Why the Angels Lose: A Look at How Each Player Impacts W’s and L’s

Stephen Dunn

I’m currently sitting in an Evidence class, listening to a Mr. Miyagi look-alike—although I will admit, he’s a surprisingly good lecturer. However, with Spring Training games quickly approaching, I can’t seem to focus (Who needs to know about the opposing party exemption to the hearsay rule, anyway?). I’ll study for the Bar later.

My Angels daydreaming and Evidence notes began to meld together and I started thinking about how baseball games are similar to trials. Every trial contains numerous "mini-trials." Often, the trial is won or lost in these mini-trials, where lawyers fight over what evidence is admitted, what witnesses can or can’t say, and what material is discoverable. Based on the tenor of these mini-trials, it’s possible to gauge the direction and predict the outcome of the trial.

In much the same way, baseball games are really the confluence of numerous "mini-games" that determine who wins. If you know how the "mini-games" are decided, you can predict the outcome of the overall game with striking accuracy (I’m sure some of you heard Terry Smith marvel over this stat: the team that leads the game at the end of the first inning goes on to win 70% of the time). Important mini-games include how the team does with runners in scoring position, how hitters perform in hitters’ counts, and what percentage of inherited runners score.

Really, there are many reasons why teams lose or win. Every game is different and many factors contribute to a game’s outcome. However, over the course of a season, patterns begin to arise between wins and losses. I’ll highlight a pattern for the key players (starter position players, starting pitchers, and bulk of the bullpen) on the Angels’ 25-man roster this upcoming year. In evaluating relievers, it is much more difficult to break down how they performed in wins and losses. For this reason, I’ll simply highlight areas where they performed well or where they performed poorly. Keep an eye out for how these factors contribute to the team’s record this season. I think three players are key to the Angels’ season.

Clearly there are cause and effect questions. I’m not saying, "If these things happen, the Angels win." Rather, I’m just saying that there’s a strong correlation between one or a few stats for each player and the team’s winning.

Name of Player

Stat in Wins (No. of W’s)

Stat in Losses (No. of L’s)

Position Players

Mark Trumbo

70 RBI’s (81)

25 (63)

Peter Bourjos*

.333/.397/.554 BA/OBP/SLG (78)

.200/.242/.306 (69)

Erick Aybar

.353 OBP (80)

.283 OBP (61)

Chris Iannetta

.369 OBP (42)

.279 OBP (37)

Alberto Callaspo

44 Runs (78)

11 Runs (60)

Howie Kendrick

44 SO (79 W, 333 PA’s)

71 SO (66 W, 261 PA’s)

Albert Pujols

1.047 OPS (83)

.641 OPS (71)

Josh Hamilton

.411 OBP (85)

.265 (63)

Mike Trout

101 Runs (81)

28 Runs (58)

Relief Pitchers – Good/Bad Splits

Kevin Jepsen

7th Inning: 2.53 ERA, .162 BAA, .184 OBP (10.2 IP)

8th Inning: 3.86 ERA, .284 BAA, .355 OBP (25.2 IP)

Scott Downs

Pitching on 2 days’ rest: .211 BAA, .273 OBPA

Pitching on 1 days’ rest: .300 BAA, .348 OBPA

Sean Burnett

March-May: .155 BAA

August-October: .306 BAA

Ernesto Frieri

.034 BAA RISP (70 Plate Appearances)

.308 OBPA when there are 0 outs

Ryan Madson*

1 Out: 9.33 SO/BB, .176 BAA, .208 OBPA

Bases Loaded: .571 BAA, 1 HR, 10 runs in 7 AB

Jerome Williams

At home: .2.93 ERA (73.2 IP)

On road: 6.47 ERA (64 IP)

Starting Pitchers

In Wins (No.)

In Losses (No.)

No Decisions (No.)

Joe Blanton

7 HRs allowed (10 W’s, 74.1 IP)

15 HRs (13 L’s, 66.2 IP)

10 HRs (8 ND, 50 IP)

C.J. Wilson

11 GDP (13 W, 358 Batters face)

2 GDP (10 L, 236 Batters faced)

10 GDP (11 ND, 271 Batters faced)

Jason Vargas

10 HRs (14 W, 97 IP)

19 HRs (11 L, 69.2 IP)

5 HRs (8 ND, 50.2 IP)

Tommy Hanson

.721 OPS against (13 W, 78.2 IP)

.894 OPS against (10 L, 54.1 IP)

.846 OPS against (8 ND, 41.2 IP)

Jered Weaver

4.20 SO/BB (20)

1.08 SO/BB (5)

3.00 SO/BB (5)

· Used 2011 Stats for Bourjos, Madson.

