Category Archives: Matchups

Cubs Rockies Matchup

We usually do these on the first game of a series.  I was going to skip this series since we don’t have enough data to properly rank players.  The lines today and yesterday are kind of interesting however which is the nexus for this post.

Here’s what the Ouija Board says about today.

DATE 04_21 8:10_PM CHN COL
LINEAWAY CHN [ 0.556 ] < 0.574 >
LINEHOME COL [ 0.488 ] < 0.444 >
CHN 9 8 COL 11 10

Both teams have approximately the same record so the DeltaWAA is  0 making this an even steven game based on win/loss records.  Darvish has a  2015-2017 career split of +4 as shown here earlier.  Here is Anderson’s career.

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2016 1.8 Tyler_Anderson_COL PITCH +187+
2017 -0.9 Tyler_Anderson_COL PITCH XXXXX
Total 0.9

OK.  Based on career of starters CHN has an advantage.  Here is a rundown of COL BAT based on that three year career split.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+002+ 25.1 Nolan_Arenado_COL IF
+020+ 12.2 Charlie_Blackmon_COL OF
+039+ 10.0 Carlos_Gonzalez_COL OF
+082+ 6.6 Trevor_Story_COL IF
+188+ 3.3 DJ_LeMahieu_COL IF
+XXXXX+ 2.8 Gerardo_Parra_COL OF
+XXXXX+ 2.5 Ian_Desmond_COL IF
+XXXXX+ 2.4 Pat_Valaika_COL IF
+XXXXX+ -0.3 Ryan_McMahon_COL IF
+XXXXX+ -0.4 Mike_Tauchman_COL OF
+XXXXX+ -1.3 Tony_Wolters_COL C
+XXXXX+ -3.4 Chris_Iannetta_COL C
Total 59.5

The above is based on around opening day roster but should be close. COL has around +60 and CHN is around +50.  Both teams have around the same value relief pitching as well.

Currently the Cubs line requires the Cubs having greater than 57.4% probability of winning, COL   44.4%.   Here is the line yesterday on 4/20.

DATE 04_20 8:40_PM CHN COL
LINEAWAY CHN [ 0.535 ] < 0.512 >
LINEHOME COL [ 0.512 ] < 0.512 >
CHN 8 8 COL 11 9

This is as even steven as betting lines get.  Each team is equal with a probability of 51.2%.  We aren’t ready to look at current year data but with the three year split Hendricks (+13.1) is far superior to Gray (-1.1).  Eyeballing this Hendricks would be considered Tier 1, Gray perhaps Tier 4.  With the hitting and relief about the same CHN should have had a clear advantage yet they have that advantage today with the market instead.

The market on the opening game of this series didn’t know what was going to happen.  Hendricks pitching in the thin air of Colorado would have more issues than a normal pitcher because the balls don’t break as much.  He did get shelled for 3 runs the first inning but recovered after that.

The DeltaWAA expected probability made yesterday’s game an even steven match.  Hendricks would have moved the needle in favor of the Cubs as well as the lineup/starter/relief combos.  Would it have moved it to 58.2% in favor of the Cubs?  Can’t tell.  We can only look at career data for April games and don’t have that modeled.   Next month we’ll have better numbers to analyze.

That is all for now.  The next part to the career series coming and a multi-part series to explain OPS and why it’s such deceptive stat.  Until then….


Cubs Cardinals Matchup

45F is way too cold to play baseball but apparently they’ll try and get this game over with today after two postponed games.  We’re almost at the point in the season where we can do team status but let’s skip that for now.  We’ll focus on current SLN players the Cubs will face for the rest of the season.

First let’s look at what the Ouija Board says:

DATE 04_19 2:20_PM SLN CHN
LINEAWAY SLN [ 0.505 ] < 0.481 >
LINEHOME CHN [ 0.519 ] < 0.541 >
SLN 10 7 CHN 7 8

The Cards are 10-7, Cubs 7-8, and the DeltaWAA is +4 in favor of the Cardinals.  Per our lookup table this gives SLN a  54.2% advantage today with no other information.  The Cubs have one of their best starters pitching and the Cardinals have a relatively new guy who pitched 60 innings last season.  The above shows the betting market may have soured on the Cubs a bit as Lester usually commands 60% + for home games.  We’ll have better trajectories on this as the season progresses this year.

