Author Archives: mea

Cubs Status 8/17/2019

After several heart breaking losses it appears the Cubs are tanking.  Since we haven’t done this in 10 days let’s step back from the ledge and look at Cubs status moving forward because the past is water under the bridge.

CHN Team Status

CHN 61 52 11.8 55.8 3.4 20190807
CHN 64 58 8.8 52.9 2.5 20190817

Cubs went 3-6 losing 3 games in the last 10 days which is very bad for a team hoping to make the playoffs let alone one that wants to win it all.  Surprisingly both BAT and PITCH remained relatively stable.  Ian Happ’s funny error is probably the reason for the slight drop in UR which is still decent.  Could be worse.

NL Central 20190817

SLN 64 56 -58.2 77.9 8.5
CHN 64 58 8.8 52.9 2.5
MIL 63 59 -13.2 -12.9 6.5
CIN 57 64 -40.7 44.8 16.5
PIT 51 70 -18.2 -49.0 -19.5

Cubs in second behind St. Louis who have very weak hitting based upon runs scored.  Their pitching is compensating however and the MLB Commish only cares about the W/L columns — not run differential.

CHN  5 year split

20150817 18 -25.7 58.4 -0.3
20160817 33 63.8 128.6 10.0
20170817 6 18.8 39.3 -8.7
20180817 21 38.4 44.8 7.1
20190817 6 8.8 52.9 2.5

This table shows comparison of today’s status with that of the last 4 years.  Team 2019 is now tied with Team 2017 although the trends are reversed.  This means if you’re in “the trend is your friend don’t buck the trend” camp Team 2019 is in trouble.  Team 2017 was trending up right now.   If you’re in the Fangraphs favorite; “regress to the mean” camp then there is hope for Team 2019 and throw cold water on Team 2017.   Since we’re from the future Team 2017 follows trend is your friend through the end of that season.  CUbs fans are hoping for regress to the mean for the next 6 weeks.

CHN Tiers

Type Name_TeamID Tier #
Lineups 0.43
SP Yu_Darvish_CHN 0.21
SP Cole_Hamels_CHN 1.04
SP Kyle_Hendricks_CHN 2.23
SP Jon_Lester_CHN -0.34
SP Jose_Quintana_CHN 0.44
Relief 0.09

This table shows tier numbers for lineups, starters, and relief.  Hendricks and Hamels down from past reports, Quintana and Darvish up, even steven.  Lester pitches today so maybe he can start something.

Lineup is down from earlier in the year.  At 0.09 Relief is actually even steven but that’s because Cubs got Kintzler back and got rid of some negative value.  Ironically Team 2017 relief carried Cubs first half and tanked the second.  Team 2019 Cubs relief has been pretty mediocre all season.

CHN Starters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+048+ 3.78 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN 136.3
+127+ 2.21 Cole_Hamels_CHN 109.7
XXXXX 1.41 Jose_Quintana_CHN 135.7
XXXXX 1.11 Yu_Darvish_CHN 139.0
XXXXX 0.38 Jon_Lester_CHN 128.0
Total 8.89 0.562

Hendricks has been a rock solid pitcher every year for the Cubs since 2016.  Lester has potential to finish strong like he did last season.

CHN Relief

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+124+ 2.23 Brandon_Kintzler_CHN 46.7
XXXXX 1.32 Kyle_Ryan_CHN 46.0
XXXXX 0.84 Tyler_Chatwood_CHN 57.3
XXXXX 0.71 Rowan_Wick_CHN 16.7
XXXXX 0.65 David_Phelps_CHN 22.3
XXXXX 0.15 Duane_Underwood_CHN 3.3
XXXXX -0.63 Pedro_Strop_CHN 29.7
-110- -2.04 Derek_Holland_CHN 75.7
Total 3.23 0.549

This is a completely mediocre relief staff — still — even after blowing several games in the 9th inning.

