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0 Subject: Daily Blurb - August 6, 2010

Posted by: Guru
- [330592710] Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 10:57

Quote of the day
"I think what's going on with Tiger is he has this immense stress that he may not be appreciative of that's affecting and leaking into his game. He might be looking for different answers, like in his physical game, but it's really the emotional game where he needs to work on the stress in his life. The longer he doesn't win, the harder it gets for him to win." -- Dr. Gregg Steinberg, sports psychologist and consultant to college and professional athletes

Daily Blurb
Following a rambling, disconnected path in my web surfing this morning, I began to wonder how tightly correlated team saves were with team wins. You’d think that a team with more wins would tend to have more saves. But it’s also plausible that teams with more wins tend to have bigger winning margins, and therefore relatively fewer save opportunities. So I ran a quick correlation analysis on this year’s team stats. The resulting correlation coefficient was 60%, suggesting that both of my subjective observations might be somewhat valid.

I figured I’d compare that with the last several years. In 2009, the correlation was much higher, 79%. In 2008, it was 75%. I began to wonder if this year was turning out to be a significant aberration. But in 2007, the correlation was only 58%.

Ranked by saves this season, the top six teams all have at least 62 wins (SF, TB, Tex, SD, Bos, CWS). But Kansas City, with a 46-62 record, ranks 7th in saves. That’s probably a consequence of playing a lot of close games, and having an excellent closer. (67% of the Royals’ wins have produced a save, which is way ahead of any other team’s ratio.) The Nationals (48-61) rank 10th in saves. At the south end of the rankings, Colorado is next to last in saves, in spite of a 56-52 record. St. Louis (60-48) ranks 24th in total saves. Philly (60-48) ranks 22nd. The saves for each of those three teams are less than 40% of their win totals.

I guess the moral of the story is that it depends on a lot of things, perhaps most importantly the quality of the closer. A top quality closer on a bad team can still amass a very competitive total of saves. And a lesser quality closer isn’t necessarily going to benefit a lot by being on a top team. But there are still anomalies. For example, the Yankees rank only 16th in saves, even though Rivera’s stats (0.91 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, .141 BAA) look as strong as ever. Go figure.

Just a quick heads up for next week. I’ll be “out of office” on Monday and Tuesday, so there will be no blurbs on those days. Back on Wednesday. Enjoy the weekend.

1Mike D
      ID: 20713317
      Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 21:28
Hmmmm. From a rambling surf, to a rambling blurb? I'm seeing a connection. ;)

Interesting stuff. It is unfortunate for the multitude of factors at least from a fantasy perspective. And definitely something I have wondered about before.
2Bond, James Bond
      ID: 04352469
      Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 23:12
Wonder what the percentage is of a team's actual designated closer blowing a lead/game? For example, what is Rivera's as compared to Lidge's?

Also, certainly not all saves go to the closer but even blown saves (whether or not by the closer) can later be given an opportunity to be "re-saved". Basically, though a great closer is seen as the harbinger of an individual stat, for all practical purposes, you still need a decent rotation/bullpen to get to the stud in the first place.
3Mike D
      ID: 20713317
      Sat, Aug 07, 2010, 07:10
True, and I think that's why they invented the "hold" stat. For years there was no way to credit anyone in between.
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