Comments on: Maximum Likelihood Teams of the 2000s http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6 By: Andy http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10830 Fri, 22 Jan 2010 14:28:58 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10830 Good points Tom. I admitted in my original comment that I was contradicting myself about strength of the leagues. It's a rich question that I sure don't know the answer to.

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By: Tomepp http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10823 Thu, 21 Jan 2010 16:20:25 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10823 Andy: the main reason a pitcher with a 3.00 ERA in the AL is always better than a pitcher with a 3.00 ERA in the NL (post-1973) is that the AL pitcher has to face a DH, while the NL pitcher gets an "easy out" (either the opposing pitcher or a pinch hitter – usually someone not good enough to be in the starting lineup to begin with). Any variance due to strength of league/division pales in comparison. While the AL pitcher may occasionally face a stronger lineup (sans DH) than his NL counterpart, he will always be facing the extra hitter in the DH (except those few interleague games in an NL park, but we’ll ignore those for the moment).

Whether a .300 hitter in the AL is better than a .300 hitter in the NL will depend instead on the relative strength of the league/division pitching. (There’s no such thing as a “Designated Pitcher”, though a LOOGY might come close…) By your own comments, you speculated that the NL got better pitching due to natural migration away from the “hitter-friendly league” of the AL. Shouldn’t that mean that a .300 NL hitter is better than a .300 AL hitter, not vice-versa?

Also, when you say that the offense in both leagues is fairly close, how are you measuring that? If runs/game is the standard, then doesn’t that mean that the offense in the NL is actually better than in the AL, because runs produced in NL games is (typically) generated among 8 players while runs produced in AL games is generated among 9 players?

I find this thread fascinating, and I’d like to explore how other SOS measurements rank the teams. I also agree with Cubbies, that using only the last 5 years (I’d even argue for only 3 to 4 years) is more relevant for evaluating the current franchises’ prospects.

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By: Andy http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10806 Wed, 20 Jan 2010 15:50:54 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10806 In terms of league dominance, my sense (not at all backed up by actual evidence as I have not researched it) is that when the Steroids Era hit and offense went up significantly, it went up even more in the AL due to the presence of the DH. Then, I think that pitchers wanted to go to the NL where it was easier to pitch. The better pitchers, those who had more leverage in free-agency, were able to do so. The hitters wanted to go to the AL where it seemed easier to hit homers, and again the better ones were able to do so. So then NL got better pitching talent and worse hitting talent. The numbers got more stilted favoring offense in the AL. The effect then multiplied by making pitchers want to go to the NL even more and hitters go to the AL more.

This is an oversimplification because offense alone does not make a league better. But I would argue that with offense between the two leagues now fairly close, it means that the hitters and pitchers are both better in the AL. Whereas I am arguing above that the better pitchers flocked to the NL, it seems that overall their talent level has fallen off over the last 15 years. A starter with a 3.00 ERA in the AL is a better pitcher than one with a 3.00 ERA in the NL because the offensive talent is superior in the AL. A .300 hitter in the AL is a better hitter than a .300 hitter in the NL because the pitching talent in the AL is superior.

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By: Neil Paine http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10772 Tue, 19 Jan 2010 16:15:28 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10772 Well, Baltimore and Tampa did rank ahead of Cincinnati despite the Reds' WPct being a good 30-35 points higher, which tells you something about the quality of the competition they faced. But like Johnny said, when you lose as much as they did for the majority of the decade, that great SOS can only help you so much. Besides, NY and Boston only made up 22% of their total games for the decade:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/games/head2head.cgi?teams=TBD&from=2000&to=2009&submit=Submit

They still went 565-694 (the equivalent of 73-89 in a 162-G season) against everybody else.

As far as the AL West being weak goes, I certainly don't believe it, but I've gotten the impression over the years that people felt it was easy to win, that Anaheim was winning it "by default" in recent seasons... But maybe it's just me, being a Red Sox fan (and naturally looking down on the Angels' accomplishments -- until last year, that is), because Googling "weak al west" returns fewer hits than "weak nl east", "weak nl central", "weak nl west", and "weak al central". So by the "Google test" I made up just now, the AL West is actually the 2nd-best (least-weak?) division in baseball behind the AL East. For whatever that's worth.

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By: JohnnyTwisto http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10767 Tue, 19 Jan 2010 06:16:46 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10767 But they lost over 90 games every season until the last two years. Doesn't matter who they were playing, they stunk.

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By: Devon http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10766 Tue, 19 Jan 2010 05:57:35 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10766 This is pretty fascinating, but I found myself thinkin the same as Djibouti... who says the AL West is weak? I think of the central divisions as weak, and I regularly read/hear that view from others too. I also wonder how the Devil Rays didn't rank higher, being they regularly faced some very very strong opponents in the Yankees & Red Sox. Maybe I'm missing something about that, or maybe they just didn't play NY or Boston as much as I think.

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By: Djibouti http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10762 Mon, 18 Jan 2010 22:16:35 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10762 "Most people consider the AL West a weak division whose winner usually takes the crown by default"

Really? For most of the last 10 years I, and a lot of people I talked to, considered the AL West to be the most competitive from top to bottom. You could make a good argument though that they wasted the most talent. All 4 teams end the aughts above 0 in MLE, and they only have 1 pennant to show for it.

Now the AL Central, there's a weak division, and the numbers don't tell the story. The Twins were consistently good throughout the 00's, with 2000 being the only year they had less than 79 wins. The Royals were consistently bad, with 2003 being the only year they were above .500 at 83-79. But the other 3 teams were all over the place. Year in and year out, the crown was a battle between the Twins and whichever other team happened to catch fire. In 6 of the last 10 years, only two teams in the AL Central finished at .500 or above. In 3 of the remaining years the third team was 83-79 (kind of a weird statistical aberration). In '06 they had three teams above 90 wins, and I'm going to have to declare that year a fluke.
So while the AL Central may have averaged out to be more powerful than the NL East, if you look at it on a year-by-year basis, the NL East probably had a better decade.

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By: cubbies http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10760 Mon, 18 Jan 2010 21:05:38 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10760 can you run this search again using the last 5 years? i feel like that would be more interesting/ relevant to the clubs of today. for example, i hate putting the 2000 cubs in the same group as the 2009 cubs, as none of the 2000 players were still on the team in '09, and going back a couple years (i dont know how many) the only remaining player was kerry wood.
also, i would enjoy seeing the cubs jump up in rank when only the last 5 years are counted.

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By: Stat Of The Day: Yanks Team Of The Decade http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/4248/comment-page-1#comment-10745 Mon, 18 Jan 2010 15:46:24 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=4248#comment-10745 [...] Paine, over at B-R Blog & Stat of the Day, takes a look at “Maximum Likelihood Teams of the 2000s.” Doing some heavy math, Neil makes a case for the Yankees being ‘the team of the last [...]

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