CHN Hitters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+042+ 3.93 Javier_Baez_CHN SS
+125+ 2.21 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B
+143+ 2.04 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B-RF-LF
XXXXX 0.80 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF
XXXXX 0.80 Ian_Happ_CHN LF
XXXXX 0.08 David_Bote_CHN 3B-2B
XXXXX -0.27 Victor_Caratini_CHN CR
XXXXX -0.73 Tony_Kemp_CHN 2B-LF-CF
XXXXX -0.78 Jason_Heyward_CHN RF-CF
XXXXX -0.82 Addison_Russell_CHN 2B-SS
XXXXX -0.86 Jonathan_Lucroy_CHN CR
XXXXX -1.68 Nicholas_Castellanos_CHN RF-DH
Total 4.72 0.521

Baez having another stellar year but not as good as last season and not MVP worthy yet.  He’s almost exactly where Christian Yelich was on this day last season.

Christian_Yelich_MIL LF-RF-CF

20181001 +005+ 8.40
20180927 +009+ 7.48
20180923 +012+ 6.59
20180919 +011+ 6.24
20180915 +013+ 5.86
20180911 +018+ 5.59
20180907 +016+ 5.69
20180903 +014+ 5.73
20180830 +016+ 5.12
20180826 +030+ 4.12
20180822 +030+ 3.97
20180818 +035+ 3.72

You have to read this from bottom up right now.  Ranks in this model are among both pitchers and batters so being Ranked #5 at the end of 2018 still made him the top ranked NL hitter.  The above shows it was quite a run Yelich had making it very possible for Baez.    Cubs need some players streaking like this now if they want any shot of contending in the playoffs.

Since Castellanos came to CHN with such negative value we’ll be on Castellanos watch for awhile to further demonstrate what these numbers mean and how this model works.  Negative value reflects the past and Castellanos put up negative value for DET and part of the reason why they have a real team WAA of -45.  Whether Castellanos was partly at fault for that or a mere victim of circumstance is unknown to all.  He had a good season last year, decent game stats this year, and is very young.

Player acquisition is a skill few people can do successfully which is why it’s so hard for some teams to break free from the cellar year after year (hello CHA!) even employing highly paid General Managers and staff.  I am not qualified to do that job.  This model merely shows an accurate representation of the past.  If a GM is evaluating an acquisition thinking a player’s past was good or great when that player actually ( Joe Maddon’s word ) sucked, then they are basing their decision on a shaky foundation.

WAA for players in this model can go up as fast as it can go down.  Here’s a progression of Castellanos since the Cubs acquired him.

Nicholas_Castellanos_CHN RF-DH

0801 -068- -2.12
0805 -133- -2.27
0809 XXXXX -1.39
0813 XXXXX -1.53
0817 XXXXX -1.68

He gained let’s say 0.5 WAA in around 2 weeks which is very good.  If you extrapolate that over a 6 month season ( which you shouldn’t ) that’s 12 weeks time 0.5 equals +6 WAA for a season.  This would rank him in the top 25 MLB players by end of season — if he could play like this for 6 months straight — which only 25 out of >1000 MLB players can each season.

Baseball has ebbs and flows that affect players as well as entire teams.  The Catellanos gamble is paying dividends right now.

That is all.  Blast from the past playoff horse races coming next.  Until then.

Cubs Pirates Matchup

Cubs Pirates play again.  Let’s see what the last place team in NL Central has been up to.

PIT Team Status

PIT 45 50 -4.8 -43.9 1.0 20190719
PIT 50 70 -17.3 -50.9 -19.8 20190816

Last 4 week split they went 5-20 losing 15 games.  That is what they call in the industry a collapse.  BAT tanked, PITCH somewhat tanked, and their fielding as represented by UR tanked the most.  At -20 PIT is in wait till next year mode.  Hopefully Cubs get to see more of that horrible UR in the next three games.

CHN PIT 08_16_7:05_PM

WAA Vegas TC Sim EV L S R
CHN 7 0.574 0.597 104 0.50 1.84 -0.79
PIT -20 0.444 0.403 91 0.70 -0.87 -0.72

Both lineups about the same hovering slightly above average.  Cubs have a better starter tonight and both relief squads are terrible.  TC Sim favors Cubs around 60% mostly due to their much better win/loss record.  DeltaWAA between these two teams is +27 in favor of the Cubs and the Cubs really need to sweep this series.

