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Rk Team
Overall WL
Week WL
Comment

1


Dodgers
72-50
3-4
.610
Flat
Our Kingdom For a Starting Pitcher: Chad Billingsley returns in fine form after skipping a start due to hamstring woes, but the Dodger rotation is again thinned when Hiroki Kuroda takes a liner off the noggin. As the team’s division lead shrinks, they’re at the point of dredging up knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, signing recently released Rangers reject Vicente Padilla, and taxing the bullpen with Jeff Weaver‘s brief starts, leading one to wonder why Eric Stults (4.86 ERA, .501 SNWP) is still Duking it out in Albuquerque. (I know it’s the Isotopes now, but I’ve been following Dodger farmhands in Albuquerque since before Stults-not to mention half the current lineup-was born.) At least Randy Wolf is putting on a show, whiffing 10 while finishing a triple short of hitting for the cycle; he’s 14th in the league in SNLVAR, and perhaps as importantly, seventh in innings pitched.

2


Yankees
76-45
4-2
.607
Down
Hail to the Captain: Derek Jeter passes Luis Aparicio for the most hits by a shortstop with his 2,674th, just one of 16 hits he collects over a seven-game span. He’s hitting .331/.395/.471 this season, his best numbers in each category since 2006; the power appears to be a function of his new park (.319/.392/.496 at home), while he’s simply hitting ’em where they ain’t elsewhere (.343/.398/.449 on the road). His 2,696 total hits are just 25 behind Lou Gehrig for the all-time franchise lead.

3


Rays
65-55
4-2
.570
Flat
Paint It Black: Not even a funky new hairstyle can disguise the fact that the Rays’ shot at the postseason is slipping away. Even in a winning week, they’re making no headway; their Playoff Odds have fallen from about 25 to 20 percent in the past seven days, and at 10½ back in the AL East, the Wild Card route is the only one left. One could blame their starting pitching, but their SNWP is tied with the Yankees at .499, two points ahead of the Red Sox. It’s the bullpen where they lose ground, but then we always knew last year’s trick in that department would be tough to repeat no matter how many arms they stockpiled.

4


Red Sox
69-51
4-2
.566
Up
Sagging: The Sox offense busts out six runs for Clay Buchholz, the first runs they’ve scored for him across three straight quality starts that lower his ERA to 3.99. Indeed, things are rather uneven in Boston, or perhaps all too even; they’re just 22-21 since the beginning of July, having briefly fallen out of the Wild Card lead while losing two out of three in Texas. As you’d expect, there’s good and bad news, such as David Ortiz snapping out of a 5-for-44 slump by homering four times in five games to lift his paltry season line to .224/.318/.431, and Tim Wakefield limping through a bullpen session, prolonging his stay on the DL.

5


Phillies
69-49
5-1
.564
Up
Cliffy Clicks: Cliff Lee continues to dominate NL hitters, whiffing 11 Diamondbacks and holding his opponents to one run for the fourth straight start. He’s got an 0.82 ERA and a 34/6 K/BB ratio in 33 innings since being traded to the weaker league. At the other end of the staff, Brad Lidge continues to stink up the joint, blowing two of his last four save attempts; he’s got an 8.24 Fair Run Average and an major league-worst -1.6 WXRL.

6


Rockies
68-53
4-2
.560
Down
De La Rolling: The Rockies maintain their Wild Card lead thanks in part to Jorge De La Rosa, who whiffs nine Marlins but falls one out shy of his eighth quality start out of nine; the Rox are 8-1 in those starts. For the second year in a row, De La Rosa’s found a groove after early struggles; his first-half ERA in over the last two years was 5.97, while in the second half it’s 3.05. Meanwhile, he’s eighth in the league with 9.3 strikeouts per nine.

