Cubs Status 6/2/2018

We’re now 2 months into a 6 month baseball season.  Let’s look at Cubs Status as of today according to this data model.

24.9 38.1 238 176 25 21 -2.2 1.2 CHN 5/24/2018
33.3 50.3 284 199 31 23 -0.1 1.5 CHN  6/2/2018

Both BAT and PITCH up again since  last report and the Cubs are now +8 in the win/loss columns.  According to the Pythagorean Expectation estimation using run differential, the Cubs should be +16.  This means their run distribution is funny.  They’re winning blowouts and losing close games.  Unfortunately the MLB Commissioner only cares about the W and L columns.  This usually levels out as the season progresses with more data.

Note:  UR has leveled out to almost even steven.  This means the Cubs aren’t making errors that give up runs like they did in April of this year.

Although we may be able to argue reasons and  whatabouts as to why this team  under performs PE, these opinions should not be injected into mathematics of baseball.   Cubs players as a team will add to their PE estimate.  This valuation system is the foundation for everything done here — most importantly the handicapping model.  To inject bias based upon faulty assumptions, which is common on sites like Fangraphs, will introduce error into our valuations, that can break the handicapping model.

WAR has a myriad of biases from all different sources that cause its valuation to often go sideways and it’s the reason WAR does not have additive properties.  In order for us to evaluate Lineups and Relief we need a value system with proven additive properties.

For now Cubs players are going to look good.  Let’s see how they stack up with the rest of the league.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos  WAR Rank
+015+ 2.90 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B-SS  +079+
+033+ 2.23 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH  +157+
+073+ 1.64 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH  +173+
+077+ 1.60 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B  XXXXX
+087+ 1.51 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF
+089+ 1.49 Steve_Cishek_CHN PITCH  XXXXX
+090+ 1.49 Brandon_Morrow_CHN PITCH
+132+ 1.13 Pedro_Strop_CHN PITCH
+184+ 0.90 Brian_Duensing_CHN PITCH
+188+ 0.88 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B  +038+
+200+ 0.82 Ben_Zobrist_CHN RF-LF-2B  +093+
XXXXX 0.78 Carl_Edwards_CHN PITCH

Lots of guys in the top 100 and 200.  Right now it’s too early in the season to care about divisional standings.  Listed above shows a pretty solid group of players heading into the final 2/3 of this season.  The last column is how WAR ranks some of these players.  I had to copy/paste this manually so just included some of the most egregious differences.   We have shown in the past how WAR frequently goes off the rails and the above shows some more instances of this.  The reason the Cubs are +8 with that huge positive run differential isn’t because Anthony Rizzo has a 0.6 WAR.  Enough of that for now.  Let’s look at Tiers.

CHN Tiers

Type Tier Name_Teamid WAA
Lineups 1 CHN 6.87
SP 3 Tyler_Chatwood_CHN 0.25
SP 2 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN 1.64
SP 1 Jon_Lester_CHN 2.23
SP 3 Jose_Quintana_CHN -0.08
RP 1 CHN 6.13

Cubs have a Tier 1 Relief Squad (RP) , Lineup and a pretty good set of starting pitching (SP).  Quintana and Chatwood are hanging in there and if Darvish comes back pitching to his career numbers the Cubs should be in good shape.  Let’s give a shout out to relief.

CHN Relief

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+089+ 1.49 Steve_Cishek_CHN PITCH
+090+ 1.49 Brandon_Morrow_CHN PITCH
+132+ 1.13 Pedro_Strop_CHN PITCH
+184+ 0.90 Brian_Duensing_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.73 Justin_Wilson_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.69 Randy_Rosario_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.17 Cory_Mazzoni_CHN PITCH
XXXXX -0.08 Mike_Montgomery_CHN PITCH
XXXXX -0.40 Luke_Farrell_CHN PITCH
Total 6.12

That’s a Tier 1 relief squad.  Maddon values relief which carried the Cubs the first half of last season which kept them in contention to make the playoffs.  Speaking of last season, let’s look at team status on this day June 2, from some notable Cubs teams.

Blast from the Past

8.5 -2.2 161 154 18 17 -1.0 1.7 CHN 6/2/1945
47.5 37.5 242 151 33 16 4.1 1.9 CHN 6/2/1969
47.0 -4.7 252 209 28 21 1.0 -0.4 CHN 6/2/1984
-4.8 39.5 259 233 30 25 -7.7 -1.0 CHN 6/2/2003
66.4 23.3 331 238 37 21 -0.5 3.8 CHN 6/2/2008
-13.5 15.6 202 203 27 23 -2.1 -0.9 CHN 6/2/2015
48.5 79.7 284 150 37 15 5.3 1.5 CHN 6/2/2016
-6.5 11.2 243 242 26 27 -6.7 3.0 CHN 6/2/2017

That is all for now.  The above can be done for any team.   The simulation code works, the historical dataset looks clean,  and the first test made the Cubs a betting opportunity yesterday.   Now working on plumbing to hook everything together so hopefully by next series there will be some interesting things to show.  The Ouija Board is expanding!

The next step will be writing code to run the handicapping model against 7 years of historical vegas lines.  Until then ….