FanPost

The Real Tease: The Rollercoaster Ride Angels - 2013 Best and Worst WPA

Larry, Moe and Albert. - USA TODAY Sports

I hate to bring out the lyrics, again, but it just seemed so appropriate:

"Why do you build me up? (Crowd singing: Positive WPA)

Just to let me down? (Crowd singing: Negative WPA)"

Arte's Favorite Anthem has more truth to it than we could have ever thought.

Sometimes we're very, very good. At times we're very, very bad.

And it's pissing us off because we don't know whether to give up, or continue to believe.

Out of curiosity, I headed over to Baseball-Reference.com and used their handy-dandy research tools. While poking around, I started looking up league-wide Win Probability Added and Win Probability Subtracted. It seemed to me that we were effing up at the most inopportune times (Trumbo caught stealing when Callaspo couldn't bunt), yet we still had several clutch moments (Kendrick 2 home run game).

Now, Win Probability is all about context. We know that a Vernon Wells solo shot in the 9th inning of a blowout is much less valuable than a Mark Trumbo walk off homer. So score, inning, runners on bases, etc. etc. all matter. And that's what seemed to be happening to us this year. Crappy play at crucial times.

(For the technically minded, straight from FanGraphs)

Win Probability Added (WPA) captures this difference by measuring how individual players affect their team's win expectancy on a per-play basis.

For example, say the Rays have a 45% chance of winning before Ben Zobrist comes to the plate. During his at-bat, Zobrist hits a home run, pushing the Rays' win expectancy jumps to 75%. That difference in win expectancy (in decimal form, +.30) from the beginning of the play to the end is Ben Zobrist's WPA for that play. If Zobrist strikes out during his next at bat and lowers his team's win expectancy by 5%, his overall WPA for the game so far would be +.30 - .05 = +.25, as WPA is a counting statistic and is additive.

OK, on to what I found out.

We are by far the most volatile, up-and-down, rollercoaster-riding team in the American League.

To start with, guess who had the BEST single game WPA so far this season? El Hombre. If you recall that game against Houston, we had our backs against the wall twice and Albert came through each time - a single to start a rally in the 8th, and a double, with 2 outs, to win the game in the 9th. Trumbo and Howie's game winners were highly ranked, too.

So, the following guys had a really good day at work. Notice that some of our opponents had their best days against us.

2013 Batters Highest Single Game WPA

Rk

Player

Date

Tm

Opp

Rslt

WPA

1

Albert Pujols

2013-04-13

LAA

HOU

W 5-4

0.732

2

Drew Stubbs

2013-05-03

CLE

MIN

W 7-6

0.658

3

Alex Avila

2013-05-03

DET

HOU

W 4-3

0.618

4

Edwin Encarnacion

2013-04-30

TOR

BOS

W 9-7

0.580

5

Matthew Joyce

2013-04-03

TBR

BAL

W 8-7

0.550

6

Eduardo Escobar

2013-04-03

MIN

DET

W 3-2

0.545

7

John Jaso

2013-04-09

OAK

LAA

W 9-5

0.521

8

Howie Kendrick

2013-04-23

LAA

TEX

W 5-4

0.519

9

Daniel Nava

2013-04-20

BOS

KCR

W 4-3

0.486

10

A.J. Pierzynski

2013-04-22

TEX

LAA

W 7-6

0.468

13

Yoenis Cespedes

2013-04-30

OAK

LAA

W 10-6

0.457

17

Steve Pearce

2013-05-04

BAL

LAA

W 5-4

0.444

25

Mark Trumbo

2013-04-21

LAA

DET

W 4-3

0.406

But we've been very UN-clutchy, too. Next, below, is a list of the worst single game performances (as measured by WPA-) this year. Although we barely had anybody in the Top 10, we practically rule the Top 27. We have far more players in the Top 27 than any other team.

What does that mean? These guys came up to bat in key situations, and single-handedly ruined our scoring chances. There is a particularly overpaid free agent who shows up more than anybody else.

These are guys that had a really bad day at work. Poor Victor Martinez. Interestingly enough, some of our opponents also had their worst days against us:

2013 Batters Worst Single Game WPA-

Rk

Player

Date

Tm

Opp

Rslt

WPA

1

Chris Carter

2013-04-21

HOU

CLE

L 4-5

-0.408

2

Victor Martinez

2013-04-21

DET

LAA

L 3-4

-0.384

3

Chris Young

2013-04-29

OAK

LAA

W 10-8

-0.360

4

Tyler Flowers

2013-04-05

CHW

SEA

L 7-8

-0.354

5

Derek Norris

2013-05-01

OAK

LAA

L 4-5

-0.338

6

Prince Fielder

2013-04-19

DET

LAA

L 1-8

-0.334

7

Ryan Raburn

2013-04-24

CLE

CHW

L 2-3

-0.320

8

Victor Martinez

2013-04-12

DET

OAK

L 3-4

-0.319

9

Manny Machado

2013-04-03

BAL

TBR

L 7-8

-0.311

10

Josh Hamilton

2013-04-09

LAA

OAK

L 5-9

-0.307

11

Erick Aybar

2013-04-01

LAA

CIN

W 3-1

-0.307

12

Mike Trout

2013-04-01

LAA

CIN

W 3-1

-0.306

17

Josh Hamilton

2013-04-29

LAA

OAK

L 8-10

-0.286

26

Albert Pujols

2013-04-22

LAA

TEX

L 6-7

-0.265

27

Josh Hamilton

2013-04-21

LAA

DET

W 4-3

-0.265

Our pitchers can get in on this, too. We only had one guy in the Top 25 so far this year, and that just happened the other day.