7


Angels
73-46
5-2
.553
Flat
The Nines: While our numbers-crunchers have yet to determine how many Angels can dance on the head of a pin, their August 18 lineup proves that nine .300-hitting cherubs can fit into a single batting order, as the team becomes the first since the offense-crazy 1930 season to field such a unit. The Halos are obviously offense-crazy themselves; they drop nine 13th-inning runs on the Orioles, and they’re now averaging 6.8 per game during the second half on their way to a 24-9 record.

8


Rangers
68-52
4-3
.551
Up
Hot Stuff Coming Through: Ian Kinsler homers in his first at-bat after coming off the disabled list, one of two he hits to help the Rangers beat the Red Sox to move into the AL Wild Card lead, however briefly. For the week he goes 8-for-22 with three blasts, a hopeful sign after his .157/.200/.348 July. Also showing signs of life is Josh Hamilton, who collects 16 hits in eight games and is batting .375/.439/.528 for the month after a dismal .227/.273/.384 showing through July.

9


Cardinals
70-53
6-1
.544
Up
Redbirds of a Feather Flocking Together: Winners of 11 out of 13, the Cardinals have built themselves a seven-game cushion in the NL Central. Chris Carpenter shuts down the Dodgers (8 5 2 2 1 8) to kick off a three-game series in LA that winds up going the Redbirds’ way. He’s got eight quality starts out of nine since the beginning of July, and he leads the league in ERA (2.27) while ranking second in K/BB (5.3), tied for third in wins (13), and sixth in SNLVAR. The latter category is led by Adam Wainwright, who’s also tied for first in wins (14), fourth in ERA (2.61), and fifth in strikeouts (152).

10


Braves
64-57
4-3
.544
Flat
Matt Diaz‘s big night (4 3 2 4, HR) helps the Braves pile 15 runs on the hapless Mets. He’s hitting a searing .327/.393/.618 with five homers this month while seeing extensive duty due to Nate McLouth‘s hamstring woes. Alas, the Braves outfielders’ combined performance (.259/.321/.393) ranks them third-to-last in the league in OPS, and the team has a a tough road ahead of them to remain in the playoff hunt.

11


Giants
66-55
4-3
.531
Up
Giant Sinkholes: Aaron Rowand snaps out of a 1-for-20 slump with a four-hit night in which he also homers for the first time since July 2, a point since which he’s hitting just .218/.256/.327 with a 27/3 K/BB ratio. Randy Winn hasn’t been much help either, hitting .259/.305/.343 since the calendar flipped to June. Performances like that only solidify the team’s number 28th ranking in EqA.

12


White Sox
62-59
4-2
.516
Up
At Least He Didn’t Call Them Lollygaggers: Kenny Williams calls out his team as a bunch of underachievers just in time for underachieving Jose Contreras to put together his first quality start since July 8, a span during which he put up a 7.62 ERA while averaging just 4.7 innings per start. Alas, that’s only a partial-and probably fleeting-solution to the team’s ongoing rotation problems given Freddy Garcia‘s rusty return and Jake Peavy‘s rocky rehab, though they do still rank fifth in the league in SNLVAR.

13


Marlins
64-57
3-3
.515
Up
Though they can’t make any headway in the NL East race, the Marlins beat the Rockies in two out of three and briefly move to within two games of the Wild Card lead. Josh Johnson tosses 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball and strikes out a career-high 11, while Chris Coghlan resumes his multi-hit shtik; he’s got 12 such games out of 17 this month while hitting .410/.471/.573. Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez is every bit as hot, hitting .416/.458/.590 this month while riding a 15-game hitting streak.

14


Cubs
61-58
3-3
.512
Up
Lo(u)sing it: The Cubs continue their slide, and Lou Piniella‘s feeling the heat even while crossing the street. He removes Kevin Gregg from closer duty after the latter surrenders a walk-off homer which sends the Cubs to their eighth loss in 11 games. Gregg’s yielded 12 long balls in 56 1/3 innings; he’s got a 4.70 Fair Run Average and just 0.5 WXRL. Taking over for him will be Carlos Marmol, who’s sixth in the league with 3.0 WXRL, but still walking an astronomical 8.3 per nine.