Starters WAA WinPct IP Tier
Kyle_Hendricks_CHN 3.25 0.613 129.3 1.84
Joe_Musgrove_PIT -0.40 0.486 130.0 -0.97

Hendricks had a bad outing and dropped a bit but still far ahead of Musgrove.  Since lineups and relief are around the same for both teams the main advantage for the Cubs comes from better starter and better real team WAA.

PIT Starters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
XXXXX 0.48 Steven_Brault_PIT 70.7
XXXXX -0.27 Joe_Musgrove_PIT 130.0
XXXXX -1.32 Mitch_Keller_PIT 17.0
-160- -1.53 Trevor_Williams_PIT 104.7
-134- -1.70 Chris_Archer_PIT 118.7
Total -4.34 0.456

This is a rather terrible starting rotation that aligns with their PITCH in team status based upon seasonal runs scored against.  PIT relief isn’t much better.

PIT Relief

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+064+ 3.17 Felipe_Vazquez_PIT 47.0
+156+ 1.87 Francisco_Liriano_PIT 56.3
XXXXX 0.88 Michael_Feliz_PIT 41.3
XXXXX 0.55 Keone_Kela_PIT 16.7
XXXXX 0.08 Kyle_Crick_PIT 43.7
XXXXX -1.11 Chris_Stratton_PIT 64.7
-135- -1.70 Clay_Holmes_PIT 33.0
-062- -2.46 Geoff_Hartlieb_PIT 26.0
Total 1.28 TIER=-0.72

Current league average relief staff is +2.86 so this relief staff is under water and  around  Cubs relief in total value.   PIT has a very good reliever in Vazquez and Liriano, who used to start, is also pitching well in the bullpen.  Cubs hitters will need to knock starters out early to get into the bottom of this squad.

PIT Lineup Today

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA
-059- -2.50 Adam_Frazier_PIT 2B 452
+165+ 1.83 Bryan_Reynolds_PIT LF-RF 383
+078+ 2.88 Starling_Marte_PIT CF 495
+014+ 5.98 Josh_Bell_PIT 1B 501
XXXXX 0.78 Colin_Moran_PIT 3B-2B 371
XXXXX -0.48 Melky_Cabrera_PIT RF-LF 319
-143- -1.64 Kevin_Newman_PIT SS-2B 363
XXXXX -0.65 Jacob_Stallings_PIT CR 117
XXXXX 0.00 Joe_Musgrove_PIT none 0
Total 6.20 TIER=0.70

This is tonight’s lineup and it’s quite a mix of hitters that balance out slightly above average with a Tier # of 0.70.  This valuation aligns with their slightly below BAT in team status based upon seasonal runs scored.

That is all for now.  Blast from the Past showing playoff horse races on this day for some notable Cubs seasons like 2003 and 2008 and others coming next.  Until then ….

Cubs Phillies Matchup

Cubs Phillies start another series tonight.  Let’s see what the Phillies have been up to lately.

PHI Team Status

PHI 48 46 -0.2 -22.8 5.8 20190716
PHI 60 58 -19.1 -17.2 1.0 20190813

Phillies went 12-12 the last 4 weeks breaking even.  Their BAT tanked and PITCH improved slightly.  At +2 they’re still in the hunt for a wild card but they’re in 4th place in NL East so probably won’t be able to catch Atlanta.

CHN PHI 08_13_7:05_PM

WAA Vegas TC Sim EV L S R
CHN 10 0.565 0.556 98 1.04 0.04 -1.23
PHI 2 0.455 0.444 98 -0.53 0.10 -0.93

TC Sim and Vegas are in complete agreement with this game.  Lineup value is from the last game each of these two teams played which was 2 days ago.  Tonight’s lineup comes out later and I don’t want to wait.

Cubs  have a slightly better lineup, starters about the same, and both relief staffs kind of stink; both around 1/2 standard deviation below league average based upon current rosters. Cubs are +8 on the Phillies in the win loss columns, the only stat in baseball that matters.

