Baseball Prospectus and the Angels.

In Matt Welch’s excellent fan post “Ha Ha Baseball Prospectus” he shows how the Angels have once again out performed the predictions made by that illustrious organization.  The comments that follow his fanpost almost unanimously agree that the BP folks either have their heads up their collective asses or that at the very least they’re missing something important in their prediction models.  The theory is that the Angels are doing something particularly well that their models both don’t recognize or undervalue and as a result have outperformed the model by a significant amount for the 6th (?) consecutive year.

Although I have no original work to present to you today, I do have a link to a BP article on this very topic. Much to his credit, the author recognizes the Angels achievement and admits that it’s likely that there is something missing in the model.  I highly recommend reading the comments that follow because there are many excellent suggestions as to what that may be and even one that I think may actually be the culprit...


Good points by both of you. Our managerial stats aren't in a state that allows a lazy bastard like me the luxury of a casual research effort, but to the extent that I can answer any questions using combined 2005-2008 data:

1. There's a negative correlation between relievers used and actual winning percentage (-.39) and a similar one for Pythag (-.36)

2. There's a negative correlation between positional sac hits (-.15) and winning pct or Pythag.

3. There's virtually no correlation between blown quality starts and actual or projected record (.05)

4. There's a surprisingly solid correlation (0.5) between runners moving with the pitch and actual winning percentage. It's slightly less (.43) with projected winning percentage, and at least somewhat visible (.20) between runners moving and pythagorean differential, though the latter nearly disappears if you remove the Angels from the set.

Turning to the 2009 Bill James Handbook, which I have within easy reach, and looking over Scioscia's record, he's never lead the league in lineup platoon advantage, but his teams have tended to be above average in that regard, with 63% having the advantage at the start of the game over the course of his career. His teams have never led the league in sac hits or reliever usage, either.

Where he's consistently led his peers is in two categories that mesh with what I was discussing above: stolen base attempts and runners moving with the pitch. Given that and #4 above, I'd say it's worth earmarking the topic of baserunning success and its link with overperformance for further study.


I made this a new fan post rather than a comment to the original because I didn’t want this excellent BP article on our beloved Halo’s to go unnoticed…  Although the original BP article is a month old I had completely missed it in my scouring of the internet for all things Angels related...  Apologies if this article had already been pointed out, I was very excited to read it.

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