15


Blue Jays
55-64
1-5
.506
Down
Despite seven losses in eight games, the Jays have something to look forward via their late-season callups. Travis Snider homers off Josh Beckett in his first at-bat since being recalled from a three-month minor league stint which has restored his prospect status while preserving his service clock. Meanwhile, Randy Ruiz homers three times in his first eight games; at 31, he’s a suspect, not a prospect, but contrary to rumors, he never cheated in the Boston Marathon.

16


Tigers
64-56
4-2
.506
Up
Inge by Inge: Troubled by knee woes which have limited him to a .170/.257/.250 second-half showing, Brandon Inge collects just two hits all week, both solo homers in one-run games, one of which provides all the scoring. Inge’s absence presses Ryan Rayburn into duty at third base; he makes three errors in one game, including two in the 10th inning, one of which plates the winning run. The Tigers maintain their hold on first place in the AL Central thanks to a staff that allows just 18 runs on the week.

17


Twins
58-63
3-4
.499
Flat
Mauer Power Ain’t Enough: Joe Mauer belts five homers in a six-game span, but only the final pair come in a winning cause. Mauer leads the AL in all three triple-slash categories at .380/.448/.648, and while he’s at the center of an ongoing MVP fray, the fact that the Twins are sub-.500 likely dooms his chances, as just one of the last 34 MVPs (17 in each league since 1992) has come from a losing team.

18


Mariners
62-59
2-4
.489
Flat
Yeah, He’ll Do That: Ichiro Suzuki‘s two-run homer off of Justin Verlander helps give Ian Snell his first AL win while continuing his season-long tear; he’s batting .365/.394/.475 and has 61 hits across his last 36 games, which makes for a 275-hit pace. He’s closing in on his ninth straight 200-hit season and perhaps even his third batting title, accomplishments that are sure to wow future Hall of Fame voters, short stateside career and all.

19


Indians
52-68
3-3
.476
Flat
About Damn Time: Underutilized during his first stint with the big club, and bypassed for promotion after Mark DeRosa, Ryan Garko, Ben Francisco, Victor Martinez, Rocky Colavito, and Jerry Dybzinski were dealt, Matt LaPorta finally rejoins the Indians and collects three RBI in his return. Manager Eric Wedgesays he’ll get regular playing time the rest of the way, for whatever that’s worth. LaPorta’s big game backs Justin Masterson‘s strongest effort (6.1 3 1 0 4 3) since being acquired in the V-Mart deal; he’s put up a 4.62 ERA in nine starts this year, a mark bettered only by Aaron Laffey among Cleveland’s remaining starters.

20


Diamondbacks
54-68
2-5
.473
Down
The Diamondbacks scrape together just 17 runs over a six-game span, three of them on a pair of Mark Reynolds homers which run his second-half total to an MLB-high 14; his 38 overall are second only to Albert Pujols. Reynolds is having one of the great freak-stat seasons in memory. He’s on pace to strike out a record 223 times, but his batting average and slugging percentage on contact are good enough to crack the historical top 10.

21


Brewers
58-62
2-4
.467
Flat
Pittfall: After running their winning streak over Bucs to 17 games earlier this year, the Brewers have lost five of six to them even amid the latter’s roster turnover, including three-game sweep this week in which they’re outscored 17-7. Despite a second-half schedule that the second-easiest in the majors, the Brewers are now just 13-19 since the All-Star break, and their Playoff Odds are below one percent. The staff has been rocked for a 5.77 ERA in the second half, with Yovani Gallardo the only starter below 5.04.

22


Mets
56-65
3-4
.464
Down
Manuel Pilot: Perhaps afraid that he might be replaced by the Managatron 3000, Jerry Manuel gets creative with multiple pointless infield position shifts amid a 15-2 blowout. He also demonstrates his facility with multiple varieties of inane patter by throwing Ryan Church under the bus while comparing Church’s concussion problems last year with those of David Wright, whose scary beaning provides an almost-too-literal coup de grâce for this miserable season. Despite just eight homers, Wright ranks third in the league in batting average (.324) and seventh in OBP (.414), but he now joins Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado on the DL.

