Sunday, April 22, 2018

Striking out and winning in Colorado

Friday night on the broadcast JD mentioned a pet theory he had about success in Coors field. Considering how much the ball flies off the bat when put in play in the high elevation of Colorado, he wondered if the team that struck out less often therefore won more games.

So I brushed the dust off my retrosheet database that's been dormant since my two toddlers tied me up with duct tape and scrounged up some data to investigate JD's theory.

I'm using data from 2002-2012 for this mostly because it was readily available to me.

If the team that struck out more in a single game lost that game, I'd mark it as a "THEORY_YES." If the team that struck out fewer times won I'd mark it as a "THEORY_NO". If the teams struck out the same amount of times I marked it as a tie.

In Coors field from 2002-2012:

COL GAMES442352105055.7

So, yes, the team that strikes out less wins more often in Coors-- 55.7% of the time (if we throw out the "tie" games. JD's suspicions are correct in this respect.

But how does this compare to games in other parks? It stands to reason that if you aren't striking out as much as the other team you are probably having a better day offensively, no matter what park you are in. That's just the laws of baseball.

So for all other games in that same time period:

NON-COL GAMES1395294952736359.5

So that 55.7% advantage is actually less than the league as a whole. Your guess is as good as mine as to why this is the case, but my guess is randomness. The league rate sits at 60%-ish pretty steadily from year-to-year over that timeframe, but with a yearly sample of just 81 games, the rate for games  in Colorado jumps around quite a bit.

NON-COL GAMES20021278852248160
NON-COL GAMES20031273865248159.5
NON-COL GAMES20041228873280058.4
NON-COL GAMES20051237870272158.7
NON-COL GAMES20061242881255058.5
NON-COL GAMES20071302861209060.2
NON-COL GAMES20081238909232057.7
NON-COL GAMES20091240872265058.7
NON-COL GAMES20101346822213062.1
NON-COL GAMES20111280845261060.2
NON-COL GAMES20121288845253060.4

I cross-referenced a lot of this data with baseball-reference and found no discrepancies, but since I'll readily admit I may be rusty if anyone is passionate enough to want to check my work here it is:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

All Time Greatest Breakouts

Jeff Sullivan ran a post for Fangraphs/Fox Sports suggesting Bryce Harper's 2015 season was a breakout for the ages. This is undoubtedly true, but I ran a few queries that seem to better quantify the "breakoutness" of a breakout.

Jeff did a number of year 1/year 2 queries that look at the greatest improvements from one year to the next. This can be misleading in terms of a breakout season because the player could just as easily have had an off-year or an injury year prior to his "breakout" and create the illusion of a major jump in performance.

So here we are looking at the greatest jumps in wRC+ from a player's breakout year to his previous high. I used the same 300 PA requirement used in the article for both seasons.

Harper falls to 29th on the list of greatest breakouts by this method, comparing his 197 wRC+ in 2015 season with his previous high of 137 in 2013 nets him a jump of 60 points, not quite as high as the top ten:

All time Breakouts 
#NameAgeSeasonwRC+PAprevios high wRC+JUMPprevious high seasonprevious high PAYears since previous highYears since breakout
1Al Kaline2019551566817680195453512
2Tito Francona2519591684439276195650033
3Cito Gaston2619701446296876196941913
4Chick Hafey2419271593948475192537523
5Fernando Tatis2419991416396774199835012
6Eli Marrero2820021004462674199934335
7Fred Dunlap25188421447814272188136934
8Clyde Barnhart2719231503867872192150523
9Devin Mesoraco2620141464407472201335213
10Danny Thompson2519721006242971197031822

Devin Mesoraco's showing inside the top ten is surprising to me, perhaps he's been forgotten about already since a dismal injury-plagued follow-up in 2015.

Al Kaline jumps from fifth in the article to number one here, but with just two full seasons before his breakout year.

Other recent notables include Jose Bautista's 2010 breakout at #19, Justin Turner and Brandon Moss at #26 and Alex Avila's standout 2010 tied with Harper.

And personal favorite John Lowenstein broke out in his 12th year as a major leaguer to hit for a 173 wRC+ 65 points higher than his next best performance previously. He was 35 years old.