A DeltaWAA of 0.542 almost makes SLN a betting opportunity today being at 0.481.  We need a margin of at least 0.07 so it doesn’t quite cut it plus we don’t have a firm grasp of  how these players are performing this season.  That information is needed to push the DeltaWAA needle in either direction.  Player rankings can start around May 7.

Let’s drill down into the Cardinals’ opening day roster and check out the last 3 year career splits.  According to the table we posted a few days ago, SLN is middle of the pack of 30 teams.  Here are their total numbers.

TeamID Hitters Pitchers Starters Relief Total W-L
SLN 15.2 4.1 8.7 -4.6 19.3 0

The Cardinals are infamous for rotating new guys from their farm system and then dominating the league.  They are perennial contenders because of this.  See this post written here during the 2013 playoffs.

Career numbers don’t tell you the potential of the new guys.  New guys start at zero.  They add nothing to the Total and subtract nothing to the Total.  Everyone starts at zero.  These career numbers show strength teams have in veterans and newly established players.

That said, let’s get to it and look at the Cards’ opening day roster.

April 2018 SLN Starters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+021+ 12.2 Carlos_Martinez_SLN SP
+XXXXX+ 0.0 Michael_Wacha_SLN SP
+XXXXX+ -0.7 Luke_Weaver_SLN SP
+XXXXX+ -2.8 Adam_Wainwright_SLN SP
Total 8.7

Again, these are 2015-2017 career splits *not* total career value. What have you done for me lately. I keep panicking thinking there is a bug in the code scanning these results but they are correct. Wainwright has a very high positive total career value. He just had a bad run these last 3 years as well as Wacha. Michael Wacha was MVP of NLCS in 2013, when we first started doing all of this.

April 2018 SLN Relievers

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+XXXXX+ 3.0 Tyler_Lyons_SLN RP
+XXXXX+ 1.7 Sam_Tuivailala_SLN RP
+XXXXX+ 1.6 Matthew_Bowman_SLN RP
+XXXXX+ 0.4 Ryan_Sherriff_SLN RP
+XXXXX+ -0.1 Dominic_Leone_SLN RP
+XXXXX+ -3.6 Mike_Mayers_SLN RP
+XXXXX+ -7.5 Bud_Norris_SLN RP
Total -4.5

Not familiar with the above players.  Lyons is home grown SLN  who started in 2013.  The nice thing about having high negative guys like Norris and Mayers is if they don’t pitch well they get replaced raising total relief value, if they pitch well that also raises total relief value.  In May we can do these roster tables using current year data.

Edit:  Greg Holland is pitching for SLN and not listed above.  The rosters used were from the beginning of the season.  Holland is +1.1 for 2015-2017 (missed 2016) and came to SLN from Colorado.  Next time we do this matchup we’ll have current rosters.  Probably missing a starter as well.

April 2018 SLN Hitters

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+064+ 7.6 Matt_Carpenter_SLN IF
+110+ 5.5 Tommy_Pham_SLN OF
+123+ 5.0 Marcell_Ozuna_SLN OF
+XXXXX+ 2.4 Dexter_Fowler_SLN OF
+XXXXX+ 2.2 Jose_Martinez_SLN IF
+XXXXX+ 1.6 Paul_DeJong_SLN IF
+XXXXX+ -0.2 Harrison_Bader_SLN OF
+XXXXX+ -2.4 Kolten_Wong_SLN IF
+XXXXX+ -2.7 Yadier_Molina_SLN C
+XXXXX+ -4.0 Greg_Garcia_SLN IF
Total 15.0

And that about sums up  the team the Cardinals entered this season with.  They are currently playing very well — as they usually do every season.  Hopefully the Cubs can keep up with them — as they have the last three seasons.

That is all for now.  Total MLB career rankings coming soon and first Cubs team status next week — without player rankings.  Hopefully we get some Spring weather here!!!!!  Until then….

Cubs Pirates Matchup and Opening Day

Apparently the game has been postponed until tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be around 50F but they should play the double header Wednesday when it will be in the 60s.  Whatever.  We don’t have enough current data to make any analysis.  According to the team career chart the Cubs are near the top and the Pirates are near the bottom.   If the Pirates have a lot of young guys ready to break out career totals won’t tell the story.  Let’s see what the Ouija board has to say.