23


Athletics
53-67
2-4
.457
Down
In his first appearance with the A’s, Brett Tomko tosses five shutout innings against the Yankees, who released him last month after 15 appearances. Grade D filler though Tomko may be, the second-half performances of Vin Mazarro (7.75 ERA), Dallas Braden (7.40, plus a trip to the DL) and Trevor Cahill (5.71) suggest some late-season rotation patching will be inevitable; expect Gil Heredia, Eric Hiljus, and Esteban Loaiza to show up when rosters expand.

24


Astros
59-62
3-3
.449
Down
Overcompensating, Aren’t We? Already pitching through a torn meniscus, Mike Hampton goes on the disabled list with a partially torn rotator cuff; he vows to return this year without surgery, not that his 5.30 ERA and .431 SNWP are doing the Astros much good. Speaking of which, the team trades Pudge Rodriguez and his robust .251/.280/.382 line back to Texas for a couple of warm bodies, not that they’re waiving a white flag-they’re just testing out the wind patterns for that pennant they’re about to hoist.

25


Orioles
49-72
2-5
.419
Flat
Birds of a Feather Get Pounded Together: A five-game losing streak runs the Orioles’ second-half record to an AL-worst 8-24 as the young rotation takes its lumps. Taking more lumps than most is Jason Berken, a crash test dummy who’s gone 2-11 with a 6.72 ERA and a .387 SNWP, the second-worst mark in the league among pitchers with at least 80 innings. Alas, that’s only slightly worse than Jeremy Guthrie, whose ninth-ranked .422 mark is accompanied by a plump 5.66 ERA.

26


Nationals
43-78
3-3
.414
Flat
Getting their Men: With just 77 seconds to spare, the Nationals reach a record-setting deal with overall number one pick Stephen Strasburg; he’ll get $15.1 million over four years, but won’t pitch in the majors this year. They also reward acting GM Mike Rizzo with a promotion to the full-time job despite <rumor of Jerry DiPoto‘s imminent hiring-a major step towards our long Natinal nightmare being over.

27


Pirates
49-70
3-2
.414
Flat
The Bucs Stop Someone: Caught in a 3-17 tailspin, the Pirates escape via a three-game sweep of the team that once owned them via 17 straight wins, the Brewers. Garrett Jones kicks things off with his 13th homer in just 170 plate appearances, Delwyn Young continues his hot hitting (.312/.368/.443) by opening the scoring in the middle match, and Paul Maholm caps it off with his first quality start since July 17.

28


Reds
51-69
1-5
.411
Down
Two-Sixty-Eight: That’s the Reds’ winning percentage since July 4, the last day they were over .500; they’re 11-30 since then, and the nightmares just get worse thanks to Dusty Baker‘s push-button managing. They lose Johnny Cueto to the DL due to shoulder inflammation; he’s been bombed for a 10.64 ERA since July 6, a span that includes his being pushed past 100 pitches four times amid diminishing returns. They also “lose” Willy Taveras to the DL due to a quad strain; he’s got lowest EqA among any hitter with at least 300 PA, but Baker batted him first or second in 93 of the team’s first 118 games, thereby helping push the team’s season off of a cliff.

29


Padres
51-72
2-5
.409
Down
Blanks Out: Kyle Blanks belts a walk-off three-run homer, his second late-inning shot against the Cubs in as many nights. He’s hitting .287/.391/.606 with eight homers since the All-Star break, compared to .159/.260/.227 prior. Also on a second-half tear is Adrian Gonzalez, hitting .348/.457/.688 with a team-high nine homers. Such He-Man feats have helped the Padres raise their per-game scoring level from 3.80 runs per game in the first half to 3.87 in the second, in case your microscope wasn’t working well enough to see.

