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Monday, October 10, 2005

Angels and Moneyball Redux

Last night in the Fox broadcast of Game 4 between the Angels and Yankees Tim McCarver noted that broadcasters catch a lot of flack for not being up on the latest statistics. He was quick to point out though that the Angels had hit .296 with runners in scoring position which is why they needn't be that concerned with Moneyball strategies like focusing on OBP.

Interestingly, Thom Brenaman seemed almost apologetic when mentioning that Billy Beane didn't actually write Moneyball and McCarver was quick to chime in that Michael Lewis did. Apparently, for them the book is anathema.

McCarver went on to say that Mike Scoscia indicated that his Angels go from first to third more than twice as often as the A's do since they focus on getting runners in once they get on.

This is the same topic I wrote about back in April. In that piece I noted that the Angels were 3rd in the league last season in hitting with runners in scoring position and hit .291 with runners on which helped account for their outperforming their runs created estimates.

This season the A's and Angels by comparison looked as follows:

Runs RC BsR
Angels 761 738 721
A's 772 741 727

Note: BsR is David Smyth's Base Runs formula.

So this season there wasn't quite as big a difference as in 2004 and in fact the A's overshot their estimates by a few more runs than the Angels. This was because the A's also hit well with runners in scoring position (.275) and with runners on (.272).

As for runners advancing I was not able to validate the numbers Scoscia gave for 2004 in the previous article using my baserunning framework and I don't have play by play data for 2005 yet. My sense is that Scoscia is using a measure that excludes certain kinds of hits and that his tracking has some bias in it.

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