Here is the top 100:

Here is a picture of a face, parts of it belonging to the author, parts to John Lowenstein:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Doctored Ball Ejections

-- Courtesy of David Vincent

06/11/1920 Slim Sallee       CIN  Throwing doctored ball (ejected)
06/14/1922 Sam Jones         NYA  Throwing cut ball (not ejected)
07/27/1922 Dave Danforth     SLA  Throwing doctored ball (cover of ball cut, ejected)
08/01/1923 Dave Danforth     SLA  Throwing doctored ball (discolored. ejected)
08/14/1924 Bob Shawkey       NYA  Throwing doctored ball (discolored, ejected)
07/20/1944 Nelson Potter     SLA  Spit ball (ejected)
04/27/1968 Rich Nye (and others)  Spit ball (six automatic balls called in game; Durocher ejected)
08/18/1968 Phil Regan        CHN  Vaseline ball (three ejected in rhubarb; ruled twice in game)
07/14/1978 Don Sutton        LAN  Scuffed ball (ejected)
09/30/1980 Rick Honeycutt    SEA  Sandpaper and tack (ejected)
08/23/1982 Gaylord Perry     SEA  Throwing doctored ball (ejected)
08/03/1987 Joe Niekro        MIN  Emery board in back pocket (ejected)
08/10/1987 Kevin Gross       PHI  Sandpaper on glove (ejected)
10/08/1988 Jay Howell        LAN  Pine tar on glove (NLCS Game 3, ejected)
05/01/1999 Brian Mohler      DET  Sandpaper on left thumb (ejected)
06/09/1999 Byung-Hyun Kim    ARI  Heat balm on bandage in sleeve (ejected)
05/17/2003 Zach Day          MON  Glue on hand (ejected)
08/20/2004 Julian Tavares    SLN  Pine tar on cap (ejected, 10-day suspension)
06/14/2005 Brendan Donnelly  ANA  Pine tar on glove (ejected)
10/22/2006 Kenny Rogers      DET  Foreign substance on heel of pitching hand (World Series, not ejected)
06/19/2012 Joel Peralta      TBA  Pine tar on glove (ejected before pitching)
04/23/2014 Michael Pineda    NYA  Pine tar on neck (ejected)
05/21/2015 Will Smith        MIL  Foreign substance on non-pitching arm (rosin and sunscreen; ejected)
05/23/2015 Brian Matusz      BAL  Foreign substance on non-pitching arm (ejected)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Event score percent

Data from retrosheet 2010-2013:

Walks will score slightly less than singles because they're not as evenly distributed. A pitcher is more likely to surrender a base on balls in safer situations--- when the baserunner will be less likely to score. Intentional walks even more so. I imagine some fraction of HBP are intentional as well, that may explain why they score ever so slightly less than a base hit, which is about as close to random as we'll probably get in this table.

Reached on Errors are not limited to single-base ROE, so that number is including some extra bases. Doubles and triples are especially high, and home runs are 100 percent obviously.

This is different, of course, from the percentage an event scores to lead off an inning which looks drastically different:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Home run rates by inning, score

Addendum to a post at Hardball Times:

HR per inning 2010-2012

Inning HR HR/PA HR/Batted Ball
1 1636 0.026 0.036
2 1576 0.026 0.036
3 1539 0.025 0.034
4 1876 0.030 0.041
5 1645 0.026 0.036
6 1768 0.028 0.039
7 1550 0.025 0.035
8 1411 0.023 0.033
9 1078 0.023 0.034
10 114 0.021 0.034
11 61 0.021 0.032
12 25 0.017 0.026

Home runs by score 2010-2012

Run_diff HR HR/PA HR/Batted Ball
-7 157 0.028 0.038
-6 247 0.027 0.036
-5 368 0.026 0.036
-4 560 0.025 0.036
-3 802 0.025 0.036
-2 1163 0.025 0.035
-1 1700 0.025 0.036
0 3761 0.025 0.036
+1 1743 0.025 0.036
+2 1231 0.026 0.037
+3 835 0.027 0.038
+4 556 0.026 0.037
+5 358 0.026 0.037
+6 239 0.027 0.038
+7 143 0.027 0.037