30


Royals
47-73
2-4
.404
Down
Omaha or Bust: Hitting just .227/.310/.333 since returning from hip surgery on July 16, Alex Gordon is sent to Triple-A, a move that could delay his free agency by a year, not that suitors are lining up around the block for a player who’s hit .248/.329/.412 through this point in his age-25 season. In happier news, another one of the Royals’ can’t-miss kids is faring better; Billy Butler is hitting .320/.382/.570 since the All-Star break while improving his K/UIBB ratio from 2.2 to 1.6.

The Prospectus Hit List rankings are derived from Won-Loss records and several measurements pertaining to run differentials, both actual and adjusted, from Baseball Prospectus Adjusted Standings through the close of play on every Thursday.

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oneofthem
8/21
since the separation between nl and al is well acknowledged, the hit list should at least take into account the crummy competition that impact a few of the indexes used for the composite. is the dodgers even the 3rd best team in the al east? either way, not buying this ranking.
anderson721
8/21
Oh, come on. Let us Dodger fans savor this one championship-if it holds-cause we sure as hell are not going to get the real deal.
qwik3457bb
8/22
I was going to claim the top spot for the Yankees, but I cannot defeat this logic.
sde1015
8/22
From what I understand, quality of competition is taken into consideration in the 3rd order rankings, which comprise 1/4 of the overall rankings. You might be right, though, that this isn't a large enough component, but you're wrong to suggest that it doesn't factor in at all.
oneofthem
8/22
i didn't imply that it wasn't a factor, nor did i mean it too seriously. after all, what's a few % in the factor when it translates to maybe 2% higher chance of a title
sweptaway3641
8/21
Looks like no matter how well they play, the Phillies can't get past the Braves for the NL East Third Order champions. I guess we'll have to settle for the real NL East crown again this year.
jjaffe
8/21
Yeesh. The Phils have passed them on the Hit List, which takes a broader sample of performance, projection and the extra SCREW PHILLY factor (PHI Wpct0 - .333) that we add into all of our projections just to piss people off.
flalaw
8/21
Looks like this year the Philly fans on the BP boards are celebrating their team's first place status by freely pouring the whine.
Eusebio
8/21
Jay, I too am fond of the old Albuquerque team name. As, last time I was there in '99, I took in a game. Scioscia was their manager; I thought that was super sweet. My date was not impressed. I prefer Dukes over Isotopes, notwithstanding that classic Simpsons episode- "I'll be quirky?!"
collins
8/21
To say that Mauer's MVP chances are "doomed" seems like a silly overstatement. How often is it that the guy who is the *obviously* best candidate, both by sabremetric and mainstream evaluation, plays on a losing team? Sure, playing on a winning team gives a guy a boost, but if Mauer ends up with a .370 avg and 30+ homers, he wins in a walk.
sbnirish77
8/22
Isn't it time we get a BP article telling us how ordinary Justin Morneau is and how all those RBIs really don't count for anything?
collins
8/22
But even if they don't: Morneau's pct of runners on base driven in: 17.8 Mauer's pct: 21.6 (best in majors)
drawbb
8/23
Well, we sure as hell get plenty of daily evidence that everything you say doesn't really count for anything.
Vilica
8/22
As a die-hard A's fan for this entire decade, I must say I loved the Gil Heredia / Eric Hiljus reference. I didn't know anybody else remembered.
migueljsteele
8/23
Agreed, although I wrote the name of Erik Hiljus (with a k) in my RiverCats scorebook enough to recognize it was misspelled.
jjaffe
8/23
Yup. So focused on getting the last name spelled right that I forgot about the first.
padresprof
8/23
Jay - good points about the Rays. However, allow me to make a slight qualifier - Rays recent reduction in their probability of making the playoff is a result of the _very recent_ drop in the performance of the bullpen. Up to about 2 weeks ago, the Rays pen was better than average. (I don't know how to demonstrate this through your software.) The wheels recently came off Choate, Cormier and Shouse, until meeting Seattle and the Angels, were doing everything at near 2008 Rays level.