2013 Starting Pitchers Highest Single Game WPA

Rk

Player

Date

Tm

Opp

Rslt

WPA

18

Jason Vargas

2013-05-03

LAA

BAL

W 4-0

0.395

This basically means that we haven't had very strong starting pitching. No kidding.

But Jason also is the proud owner of our worst game:

2013 Starting Pitchers Worst Single Game WPA-

Rk

Player

Date

Tm

Opp

Rslt

WPA

1

Brett Myers

2013-04-04

CLE

TOR

L 8-10

-0.581

2

A.J. Griffin

2013-04-22

OAK

BOS

L 6-9

-0.512

3

Wade Davis

2013-04-24

KCR

DET

L 5-7

-0.505

4

Vance Worley

2013-04-12

MIN

NYM

L 5-16

-0.502

5

Dylan Axelrod

2013-04-11

CHW

WSN

L 4-7

-0.502

6

Jason Vargas

2013-04-16

LAA

MIN

L 6-8

-0.477

7

Bud Norris

2013-04-17

HOU

OAK

L 5-7

-0.474

8

Philip Humber

2013-04-20

HOU

CLE

L 6-19

-0.471

9

Jeremy Hellickson

2013-04-03

TBR

BAL

W 8-7

-0.463

10

Garrett Richards

2013-04-30

LAA

OAK

L 6-10

-0.451

13

Rick Porcello

2013-04-20

DET

LAA

L 0-10

-0.440

31

Joe Blanton

2013-04-10

LAA

OAK

L 5-11

-0.362

37

Joe Blanton

2013-04-04

LAA

CIN

L 4-5

-0.350

You might be asking why Vargas' and Richards' performances are "worse" than Bluto's. The answer primarily lies in the fact that Jason and Garrett received early run support and continued to spit the bit. Put another way: the run support created a high likelihood (probability) of a win, and their poor pitching ruined that probability. Bluto sucked, but the Halo's were never really "in" those games.

I know our bullpen sucks. too, but looky here: Jerome has not one, but the top TWO best relief performances of the year so far. And we have FOUR other pitchers in the top 15! WOW.

2013 Relief Pitchers Highest Single Game WPA

Rk

Player

Date

Tm

Opp

Rslt

WPA

1

Jerome Williams

2013-04-21

LAA

DET

W 4-3

0.385

2

Jerome Williams

2013-04-29

LAA

OAK

L 8-10

0.361

3

Koji Uehara

2013-04-13

BOS

TBR

W 2-1

0.341

4

Ernesto Frieri

2013-05-01

LAA

OAK

W 5-4

0.339

5

Phil Coke

2013-04-17

DET

SEA

W 2-1

0.306

6

Derek Lowe

2013-04-20

TEX

SEA

W 5-0

0.282

7

Mark Lowe

2013-04-01

LAA

CIN

W 3-1

0.278

8

Josh Roenicke

2013-04-06

MIN

BAL

W 6-5

0.271

9

Jerry Blevins

2013-04-29

OAK

LAA

W 10-8

0.268

10

Grant Balfour

2013-04-29

OAK

LAA

W 10-8

0.267

11

Michael Kohn

2013-04-29

LAA

OAK

L 8-10

0.267

15

Dane De La Rosa

2013-04-23

LAA

TEX

W 5-4

0.257

Our bullpen does suck, though. It's just a little more subtle:

2013 Relief Pitchers Worst Single Game WPA-

Rk

Player

Date

Tm

Opp

Rslt

WPA

1

Greg Holland

2013-04-06

KCR

PHI

L 3-4

-0.912

2

Joel Hanrahan

2013-04-10

BOS

BAL

L 5-8

-0.881

3

Jose Veras

2013-04-13

HOU

LAA

L 4-5

-0.815

4

Kevin Jepsen

2013-04-09

LAA

OAK

L 5-9

-0.696

5

Phil Coke

2013-04-03

DET

MIN

L 2-3

-0.673

6

Jose Veras

2013-05-03

HOU

DET

L 3-4

-0.655

7

Jake McGee

2013-04-02

TBR

BAL

L 4-7

-0.646

8

Kelvin Herrera

2013-04-20

KCR

BOS

L 3-4

-0.641

9

Pedro Strop

2013-04-03

BAL

TBR

L 7-8

-0.528

10

Jake McGee

2013-05-01

TBR

KCR

L 8-9

-0.508

35

Garrett Richards

2013-05-04

LAA

BAL

L 4-5

-0.315

36

Ernesto Frieri

2013-04-22

LAA

TEX

L 6-7

-0.315

64

Barry Enright

2013-04-29

LAA

OAK

L 8-10

-0.233

65

Dane De La Rosa

2013-04-22

LAA

TEX

L 6-7

-0.222

69

Scott Downs

2013-04-05

LAA

TEX

L 2-3

-0.212

85

Ernesto Frieri

2013-04-29

LAA

OAK

L 8-10

-0.186

90

Scott Downs

2013-05-01

LAA

OAK

W 5-4

-0.175

91

David Carpenter

2013-04-24

LAA

TEX

L 3-11

-0.174

92

Mark Lowe

2013-04-07

LAA

TEX

L 3-7

-0.174

94

Scott Downs

2013-04-23

LAA

TEX

W 5-4

-0.159

97

Mark Lowe

2013-04-10

LAA

OAK

L 5-11

-0.151

Interestingly enough, our relief pitchers don't have the biggest meltdowns in the league so far this year. Our relievers, on the other hand, have just been consistently poor. Once you get past the Top 50 reliever meltdowns, you see a lot of "challenging" pitching; pitchers that come in and leave things generally (but not always HORRIBLY) worse. Considering there are about 1200 reliever games in the league, it is worth noting that we have so many guys in the top 100.

I'll wrap things up with cumulative season tables.

These players have piled up a lot of positive events/AB's:

2013 Batters Season WPA+

Rk

Tm

WPA+

1

Chris Davis*

BAL

3.7

2

Adam Jones

BAL

3.6

3

Josh Donaldson

OAK

3.5

4

Miguel Cabrera

DET

3.4

5

Mike Trout

LAA

3.4

6

Manny Machado

BAL

3.3

7

Edwin Encarnacion

TOR

3.1

8

Prince Fielder*

DET

3.1

9

Ian Kinsler

TEX

3.1

10

Lorenzo Cain

KCR

2.9

11

Mike Napoli

BOS

2.9

12

Albert Pujols

LAA

2.9

13

Mark Trumbo

LAA

2.9

16

Howie Kendrick

LAA

2.7

Again, a lot of clutch hitting.

But a lot of UN-clutch hitting.

2013 Batters Season WPA-

Rk

Tm

WPA- ▴

1

Josh Hamilton*

LAA

-3.0

2

Mike Trout

LAA

-2.8

3

Albert Pujols

LAA

-2.7

4

Victor Martinez#

DET

-2.6

5

Manny Machado

BAL

-2.6

6

Melky Cabrera#

TOR

-2.6

7

Adrian Beltre

TEX

-2.6

8

Howie Kendrick

LAA

-2.5

9

Edwin Encarnacion

TOR

-2.5

10

Mark Trumbo

LAA

-2.4

OUCH.

Half the list is comprised of our favorite team. No other team is even close. That's, um, basically our lineup that goes out there every day.

And, finally, pitchers:

2013 Pitchers Season WPA+

Rk

Tm

WPA+ ▾

1

David Price*

TBR

3.8

2

Felix Hernandez

SEA

3.7

3

Justin Masterson

CLE

3.6

4

Jason Vargas*

LAA

3.4

5

Chris Sale*

CHW

3.4

6

Jeremy Guthrie

KCR

3.4

7

CC Sabathia*

NYY

3.3

8

Hisashi Iwakuma

SEA

3.2

9

Doug Fister

DET

3.1

10

C.J. Wilson*

LAA

3.1

21

Joe Blanton

LAA

2.8

2013 Pitchers Season WPA-

Rk

Tm

WPA- ▴

1

David Price*

TBR

-4.2

2

Joe Blanton

LAA

-4.1

3

Mark Buehrle*

TOR

-3.6

4

Jason Vargas*

LAA

-3.4

5

Jarrod Parker

OAK

-3.3

6

Doug Fister

DET

-3.2

7

C.J. Wilson*

LAA

-3.1

8

Brett Anderson*

OAK

-3.1

9

CC Sabathia*

NYY

-3.0

10

Bud Norris

HOU

-3.0

Yes, you read that right. David Price has had the most positive events, and the most negative. Talk about a rollercoaster ride.

Yet, you see two Angel starters in that same group (Wilson and Vargas), and another who barely missed (Blanton). Laying claim, yet again, to the volatility we've come to expect from this team. Up. And Down. Good. And Bad.

So next time you're complaining during the game thread that this team is giving you a heart attack, know this: The boys in red really ARE buttercupping you.

"And then worst of all (worst of all) you never hit, baby
When you say you will (say you will) but I love you still"

This Fan-Post is authored by an independent fan. Tell us what you think and how you feel.

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