Starters WAA WinPct IP Tier
Jose_Quintana_CHN 0.84 0.529 129.7 0.04
Jason_Vargas_TOT 0.92 0.539 105.7 0.10

Both starters around equal and both around league average according to current rosters.    Not much to  see here.

PHI Starters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+075+ 2.90 Aaron_Nola_PHI 147.3
XXXXX 1.01 Jason_Vargas_PHI 105.7
XXXXX 0.40 Vince_Velasquez_PHI 83.7
XXXXX -0.44 Jake_Arrieta_PHI 135.7
-006- -4.22 Drew_Smyly_PHI 75.0
Total -0.35 0.497

Drew Smyly having a bad year.  Hopefully he has to pitch in this series.  I heard Jake Arrieta might be injured.

PHI Relief

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+195+ 1.55 Jose_Alvarez_PHI 44.7
XXXXX 1.13 Hector_Neris_PHI 48.7
XXXXX 0.73 Mike_Morin_PHI 33.0
XXXXX 0.10 Ranger_Suarez_PHI 27.0
XXXXX 0.10 Blake_Parker_PHI 43.3
XXXXX 0.04 Zach_Eflin_PHI 118.3
XXXXX -0.76 Juan_Nicasio_PHI 42.7
-140- -1.66 Nick_Pivetta_PHI 84.0
Total 1.23 TIER=-0.93

They don’t have any stellar relievers.  This is a below average relief staff but still better than Cubs’ relief.

PHI Lineup 08112019

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA
+118+ 2.23 Bryce_Harper_PHI RF 513
XXXXX 0.34 Rhys_Hoskins_PHI 1B 513
XXXXX -0.17 Jean_Segura_PHI SS 455
+161+ 1.72 J.T._Realmuto_PHI CR 439
XXXXX -0.50 Scott_Kingery_PHI CF-3B-SS-LF 338
XXXXX 0.38 Sean_Rodriguez_PHI BAT 87
-139- -1.78 Cesar_Hernandez_PHI 2B 473
XXXXX 0.00 Jake_Arrieta_PHI none 0
XXXXX -0.67 Roman_Quinn_PHI CF 107
Total 1,55 TIER=-0.53

This is a below average lineup according to current rosters.  As a season progresses bad players move off rosters to be replaced by new guys starting at WAA=0.  This raises league average for all three categories; lineups, relief, and starters.  PHI has a +1.55 WAA but that is currently under water based upon the other 29 teams.  Tier numbers are used in simulation.

That is all for now.  Cubs are at +10 and if they get to +15 by the end of August they’ll have an average of +3 added wins per month which is what playoff contenders should be at.  Playoff horse race posted yesterday shows they’ll be underdogs to win it all this season regardless.  But MLB still makes them play the games so there’s that.

That is all for now.  Need to fix a mistake made yesterday.  Until then ….

Playoff Horse Race Part 7

We did a playoff horse race post nine days ago.  I usually wait two weeks in between these  because team roster value and real team WAA moves at a glacial pace during a season.  Recently I stumbled upon a version of a playoff horse race table and thought it would be fun to see how it fares with this data model and, of course,  WAR.

Below is a screenshot of the ELO playoff horse race table taken 8/12/2019.  Because this ELO table changes daily a mere link will bring you current results not the table we’re comparing against.

Playoff Horse Race ELO


OK.  Not sure what any of those numbers mean.  The above shows the top 15 teams according to Nate Silver’s ELO model.  They provide some kind of probability numbers making it a 70% chance that Dodgers, Astros or Yankees win a World Series.  Since HOU and NYA will battle each other in order to play in a WS, Nate’s model must think either HOU or NYA will easily beat LAN according to conditional probability (which I did roughly in my head).  This doesn’t make sense since they rate Dodgers best team in MLB right now.  Oops.

