Team Strength 2013 Pitching

This post will switch PITCH and BAT columns and sort based on teams that gave up the least amount of runs against to the teams that gave up the most according to this formula:

PITCH(RAA) = R(League Team Average) – RA(Team)

PITCH BAT R RA W L UR LR Team Name
126 14 688 548 96 66 14.1 -0.4 ATL
97 -40 634 577 94 68 6.1 -0.9 PIT
92 -25 649 582 92 70 -7.9 -0.9 LAN
85 24 698 589 90 72 15.1 0.6 CIN
78 109 783 596 97 65 9.1 2.6 SLN
73 -26 648 601 86 76 4.1 -2.4 KCA

Nothing surprising about the above sort. Atlanta had great pitching, well above average fielding with respect to UR, but lacked batting. They still won 96 games in the regular season. Unlike portrayed by WAR in the previous post, Pittsburgh’s strength lied in their pitching for 2013 and not their batting. They’re only slightly above average with respect to giving up unearned runs. Of course the Dodgers with all that pitching had to be near the top of the league and clearly they are according to the above table.

Let’s take a look at a WAR sort base on pitching. Source for WAR data at baseball-reference.com.

Top pitching teams according to WAR

Rank WAR BAT PITCH R RA W L UR LR Team Name
1 28.9 122 50 796 624 93 69 13.1 -1.9 DET
2 23.1 -76 -49 598 723 63 99 -29.9 -4.4 CHA
3 22.6 14 126 688 548 96 66 14.1 -0.4 ATL
4 22.2 24 85 698 589 90 72 15.1 0.6 CIN
5 21.5 109 78 783 596 97 65 9.1 2.6 SLN
6 20.2 54 43 728 631 91 71 4.1 3.1 TEX

Somehow Detroit topped the league by a significant WAR margin while giving up 50 less runs against than the league average, far less than Atlanta, the team that gave up the fewest runs.  Surprisingly the Chicago White Sox come in second according to WAR while giving up almost 50 runs above the league average.  Clearly this is a problem with WAR at a team level.  There is no way the White Sox had the second best pitching staff in MLB for 2013.  The other 4 in the above list seem OK.

Below are three teams not included in WAR’s top 6 list.  Notice how Pittsburgh is ranked bottom tier in pitching while their staff let up almost 100 runs fewer than league average or about twice as many as the top ranked Detroit Tigers.  Clearly this is another major error in the calculation of WAR.

Rank WAR BAT PITCH R RA W L UR LR Team Name
11 16.3 -25 92 649 582 92 70 -7.9 -0.9 LAN
13 15.1 -26 73 648 601 86 76 4.1 -2.4 KCA
18 13.1 -40 97 634 577 94 68 6.1 -0.9 PIT

Many of the above obvious errors are easier to see at a team level than at a player level. Now that we know major errors exist in how WAR ranks pitchers and batters, let’s delve down to the player level in the next set of posts.