17 November 2014

Interactive 2014 World Series Probability Added Chart Reflects Mad Bum's Dominance


Tom Tango calls Win Probability Added the ultimate "story stat." By combining FanGraphs' WPA and my World Series Projections, I aim to depict and uncover the stories of the 2014 World Series in the same way.

We knew that Madison Bumgarner was absolutely dominant. Did you know exactly how dominant he really was? How about how close the Royals actually came to winning it all (either in Game 7 or overall)? What were the most impactful plays of the Series? How much did your favorite player contribute to the San Francisco Giants winning it all?

Check out the answers to these and other questions in the interactive chart below the jump.

10 November 2014

BBA Awards: Final Tally and Winners

Every season, baseball bloggers across the web vote for their choices in the five award categories delineated by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance: the Connie Mack Award for best managers in each league; the Willie Mays Award for the best rookies; the Goose Gossage Award for best relievers; the Walter Johnson Award for best pitchers and the Stan Musial Award for best overall players. Bloggers in each chapter choose their chapter's votes, and then the votes of each chapter are tallied to determine the final winners. These are the results of those votes.

The Connie Mack Award: Buck Showalter (BAL, AL); Clint Hurdle (PIT, NL)
  • AL Runners-up: Ned Yost (KCR), Mike Scioscia (LAA)
  • NL Runners-up: Bruce Bochy (SFG), Matt Williams (WSN)
  • General Chapter's votes: Buck Showalter, Clint Hurdle
  • My votes: Mike Scioscia, Mike Redmond (MIA, NL)
  • My thoughts
    • I don't take this award too seriously, since I don't think we have a good way of determining manager value as of yet.
    • That said, as a saber-minded Washington Nationals fan, it blows my mind that anyone could think Matt Williams was a good manager this year. He batted Bryce Harper sixth for most of the season. I mean, come on...
    • Mike Redmond received no votes. This surprises me.

The Willie Mays Award: Jose Abreu (CHW, AL); Jacob deGrom (NYM, NL)
  • AL Runners-up: Masahiro Tanaka (NYY), Collin McHugh (HOU)
  • NL Runners-up: Billy Hamilton (CIN), Ender Inciarte (PHI)
  • General Chapter's votes: Jose Abreu, Jacob deGrom
  • My votes: Dellin Betances (NYY, AL), Ken Giles (PHI, NL)
  • My thoughts
    • I totally flubbed the WMA vote, so best to ignore my choices.
    • That said, Ken Giles had a helluva season and deserved more than six votes (out of a possible 108).

The Goose Gossage Award: Dellin Betances (NYY, AL); Craig Kimbrel (ATL, NL)
  • AL Runners-up: Wade Davis (KCR), Greg Holland (KCR)
  • NL Runners-up: Aroldis Champman (CIN), Kenley Jansen (LAD)
  • General Chapter's votes: Wade Davis, Craig Kimbrel
  • My votes: Wade Davis, Mark Melancon (PIT, NL)
  • My thoughts
    • Craig Kimbrel led the NL in saves; he trailed Melancon, Tony Watson (PIT, NL) or Aroldis Chapman in everything else. The only reason for Kimbrel to win this year's NL Goose Gossage Award is an antiquated focus on saves or simple inertia (he won the last three years).
    • That Tony Watson recorded 0 votes and Mark Melancon only seven (out of 117) tells me that most bloggers simply missed the great year the Bucs' pen enjoyed.

The Walter Johnson Award: Corey Kluber (CLE, AL); Clayton Kershaw (LAD, NL)
  • AL Runners-up: Felix Hernandez (SEA), Jon Lester (BOS, OAK), Chris Sale (CHW), David Price (TBR, DET)
  • NL Runners-up: Adam Wainwright (STL), Johnny Cueto (CIN), Jordan Zimmermann (WSN), Cole Hamels (PHI)
  • General Chapter's votes: Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw
  • My votes: Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw
  • My thought: I could have gone either way between King Felix and Kluber. I respect this outcome.