Playoff Horse Race WAA

TeamID W-L Total Hitters Starters Relief UR
HOU 36 47.5 21.2 18.4 7.9 12.7
LAN 38 41.8 16.7 20.5 4.5 -21.3
NYA 36 29.5 21.1 -1.6 10.0 6.7
MIN 24 29.5 15.2 7.0 7.3 -11.3
ATL 20 29.1 14.7 7.0 7.4 -15.3
CLE 24 23.4 1.1 10.3 12.0 5.7
BOS 4 21.0 23.6 -6.1 3.5 -4.3
WAS 7 16.0 7.0 8.1 0.8 12.7
OAK 16 15.9 2.9 6.2 6.9 17.7
CHN 10 14.3 6.1 8.0 0.2 2.7
NYN 4 12.2 1.3 12.8 -1.8 4.7
SLN 6 11.9 -3.7 4.8 10.8 7.7
TBA 19 10.4 -2.8 5.1 8.1 6.7
MIL 5 9.2 5.8 1.2 2.2 4.7
PHI 2 2.9 2.7 -0.7 0.9 0.7

The above table lists top 15 teams based upon real team wins minus losses (WAA) sorted by Total WAA according to this data model.  Teams in bold brown are division leaders, bold green are wild card leaders.  Hitters, Starters, and Relief are added together to make Total.

UR is in units of runs and represents Unearned runs above or below league average.  This provides some indication of team fielding.  UR is not a factor in Total WAA.  For some reason Dodgers have the worst UR of these 15 teams which could be an Achilles heal for them during playoff season.

Bold blue are leaders in each column, bold red are worst of the top 15 teams.  This was colored manually so there could be mistakes.

This model agrees with ELO making HOU, NYA, and LAN top three in value.  ELO has Atlanta ranked #11, below the Cubs.   This model has them ranked #5.  ELO has Minnesota ranked lower as well.

Both WAA and WAR tables below rely on current rosters.  I heard through the grapevine that Yankees have been suffering from many injuries.  Guys on IL don’t get counted in these tables whereas ELO may count the entire team.  I don’t know.  If NYA gets to full strength that might propel them into a virtual tie with HOU and LAN according to this data model.

Let’s see what WAR has to say about all of this.

Playoff Horse Race WAR

TeamID W-L Total Hitters Starters Relief UR
HOU 36 54.9 32.3 17.0 5.6 13.0
OAK 16 34.4 18.4 10.4 5.6 18.0
BOS 3 33.8 22.0 7.6 4.2 -4.0
NYA 38 33.7 24.1 3.3 6.3 7.0
CLE 25 33.0 17.1 9.0 6.9 6.0
MIN 24 32.5 21.3 7.5 3.7 -11.0
LAN 38 32.1 20.4 11.2 0.5 -21.0
WAS 8 31.8 17.4 11.5 2.9 13.0
ATL 20 29.9 17.3 8.3 4.3 -15.0
CHN 10 28.5 17.3 9.8 1.4 3.0
TBA 20 28.0 17.2 4.5 6.3 6.0
NYN 4 25.0 11.6 12.9 0.5 5.0
SLN 6 23.7 13.8 4.7 5.2 8.0
MIL 5 23.4 16.1 3.5 3.8 5.0
PHI 2 22.3 12.0 6.8 3.5 1.0

Update 8/13/2019:   I accidentally pulled from the wrong dataset so the table posted yesterday used old WAR data.  The above WAR table is updated to use data from today (8/13/2019).   Since baseball moves at a glacial pace the below analysis is still valid even though the numbers are different.  LAN is still middle of the pack even though ELO and WAA ranked them top tier.  According to WAR LAN is tied with NYN for the worst relief staff which is absurd.  Here is their team status:

LAN 79 41 75.9 135.7 -21.0 20190813

PITCH is derived off runs scored against and the above is #1 in MLB.  LAN is by far #1 in MLB with respect to pitching based on the only stat that determines who wins a baseball game — runs.  TBA is second with a PITCH of +103 and WAR has them underrated as well.

End of Update 8/13/2019

NYA and LAN valued very low according to WAR.   Red Sox  rank #2, valued significantly higher than Yankees.  This might be due to injuries.  WAR only has one team in top tier, HOU and they are very far ahead of second place.  The rest of the field is tightly bunched.

