Cubs Cardinals Matchup

Cubs Cardinals play once again as they do often every season.  Let’s see what the Cards have been up to these last 6 weeks.

SLN Team Status

SLN 37 34 -11.1 21.4 3.5 20190618
SLN 56 49 -34.9 43.3 7.7 20190730

In the last 6 weeks Cardinals went 19-15 gaining 4 games going from +3 to +7 in real team WAA.  BAT tanked and PITCH compensated so the added 4 games are due to pitching according to seasonal run differential.

In the past these matchup posts only focused on the opposing team.  Cubs status posts cover Cubs’ roster value but team status records show trends which may be beneficial.  Let’s look at the Cubs’ trajectory.

CHN Team Status

CHN 39 32 22.4 40.4 -0.5 20190618
CHN 56 49 18.1 52.3 1..7 20190730

Cubs went 17-17, even steven for a real team WAA of +7, tied with SLN.  BAT down a little but PITCH up a lot.

Cubs are under performing based upon run differential according to Pythagorean Expectation.  Cardinals are over performing.  The MLB commissioner only cares about the W and L columns however just like he only cares about the R column in the RHE line score  when determining who wins a game.

As explained here, Pythagorean Expectation is an estimate of wins and losses using run differential.   The estimate has some error.  Reality does not have to “revert to the estimate” as explained on sites like Fangraphs.  If you flip a coin and throw 4 heads in a row, the probability of the next throw being heads is exactly the same as the probability of the first throw.  If you flip a coin an infinite number of times we know it regresses to 50/50.

The number of games in a baseball season is far from infinite.  People often fly home from Vegas after winning lots of money.  That’s not because they had an edge on the house from their novel betting strategy.  It’s because they weren’t playing enough to get into long term where the house edge always kicks in.

Let’s look at today’s game records.

CHN SLN 07_30_8:15_PM

WAA Vegas TC Sim EV L S R
CHN 7 0.545 0.524 96 1.31 -0.65 -0.90
SLN 7 0.476 0.476 100 -1.05 -0.78 1.84

Cubs Cardinals tied at +7 WAA.  Vegas and Tier Combo simulation in complete agreement so discard both lines.  Cubs have better Lineup.  Starters about the same.  Cards have better relief.  Cubs relief is currently very under water.

Starters WAA WinPct IP Tier
Yu_Darvish_CHN -0.06 0.498 115.0 -0.65
Adam_Wainwright_SLN -0.15 0.491 103.0 -0.78

Darvish and Wainright both having around an average season based upon seasonal numbers.  Based upon current rosters both are under water with negative tier numbers.  Both are veterans who used to dominate the league.

SLN Starters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+141+ 1.83 Dakota_Hudson_SLN 113.7
XXXXX 1.07 Miles_Mikolas_SLN 120.3
XXXXX 1.05 Jack_Flaherty_SLN 114.3
XXXXX 0.78 Daniel_Ponce_de_Leon_SLN 40.7
XXXXX -0.15 Adam_Wainwright_SLN 103.0
Total 4.58 0.542

This is a capable starting rotation.  Tiering for starters is done on an individual basis, not as a group right now.

SLN Relief

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+068+ 2.73 Giovanny_Gallegos_SLN 49.3
+119+ 2.08 John_Gant_SLN 51.0
+152+ 1.74 John_Brebbia_SLN 53.7
XXXXX 0.82 Andrew_Miller_SLN 35.3
XXXXX 0.61 Carlos_Martinez_SLN 27.3
XXXXX 0.50 Tyler_Webb_SLN 34.3
XXXXX -0.69 Mike_Mayers_SLN 11.3
XXXXX -1.16 Michael_Wacha_SLN 85.7
Total 6.63 TIER=1.84

Tier numbers have now replaced WinPct as they provide better context to Total WAA.  This is a very good relief staff almost 1 complete standard deviation above league average according to current rosters.  Three guys in top 100 and it looks like Andrew Miller is climbing back into the ranks.

SLN Lineup 7/28/2019

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA
XXXXX 0.40 Tommy_Edman_SLN 3B-2B 112
XXXXX -0.15 Jose_Martinez_SLN RF 312
XXXXX 1.22 Paul_Goldschmidt_SLN 1B 440
XXXXX -0.15 Tyler_O’Neill_SLN LF 125
XXXXX 0.86 Paul_DeJong_SLN SS 437
XXXXX 0.02 Matt_Wieters_SLN CR 127
-116- -1.49 Harrison_Bader_SLN CF 256
-120- -1.57 Kolten_Wong_SLN 2B 374
XXXXX 0.00 Dakota_Hudson_SLN none 0
Total -0.86 TIER=-1.05

The above lineup was taken from the last game played since we won’t have current lineups until late.  According to BAT derived from run differential the Cardinals have below average BAT and their last lineup confirms that.  Teams can still win games without much hitting if their pitchers don’t give up runs.

Often WAR disputes this model or vice versa depending upon perspective.  Kolten Wong is an interesting outlier who currently ranks #69 in WAR’s top 100.  At -120- He’s ranked in the bottom 200 according to this data model.

In 2012, ranked #39 in MLB according to WAR, Darwin Barney was the impetus that started this data model in 2013.  Let’s look at WAR records for these two players.

Rank WAR oWAR dWAR Name_TeamID Pos
+039+ 4.8 1.5 3.6 Darwin_Barney_CHN 2B 2012
+069+ 2.8 2.0 1.1 Kolten_Wong_SLN 2B 2019

This model does not count defense because it can’t, not that it’s not important.  There is way too much bias going into the way Sabremetrics calculates defense as well as offense.    WAA is calculated through counting actual runs that scored.  Runs that didn’t score but should have and runs that scored that shouldn’t have are not counted by anyone.    If you want to say Kolten Wong is better than his #120 rank in the bottom 200 you’re right just looking at his dWAR above.  No way can he possibly overcome that deficit to rank in top 200 let alone top 100.  WAR is wrong here.

dWAR seems to get it right for the best and worst players.  The above shows Darwin Barney was top of the league at defense as well as Wong.  Below are long form records for these two players according to this data model.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
-126- -1.87 0.254 0.299 588 44 73 Darwin_Barney_CHN 2B 2012
-120- -1.64 0.259 0.343 378 40 40 Kolten_Wong_SLN 2B 2019

This model had Barney ranked around where Wong is now.  In 2012 the Cubs went 61-101 with a real team WAA of -40.  Those 40 games didn’t lose themselves.  The players did and according to the math in this model Darwin Barney is responsible for 1.87 of those losses.  His defensive capability may move him up in rank somewhat but in no way could it ever be enough to overcome his hitting deficit.  Only catchers have that capability.

That is all for now.  End of month 4 playoff horse race and Cubs status coming soon.  Until then ….