the pitchers who started the team’s first playoff game, the number twos are those who started the team’s second playoff game, and so on. Some may note that this methodology may be skewed by the new playoff schedule, although until proven otherwise it should still provide more context than other tactics.
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While there is a confusing starting rotation picture for the AL playoff contenders, the NL is much clearer.
With the matter of the playoff participants in both leagues largely settled, on Wednesday I examined the unsettled nature of the playoff rotations of the likely AL representatives. As I showed, each has a considerable amount of unfinished business with regards to identifying their front four, with injuries and matchup issues both playing a part, and there's relatively little separation between the four, at least according to a quick and dirty measure I nabbed from Nate Silver's back pages. By comparison, the NL teams have much less uncertainty as to who will be taking the ball, and much more certainty about whom the fairest of them all is, at least when it comes to post-season rotations.
Selecting the four starters for the nine possible playoff teams is easier in some instances than others.
Last Friday, I brought up the Reds' rotation situation as they gear up for their first post-season series since 1995. We can't peg everyone's rotations perfectly just yet, of course, because there are still a few issues to resolve—which two teams from among the Braves, Giants, and Padres will join the Reds and Phillies in next week's action, for example, set against the much less exciting proposition over who is going to win home-field advantage in the AL.
The postscript on the stretch races of 2007, and how remarkable the blown leads and late-season successes of that year were compared to history's most epic collapses.
Given the peril the Tigers' season is in, it seems appropriate for us to bring this back to provide a sense of the history of epic collapses. This was the new chapter that was supposed to go into the paperback edition of It Ain't Over, but for reasons only the publisher can adequately explain, it didn't get inserted. Given that we've got a great race in play once again, here's what you missed.
With the rumors flying about where Jays ace Roy Halladay is headed, what would he be worth to different teams?
When sabermetricians try to approximate the dollar value of a player's performance, we are mostly using recent free-agent values. For instance, if Halladay is worth about six wins above replacement level (which is a good approximation for most teams' fifth starters), we would say that the value of his replacing a typical fifth starter is about $27 million above the MLB-minimum salary of $400,000. As his current contract pays him $14.25 million in 2009, this would imply that a full 2009 season of Roy Halladay would have been worth the difference ($13.15 million). However, let's say that Halladay gets dealt right now, with about 70 games left to go, instead of around the deadline. Our inclination would be to say that Halladay's remaining 2009 net value would be this pro-rated, $5.7 million above his contract, but that misses a few essential parts of the analysis.
Quick ERA provides some answers for who boasts the best rotations coming down the stretch and looking towards October.
I've done radio gigs in several different markets over the course of the past couple of weeks, and very often the first question I get asked is about the perceived inadequacy of the home team's starting rotation. Sometimes-as in the case of the Mets-the question is valid, but nobody is entirely happy with their pitching staff this time of year. Someone is always injured, or slumping. Maybe a team has a deep rotation but no ace, or maybe it's the other way around.
Jim digs back and looks at the best starting efforts by the Mets and Cardinals in the era of divisional play.
\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.';
xxxpxxxxx1160845280_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.