jjaffe
8/23
I'll have to query the data guys to get monthly WXRL splits, but it's been clear that the Rays' relievers have been less than dominating for some time now. Rays relievers by month (ERA / WHIP / K9 / K/BB) April 3.84 / 1.405 / 6.7 / 1.8 May 4.19 / 1.347 / 7.2 / 1.8 June 1.67 / 0.971 / 8.4 / 3.1 July 4.21 / 1.402 / 6.8 / 2.5 August 4.26 / 1.105 / 6.2 / 2.6 Devoid of a leverage context, it certainly looks to me like one great month and four relatively mediocre ones.
padresprof
8/23
Thanks for helping me out on this. According to ESPN, based on 357 IP, Rays relievers have the lowest ERA in the AL at 3.65. (AL ERA is 4.55) According to your FAIR_RA, the Rays are 3rd. The problem in context. WXRL is a contextual statistic, like RBIs. (And when I looked at the data, say mid July, the numbers looked more impressive as June weighed more heavily.) On the other hand, their starters ERA are at 4.54 (like the Yankees and Red Sox) - about the middle of the pack. In the end, the Rays don't score enough runs given their hits/walks (660 vs 634: AEQR vs actual RS) and allow too many runs given their allowed hits/walks (543 vs 555: AEQR vs actual RA) resulting in a worse record than should be expected. I think what you really hit upon for the Rays this year is that they have simply choked when they need the big hit or when keeping an opponent from hitting a late inning dinger! Their relievers, like their batters, are just choking! (or maybe they are unlucky...nah) One request since I don't have the data. Like many on this website, I assumed that the 2008 Angels and their amazing 12 wins above their expected record using simply RA/RS would not be matched in 2009. And yet they are to 10.7 wins above expectation in third order analysis. Does Scioscia have a history of beating the system? Does his team regularly hit and pitch better in close games?
jjaffe
8/23
Re the Rays, here are their reliever FRA and WXRL and AL rankings in each category at the end of each month (i.e., this isn't a month-by-month breakdown, as I've done above): Month FRA / WXRL / FRArank / WXRLrank April 4.06 / 0.427 / 5 / 12 May 4.71 / 0.651 / 7 / 11 June 3.76 / 3.872 / 2 / 7 July 4 / 5.724 / 2 / 8 August 4.15 / 7.085 / 3 / 7 Basically the bullpen got off to a lousy start, context-wise, and while they've since upgraded that performance to middle-of-the-pack, it's a big falloff from last year's excellence.
padresprof
8/24
Thanks for the info. Is it possible to construct this information myself through your website or is personal requests for data part of my lifetime subscription? I agree with your analysis - I have been limiting myself to FRA (like) values. Yes, your 2009 Rays relievers are not the same as your 2008 Rays relievers. Of course you probably didn't suffer through the mind boggling 2007 Devil Rays relievers. (In many ways 2007 was amazing. No lead was ever secure - for either team. As Carl Crawford once said during a game in 2007 after the Devil Rays, being up 10 runs, suddenly were allowing baserunners to fly around the diamond, "Uh oh, here we go again.")
jjaffe
8/24
That functionality isn't part of the site, alas. Just something that piqued my curiosity so i asked our data guys to run a query.
jjaffe
8/23
Re: the Angels, they've beaten their third-order expectations pretty handily in four out of the last five years. Here's how they've fared on Scioscia's watch: 2000 0.5 2001 -5.3 2002 -2.6 2003 -4.6 2004 0.8 2005 6.7 2006 -1.8 2007 8.1 2008 16.0 2009 10.7 (to date) Much of that owes to the success the Angels have had with their bullpens, but not this year, as they rank just 9th in the league in WXRL. They've hit .308/.385/.472 with runners in scoring position, 37 points of OPS better than the #2 team and 71 points better than the league average (.268/.355/.421). The splits at http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/split.cgi?t=b&lg=AL&year=2009#clutc show their offense as the 2nd-best in the league in one-run and two-run games but just eighth in games decided by 4+ runs. Definitely something worth looking into more.
sbnirish77
8/24
Didn't Minnesota do this identical thing last year? overall .279/.340/.408 men on base .298/.367/.443 RISP .305/.380/.446 with the BP take in its annual being ... "Clutch hitting is a touchy subject arond these parts. Its not that we don't believe it exists ... Its that just that, on the basis of extensive research, we don't beleive its a repeatable skill."
