The Playoff Season Part 2

Stats in the playoff season are counted separately from the regular season.  In analyzing the playoff season we treat the entire set of games, from 1903 – 2016 as a single season.   According to our dataset there have been 1509 playoff games.  A current regular season has 162 * 30 / 2 = 2430 games.  The playoff dataset right now represents a little more than half a regular season.

In 2017 there currently are 1359 unique players who made an appearance on an MLB team.  The playoff dataset lists 3997 players over the 113 year timespan which is almost 3X that of a regular season.  Value will be reduced due to less games played and more dispersed due to more players.

That said, let’s look at the top 15 MLB players in the playoff season.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 9.30 Mariano_Rivera_NYA PITCH
+002+ 6.17 Christy_Mathewson_SFN PITCH
+003+ 5.46 Bernie_Williams_NYA RF-DH-CF
+004+ 4.89 Manny_Ramirez_TOT LF
+005+ 4.62 Albert_Pujols_TOT 1B-DH
+006+ 4.37 John_Smoltz_TOT PITCH
+007+ 4.18 David_Ortiz_TOT DH
+008+ 4.05 Curt_Schilling_TOT PITCH
+009+ 4.01 Carlos_Beltran_TOT DH
+010+ 3.78 Babe_Ruth_TOT OF-RF-LF
+011+ 3.61 Lance_Berkman_TOT RF-1B-LF
+012+ 3.61 Lou_Gehrig_NYA 1B
+013+ 3.44 Sandy_Koufax_LAN PITCH
+014+ 3.38 Madison_Bumgarner_SFN PITCH
+015+ 3.32 Waite_Hoyt_TOT PITCH

Mariano Rivera tops the list with a huge lead over second place Christy Mathewson who played for the NY Giants, now the San Francisco Giants.  Unfortunate for guys like Mathewson, Ruth, and Gehrig there was only a single 7 game World Series for their playoff season and that was that.  The modern playoff season is a possible 1 + 5 + 7 + 7 = 20 games/year.

Here are Rivera and Mathewson’s full lines to provide perspective on the above ranking.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 9.30 141.0 0.70 0 97 Mariano_Rivera_NYA PITCH
+002+ 6.17 103.0 0.96 11 1 Christy_Mathewson_SFN PITCH

Each had sub 1.00 ERAs.  Rivera pitched a whopping 141 innings over 97 games in his playoff season.    This means Yankee managers pitched him more than one inning per game because he was so dominant and making outs wins World Series — which the Yankees won a lot.  This could explain the reasoning behind Joe Maddon’s use of Aroldis Chapman last year.   Mathewson was a starter who pitched lights out.  Each of those 11 games he started were probably complete games.  These two are the current standard bearers for the playoff season.

Let’s look at the current Cubs team status for the playoff season.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
-22.9 -35.6 409 476 43 66 X X CHN

Both BAT and PITCH underwater and the Cubs haven’t been doing so well these last 113 years have they?  Fortunately the commissioner of MLB doesn’t care about those wins and losses because they’re all truly water under the bridge.  All that matters now are the games about to be played.

Let’s look at the top Cubs in the playoff season.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+023+ 2.79 Jon_Lester_TOT PITCH
+034+ 2.33 Orval_Overall_CHN PITCH
+097+ 1.60 Hippo_Vaughn_CHN PITCH
+158+ 1.24 Lefty_Tyler_TOT PITCH
XXXXX 0.99 Mordecai_Brown_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.90 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN BAT
XXXXX 0.90 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.67 Mark_Prior_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.59 Ed_Reulbach_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.57 Ryne_Sandberg_CHN 2B

The value for Lester above is TOT which means all his teams, BOS, OAK, and now CHN.  He’s ranked #23 which means he has been very good in the playoff season — especially since the playoff season has the best of the the best players playing.   The above shows Schwarber and Hendricks were dominant last year throughout the playoffs.  They will have a chance to move into the top 200 of the playoff season this year.

Now let’s look at the NL version of perennial playoff contenders and the Cubs historical rival, the St. Louis Cardinals.  Here is their team status.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
22.6 12.2 978 953 130 117 X X SLN

Cardinals above water with BAT and PITCH and they have a winning playoff record since 1903.  Here are their top players.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+005+ 4.62 Albert_Pujols_TOT 1B-DH
+009+ 4.01 Carlos_Beltran_TOT DH
+011+ 3.61 Lance_Berkman_TOT RF-1B-LF
+017+ 3.11 Bob_Gibson_SLN PITCH
+032+ 2.35 Jim_Edmonds_TOT CF
+051+ 2.06 Harry_Brecheen_SLN PITCH
+058+ 2.02 Bill_Hallahan_SLN PITCH
+073+ 1.83 Matt_Holliday_TOT LF
+078+ 1.72 Trevor_Rosenthal_SLN PITCH
+105+ 1.57 David_Freese_TOT 3B
+106+ 1.55 Jesse_Haines_SLN PITCH
+115+ 1.49 Ken_Dayley_SLN PITCH
+137+ 1.34 Max_Lanier_SLN PITCH
+139+ 1.34 Chris_Carpenter_SLN PITCH
+198+ 1.07 Lou_Brock_SLN LF
XXXXX 1.03 Adam_Wainwright_SLN PITCH
XXXXX 1.03 Pepper_Martin_SLN 3B

TOT records show the sum of value for all teams they played for, not just the Cardinals.  Cardinals have a lot of guys in the top 200 which should be expected for a team that plays so often in that season.   This year they’ll be watching  the playoff season unfold on TV like the rest of us.

That is all for now.   Cubs don’t play in the NLDS until Friday Oct. 6 so there is a lot of downtime.  We’ll have Cubs season wrap up and then playoff horse race using the tight playoff rosters.  We’ll handicap both Wild Card games on Tuesday and Wednesday, all Cubs games,  and many more.  Handicapping in the playoff season will be different than the regular season and we’ll show why.  Until then….