DATE 04_09 3:20_PM PIT CHN
LINEAWAY PIT [ 0.397 ] < 0.426 >
LINEHOME CHN [ 0.618 ] < 0.600 >
PIT 6 2 CHN 4 4

The code is pulling in current year wins and losses but there is not enough playing time where that makes a difference.  The Cubs are favored around 3/2.  You’ll need to think they have a better than 60% chance of winning today to bet the Cubs, 42.6% for the Pirates.  Sheer home field advantage is 56%.

Without any current year data let’s look at career data of starters and relievers the Cubs will face these next few days.  The career data below is sum based upon 2015-2017 seasons.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+XXXXX+ 1.60 Jameson_Taillon_PIT SP
+XXXXX+ -0.00 Chad_Kuhl_PIT SP
+XXXXX+ -0.10 Trevor_Williams_PIT SP
+XXXXX+ -0.80 Steven_Brault_PIT SP
+XXXXX+ -1.40 Ivan_Nova_PIT SP
Total -0.70

Nova may be their worst starter these last three years but most experienced.  Pittsburgh will need him to perform if they have any chance this season.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+090+ 6.20 George_Kontos_PIT RP
+092+ 6.10 Felipe_Rivero_PIT RP
+XXXXX+ 0.40 Edgar_Santana_PIT RP
+XXXXX+ 0.30 Dovydas_Neverauskas_PIT RP
+XXXXX+ -1.20 Josh_Smoker_PIT RP
+XXXXX+ -2.70 Michael_Feliz_PIT RP
+XXXXX+ -4.90 Tyler_Glasnow_PIT RP
Total 4.20

Relief not bad.  If some of their bottom guys get washed out of the league their relief staff will improve.  If they don’t wash out and pitch well this season their RP will also improve.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+019+ 13.00 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN SP
+028+ 10.80 Jon_Lester_CHN SP
+050+ 8.50 Jose_Quintana_CHN SP
+153+ 4.00 Yu_Darvish_CHN SP
+XXXXX+ 0.20 Tyler_Chatwood_CHN SP
Total 36.50

Very good starting staff.  Darvish was out of service in 2015.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+117+ 5.20 Mike_Montgomery_CHN RP
+121+ 5.10 Pedro_Strop_CHN RP
+129+ 4.90 Steve_Cishek_CHN RP
+147+ 4.20 Brandon_Morrow_CHN RP
+XXXXX+ 2.60 Justin_Wilson_CHN RP
+XXXXX+ 2.40 Carl_Edwards_CHN RP
+XXXXX+ 2.00 Brian_Duensing_CHN RP
+XXXXX+ -7.40 Eddie_Butler_CHN RP
Total 19.00

As always Maddon likes a decent relief staff.  Relievers carried the Cubs the first half of last season.  Eddie Butler had a rough 2015 and 2016 but pitched a little above average last season and pitched well for the Iowa Cubs.  If he figured out how to pitch in MLB the Cubs RP is even better.

That is all for now.   In the upcoming days we’re going to crunch more career snapshots from past seasons to hopefully provide perspective as to how predictive they are.  Every year a new crop of superstars emerges from the minors with a career WAA=0.  Everyone starts out at zero.  Until then….

Cubs Brewers matchup

Way too early in the season to evaluate players or team status.   Team statuses will start to make sense in about 2 weeks and we’ll start sorting players and handicapping second week in May.  For now let’s look at what the Ouija Board says about today.

DATE 04_06 8:10_PM CHN MIL
LINEAWAY CHN [ 0.588 ] < 0.580 >
STARTAWAY 0.00(NA) Kyle_Hendricks_CHN
LINEHOME MIL [ 0.429 ] < 0.439 >
STARTHOME 0.00(NA) Brandon_Woodruff_MIL
CHN 92 70 MIL 86 76

We call the betting market a Ouija Board because thousands of bettors all move the market in each direction.  Where that market settles is the expected probability that all these people settled upon.  Like a Ouija board settles on a phrase from the beyond, the beyond somehow comes ups with an expected probability that is very accurate in most games.  How all these anonymous bettors can come up with this is a mystery.

The Cubs started at 58.8% chance of winning and dropped to 58%.  If you want to bet the Brewers you must think they have a greater than 43.9% chance of winning today.