jjaffe
8/24
repeatable skill: something that for a population of individual players correlates well from year to year and thus has predictive value. The Twins doing it last year and the Angels doing it this year tells us zilch about whether clutch is a repeatable skill - we know that SOME team is going to hit better than expected with RISP. The question is whether individual players are repeating strong RISP performances from year to year to such an extent that we can reliably predict who the next good clutch performers will be.
sbnirish77
8/25
Why is the time frame for repeatabilty year-to-year? Judgements are made on players abilities on shorter time frames all the time. Doesn't it just matter that the team is repeating now what it did earlier in the year?
padresprof
8/25
I agree that the time frame (bin size) is arbitrary. However, one wants to use a sufficiently large enough time line so that random fluctuations do not overwhelm the signal one seeks, i.e., the repeatability of a performance. Noise in the probability fluctuations decrease with trials (at bats, ip, etc.) I suspect a year-to-year is chosen for convenience, that is, for traditional reasons we start the clock at 0 in April. I have read that some signals are not observed if the bin size is 1 year (clutch hitting for example), hence they may appear if the time-line were stretched to 2 years. But then again, maybe not. :)
jjaffe
8/25
Are you yanking my chain or are you that fundamentally unschooled in such concepts that this is all new to you? I'm charitably going to assume it's the latter. The reason why we tend to use the year as a unit for measuring repeatability has to do with sample size issues, and even then there are plenty of people sharper than me who would say a one-year workload for a hitter or pitcher isn't enough for the true talent level to show when it comes to issues such as platoon differential. Still, the first-cut assessment in determining what's a repeatable skill and what's not is generally a year's worth of data - it's a unit that's easy to obtain from any one of a number of sources, and it includes the broadest sample of competition and playing environments. If you're just comparing month-to-month correlations or half-to-half correlations, you're subject to all kinds of distortions in schedule (playing a larger-than-representative number of games at home or on the road, or against worse-than-average competition) and the kinds of random variations - streaks and slumps - that are unsustainable over the course of a full season, guys hitting .450 or .150 for a month. The point isn't that a player is repeating what he did earlier in the year. The point is whether or not we can use his past performance to predict his future performance, given a large enough sample size. If you really want somebody to explain this to you in detail in a baseball context, you might want to pick up a copy of something such as The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball by Tango, Lichtman and Dolphin.
sbnirish77
8/25
I'm aware of the importance of N in statistical sampling. I'm just trying to get an idea why you choose a single season as the comparision basis. Such a choice might be inadequate to compare an individual's clutch statistics (say Derek Jeter's RISP BA in 2009 to 2008) but completely adequate in comparing team statistics (LA Angels in 2009 to every other major league team in 2009). I'll give you an example from Strat-o-Matic. There is a clutch feature which if used would give someone up to an additonal .025 (say 6 chances out of 216) of BA in clutch situtions. Its real and its there on the card. But what statititical test would I need (and neccesary N) to detect it from a mountain of individual and team statititics? I could try a number of statistical tests that might fail and it would be very easy to conclude the effect doesn't exist because I haven't proved it at a 95% significance level. But in fact the result is right there on the card and is real. My point - some very real effects could be very difficult to detect but that doesn't make them any less real. I suspect that the team aggregate stats are more likely indicative of something real thna individual stats because of the N involved.