The Stan Musial Award: Mike Trout (LAA, AL); Clayton Kershaw (LAD, NL)
  • AL Runners-up: Michael Brantley (CLE), Jose Bautista (TOR), Corey Kluber (CLE), Victor Martinez (DET), Josh Donaldson (OAK), Jose Abreu (CHW), Felix Hernandez (SEA), Alex Gordon (KCR), Jose Altuve (HOU)
  • NL Runners-up: Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), Jonathan Lucroy (MIL), Anthony Rendon (WSN), Buster Posey (SFG), Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Yasiel Puig (LAD), Johnny Cueto (CIN), Adam Wainwright (STL)
  • General Chapter's votes: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen
  • My votes: Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw
  • My thoughts
    • A pox on my General Chapter colleagues for leaving Kershaw off so many ballots. It's Best Player, not Best Hitter.
    • Look, Jose Altuve's a hell of a lot of fun to watch and a very good player. There's just no way he's the NL's tenth best player. FWIW, FanGraphs ranks him 14th among AL hitters. Throw in pitchers and he drops to #20. Very good, fun to watch, but not top ten.

30 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Royals Fall to Baseball's Newest Dynasty

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

Kauffman Stadium • jimcchouCreative Commons 2.0

In a close series with few close games, we finally got the contest we were waiting for. The game, the Series, the entire season was in question right up until the very last at bat, when a possessed Madison Bumgarner, on two days rest, induced Salvador Perez to pop out with the tying run ninety feet away. The out marked the end of a Cinderella run by the Kansas City Royals, who sneaked into the postseason for the first time in nearly three decades and rode all the way to the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 of the Fall Classic before their carriage reverted to squash form.

That out also marked the coronation of a new dynasty, awarding the Commissioner's Trophy to the San Francisco Giants for the third time in five years, a feat not accomplished since the New York Yankees in 1999 (and, before that, the Oakland A's in 1974).


29 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Royals' Hopes Restored in Paris on the Plains

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

Kauffman Stadium • Justin BrockieCreative Commons 2.0

Game 7: it's one of the most thrilling concepts in sports, when a grueling marathon comes down to one final sprint. It's a pleasure we enjoy tonight, as the World Series is going seven for the first time since, well, 2011, when another team from Missouri surprised the nation. We arrive here thanks to the Kansas City Royals' pounding of the San Francisco Giants in what could otherwise have resulted in a celebration by the Bay.

Not only do the Royals stay alive, they take the initiative as well. At 55%, they are narrow favorites going into the final game, largely due to the setting rather than the talent of the hometown ball club. That's a 29% boost over their previous numbers following Game 5, when they trailed 3-2. According to FanGraphs, the Royals increased their chances of winning Game 6 by a whopping 42.2% in their seven-run bottom of the 2nd. Combined with Rational Pastime's WS% numbers, this implies that the Royals increased their chances of winning the World Series by 22% in that half inning alone.


27 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Giants Push Royals to Brink

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.


Having taken two of three at home, the San Francisco Giants are now one win away from their third World Series title in five years. Yesterday's game was only the third after which Madison Bumgarner & Co. led the World Series Probability standings, and their claim on the top spot represents the third time that the top spot has switched between them and the Kansas City Royals. The Giants lead the Royals even though their position is substantially hamstrung by Kansas City's home field advantage in the remaining games.


26 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: Giant Rebound Yields Brand New Series

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

AT&T Park • Photo credit: Eugene KimCreative Commons 2.0

In the fourth game of this seesaw series, the San Francisco Giants have evened up the Fall Classic 2-2, putting both teams in nearly the same position where they started, probability wise. With three possible games remaining, the Kansas City Royals maintain a slim lead in World Series expectancy, 52-48.


25 October 2014

MLB Postseason Projections 2014: A Royal Coronation?

This post is part of a series tracking the postseason series win probabilities throughout the 2014 MLB Playoffs. Click here to enjoy the full series of posts.

AT&T Park • Photo credit: HarshLightCreative Commons 2.0

Three games into the 2014 World Series, the most likely result is now a victory by the Kansas City Royals. Having lost their first game at home, the San Francisco Giants woke up today 7-3 underdogs. Worse for them, the brief home field advantage that the Boys by the Bay enjoyed has now evaporated; the playing field is level once again. Though the journey is far from over, Kansas City is now decidedly in the driver's seat.