According to WAR Atlanta is just ahead of Cubs which aligns more with ELO than this data model.  Unfortunately for HOU, the MLB Commissioner makes teams play each other instead of relying on any of these data models to determine who gets the WS trophy.

That’s all for now.  Cubs play PHI tomorrow so another matchup post to see what the Phillies and Bryce Harper have been up to.  Until then …

Cubs Reds Matchup

Cubs Reds play once again as they did around 3 weeks ago.  Let’s look at this Reds team.

CIN Team Status

CIN 43 50 -51.4 72.0 14.0 20190718
CIN 54 58 -43.1 67.8 14.7 20190808

Reds went 11-8 gaining 3 games in the last three weeks.  BAT improved, PITCH went down a little and UR is top of MLB right now.

CHN CIN 08_08_7:10_PM

WAA Vegas TC Sim EV L S R
CHN 10 0.548 0.639 X 0.64 2.94 -0.84
CIN -4 0.474 0.361 X -2.10 -0.29 -1.96

Vegas has the Cubs with around 55% break even probability which is low compared to TC Sim at around 64%.  Betting recs will not be made until the next iteration of simulation is complete.   Although Cubs lineup took a hit it is still better than Reds along with today’s starter.  For some reason CIN has pretty bad relief which doesn’t jive with their  PITCH based upon seasonal runs scored against.

Starters WAA WinPct IP Tier
Cole_Hamels_CHN 4.09 0.676 104.7 2.94
Alex_Wood_CIN 0.38 0.651 11.3 -0.29

Hamels having a stellar year and almost maxed out at +3 which is 1.5 standard deviations above league average for starters.  Alex Wood must have been injured as he only  pitched 11 1/3 innings so far this season.  He pitched a stellar season in 2017 and pitched an above average 2018.   Bottom line: Alex Wood is a wild card in this game because we don’t know much about him yet this season.

CIN Starters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+006+ 6.40 Luis_Castillo_CIN 137.0
+038+ 3.91 Sonny_Gray_CIN 121.7
+095+ 2.60 Trevor_Bauer_CIN 161.3
XXXXX 1.16 Anthony_DeSclafani_CIN 113.7
XXXXX 0.38 Alex_Wood_CIN 11.3
Total 14.45 0.619

This is a very good starting rotation and the Cubs face their worst starter tonight.  The above does jive with their above average PITCH in team status.

CIN Relief

Rank WAA Name_TeamID IP
+112+ 2.21 Michael_Lorenzen_CIN 59.3
+137+ 1.99 Amir_Garrett_CIN 43.7
XXXXX 0.71 Raisel_Iglesias_CIN 49.3
XXXXX 0.27 Jared_Hughes_CIN 43.3
XXXXX -0.06 Robert_Stephenson_CIN 46.0
XXXXX -0.25 Lucas_Sims_CIN 21.0
-048- -2.50 David_Hernandez_CIN 41.0
-024- -3.28 Kevin_Gausman_CIN 80.0
Total -0.91 TIER=-1.96

The above is an under water relief staff worse than the Cubs.  Reds could have above average relievers on IL.  This model does not keep track of that nor does it matter for tonight’s game.

CIN Lineup Today

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA
XXXXX -0.76 Nick_Senzel_CIN CF 318
-043- -2.60 Joey_Votto_CIN 1B 456
XXXXX 1.05 Eugenio_Suarez_CIN 3B 469
XXXXX 0.59 Aristides_Aquino_CIN BAT 17
XXXXX -0.88 Jose_Iglesias_CIN SS 373
XXXXX 0.00 Phillip_Ervin_CIN none 0
-105- -1.83 Jose_Peraza_CIN 2B-SS-LF 300
XXXXX 0.48 Kyle_Farmer_CIN 2B-1B 133
XXXXX -0.13 Alex_Wood_CIN BAT 5
Total -4.08 TIER=-2.10

It looks like we have today’s lineup for the game tonight.  This lineup is under water which matches their under water BAT in team status.  Joey Votto having a bad season according to this model.  Owners of Draft Kings teams have seen Votto recover much value important for their success from earlier in the season however so they’re happy.

That’s all for now.  This is a four game series.    Until then ….