The DeltaWAA line is using last year’s win loss results.  The Cubs had a real WAA of 92-70=22.  The Brewers’ real WAA was 86-76=10.  The DeltaWAA between the two teams is 22-10=12.  This gets looked up in a table and the resultant expected probability using these numbers would be 58.2% in favor of the Cubs.  Perhaps Vegas compiled the same table and that’s how they set the line today.  Who knows?

Usually we would add up lineups and relief staff and provide that data but there is no data yet.  All we can do is analyze the two starters and that’s that.  Woodruff doesn’t have an MLB career yet.  He pitched in AAA  and 43 innings in MLB for MIL last season.  Not enough data!

We know Kyle Hendricks but here are his career numbers.

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2014 2.3 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH +131+
2015 -0.1 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH XXXXX
2016 8.9 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH +002+
2017 4.3 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH +047+
Total 15.4

Solid career.

In order to bet the Cubs you would need 7-10% margin which means they have a 2/3 chance of winning today.  To bet the Brewers you would have to think they have better than 50/50.  Using career numbers the Cubs have a better team and we’re almost ready to present that data.  Is it 2/3 chance better.  Not sure.  With the data we have the Brewers are underdog and the line is most likely exactly where it should be.  Both lines a complete discard.  We do not want to gamble.

Opening Day!

Today is opening day and it’s not even April.  We count this game as being in April however.  Cubs play the Marlins in Miami.  It appears MLB has it figured out that these northern cities can be pretty cold this time of the season.  No one wants to watch or play in a baseball game when it’s below freezing.

Vegas never misses an opportunity to bet on anything and the Ouija board is running right out of the gate.  Since we won’t have any useful data to evaluate players the Ouija board is all we can look at.  Here are today’s lines for the Cubbies.

DATE 03_29 12:40_PM CHN MIA
LINEAWAY CHN [ 0.661 ] < 0.677 > 
STARTAWAY 0.00(NA) Jon_Lester_CHN
LINEHOME MIA [ 0.353 ] < 0.345 > 
STARTHOME 0.00(NA) Jose_Ureña_MIA
CHN 92 70 MIA 77 85

Each baseball game consists of two lines, one for each team.  Above are the probabilities you would need in order to break even.  If you add both lines they exceed 1 because the house plays both sides and the excess is their cut.  The house can’t lose in the long run.

The number in [] is the starting guess Vegas made, the number in <> is the current line.  These will vary somewhat between bookies but we’re not here to arbitrage.  At 0.677  you need to risk $200 to win $100 today.  That is a very big premium to pay — especially since we don’t know anything about any player in the regular season.

Career wise Jon Lester is solid.  Here are his career numbers.

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2006 -0.4 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH XXXXX
2007 -0.1 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH XXXXX
2008 5.5 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +034+
2009 4.4 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +052+
2010 3.9 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +064+
2011 2.0 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +164+
2012 -3.8 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH -027-
2013 0.6 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH XXXXX
2014 4.0 Jon_Lester_BOS PITCH +010+
2014 2.4 Jon_Lester_OAK PITCH +010+
2015 2.8 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH +090+
2016 8.0 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH +004+
2017 0.0 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH XXXXX
Total 29.3

Best year was with the World Champion Chicago Cubs and worst year was 2012 with the Red Sox.   Very above average career.  Soon we’ll do a series in April to put the 29.3 value into context.   If you rank MLB on career numbers Lester is around the top.  His playoff numbers are extremely high which will probably propel him into the HOF one day.

Edit: His second best year was with BOS/OAK in 2014.  Those two numbers added together make his seasonal number.  He was ranked #10 that year and #4 in 2016.

Who is Jose Urena?

Year WAA Name_TeamID Pos Rank
2015 -1.8 Jose_Urena_MIA PITCH -138-
2016 -3.8 Jose_Urena_MIA PITCH -029-
2017 2.1 Jose_Urena_MIA PITCH +162+
Total -3.5

An overall below average career but he pitched very well last season ranking in the top 200 at 162.  Cubs may have an edge on starters but not sure about a 2-1 edge.

According to the DeltaWAA chart using team wins and losses from last year the Cubs should be around 0.639 advantage.  I’m not so sure that’s a valid measure  for this new season.

tl;dr Cubs line a clear discard.  Really don’t know anything about anyone to bet the MIA line either.  Happy new baseball season!