The Most Impactful Players for the Upcoming Season:

Mark Trumbo. Perhaps the most shocking stat, in my mind, is the split in Mark Trumbo’s RBI totals for wins and losses. In 81 wins: 70 RBIs. In 63 losses: 25. Between wins and losses, his batting averages, walks, doubles, OBP, and steals were almost (or exactly, in the case of OBP) identical. He did homer at a slightly higher rate (about 1.2% more often in wins), thus leading to a slightly higher slugging percentage. But the RBI stat is absolutely astounding. He had an RBI every 4.8 plate attempts in wins. Losses? Every 10.1 plate attempts. Mark’s ability to drive in runs is vital to the Angels’ success.

Howie Kendrick. Howie’s splits between wins and losses are pretty incredible. The strikeouts above only scratch the surface. Howie’s slash line in wins last year was .343/.378/.477. Contrast that with the .217/.257/.303 and you can see part of the problem. When Howie is hitting the ball hard, the Angels’ lineup is much deeper. Like Mark Trumbo’s success, Howie’s makes the whole lineup more dangerous.

Joe Blanton. Call this one a personal pick. While many are down on Blanton, I see him as an integral part of the Angels’ success (and I think he’ll do relatively well). I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a 4.40-4.60 ERA with 13-16 wins. Blanton’s importance extends beyond just his statistics, though. Joe will help keep the bullpen fresh by pitching deeper into games. Joe is moving from Citizen’s Bank Park to Angel Stadium, and while both are considered pitchers’ parks, Angel Stadium is much more so (according to ESPN’s Park Factors). Joe was uncharacteristically wild in his Dodger stint, and I think he’ll do just fine here, providing a stable hand at the back of the rotation, giving up runs, but giving the team plenty of opportunities to win.


In reality, the numbers aren’t all that groundbreaking. When Mike Trout is scoring runs, Trumbo and Pujols are driving guys in, and the table-setters are adequately table setting, the Angels win. Last year, in 89 wins, the team scored 560 runs. In 73 losses, they scored 207.

While these numbers aren’t really all that amazing, I do think we can look to the seasons of our Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, and Joe Blanton to see the direction of the year. I sure hope it’s a good one.

Other Interesting Patterns:

· Joe Blanton could be very good with some run support. Last year, in games where his offense provided between 0-2 runs, he went 0-7 in 7 games. In 23 games when he had 3+ runs of support, he went 10-5 with 8 no decisions.

· The Angels seem to do better when Erick Aybar doesn’t run. He had 7 SB in 10 attempts in wins. In losses, he had 13 SB in 14 attempts. Fluky, I know.

· C.J. Wilson, in just about every category, pitched worse in his no decisions than in his losses. The major difference came in how often he induced double plays. When C.J. gets the DP, he can at least keep the team in the game.

· Vargas’ ERA between wins, losses and no decisions are pretty drastic. 2.51 in wins, 6.20 in losses, and 3.20 in no decisions. Probably due to Seattle’s ineptitude on offense, but Vargas seemed to only win games when he pitched really well really deep into the game.

· Tommy Hanson’s splits between wins and losses were surprisingly similar, outside of ERA. His SO/9 was identical and his BB/9 was lower in losses. He also didn’t allow appreciably more home runs in losses. Further, he was, in a lot of ways, worse in his no decisions.

· Ernasy really buckles down as an inning progresses. His batting average against and on base percentage against drop with each out. 0 outs: .203/.308. 1 out: .173/.284. 2 outs: .079/.213. That’s shutting down an inning (and giving fans aneurisms).

· While Scott Downs was better pitching on 2 days’ rest rather than 1 days’ rest, he was actually best pitching on 0 days rest last year, posting a .189 BAA, .250 OBPA, and a 3.33 SO/BB. Maybe he needs to appear in 100 games this year?

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

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