Category Archives: Top Ten

Top Ten Players in MLB 5/15/2017

Here are the top ten players in MLB according to this data model as of end of day yesterday.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 4.22 Bryce_Harper_WAS RF
+002+ 3.84 Ervin_Santana_MIN PITCH
+003+ 3.44 Ryan_Zimmerman_WAS 1B
+004+ 3.23 Jason_Vargas_KCA PITCH
+005+ 3.15 Dallas_Keuchel_HOU PITCH
+006+ 2.86 Aaron_Judge_NYA RF
+007+ 2.83 Eric_Thames_MIL 1B
+008+ 2.79 Chris_Sale_BOS PITCH
+009+ 2.79 Carlos_Carrasco_CLE PITCH
+010+ 2.60 Mark_Reynolds_COL 1B

No Cubs and one ex-White Sox.  Washington still has two hitters in top ten.  Washington has a WAA=28-13=+15 so the above two players contribute about half that.  Here is the top ten MLB on this day last year (2016).

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
1 3.70 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH
2 3.21 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH
3 3.19 Chris_Sale_CHA PITCH
4 3.09 Jose_Quintana_CHA PITCH
5 2.98 Jordan_Zimmermann_DET PITCH
6 2.88 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B
7 2.75 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH
8 2.75 Nolan_Arenado_COL 3B
9 2.44 Danny_Salazar_CLE PITCH
10 2.42 Yoenis_Cespedes_NYN OF

The Cubs had three guys in the top ten last year with a record 0f 27-9 (WAA=+18) and on their way to clinching the NL Central at this time in mid-May.  Arrieta, Rizzo , and Lester contributed about 1/2 of that +18 and these guys also helped:

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
11 2.39 Ben_Zobrist_CHN 2B
14 2.23 Jason_Hammel_CHN PITCH
36 1.70 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B
64 1.34 Addison_Russell_CHN 2B
71 1.26 Dexter_Fowler_CHN OF
89 1.11 Matt_Szczur_CHN OF
128 0.90 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH

Table above are top ten Cubs this day last season.  We’ll do state of the current Cubs team in a couple of days.  Until then ….


Introduction to Rankings Part 2

Today we’ll look at league rankings and in a couple of days we’ll review the Cubs and possibly the White Sox.   Here are the top ten players in MLB as of yesterday.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 3.74 Ervin_Santana_MIN PITCH
+002+ 3.59 Bryce_Harper_WAS RF
+003+ 3.17 Ryan_Zimmerman_WAS 1B
+004+ 3.00 Chris_Sale_BOS PITCH
+005+ 2.94 Aaron_Judge_NYA RF
+006+ 2.83 Dallas_Keuchel_HOU PITCH
+007+ 2.58 Eric_Thames_MIL 1B
+008+ 2.33 James_Paxton_SEA PITCH
+009+ 2.27 Dylan_Bundy_BAL PITCH
+010+ 2.25 Ivan_Nova_PIT PITCH

We’re between 1/5 and 1/6 of the season so far which means Santana is on pace for a WAA=20 which puts him in Babe Ruth/Cy Young category.  That is if he can keep up this pace which he won’t.  Pitchers, batters, AL, and NL are all ranked together all fall under the same calculation.  Pitchers add value by making outs and not giving up runs, batters add value by not making outs and creating runs.  There is no human bias in these rankings.

We’re missing someone.  Where is Clayton Kershaw?

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+043+ 1.26 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH

He’s ranked #43 in MLB right now but he should rise again to the top eventually.

Washington has two players in the top ten.  Their entire team is tearing up the league right now.  Let’s look at WAS as an example of how this works. Below is their team status line.

56.8 -11.1 173 128 17 9 0.1 -0.9 WAS

They have 10 players in the top 200, almost 10 in the top 100.  Four in the top 25.  Washington is on fire.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+002+ 3.59 Bryce_Harper_WAS RF
+003+ 3.17 Ryan_Zimmerman_WAS 1B
+014+ 2.12 Daniel_Murphy_WAS 2B
+016+ 1.93 Gio_Gonzalez_WAS PITCH
+030+ 1.45 Adam_Eaton_WAS CF
+031+ 1.43 Trea_Turner_WAS SS
+088+ 0.92 Max_Scherzer_WAS PITCH
+091+ 0.90 Matt_Albers_WAS PITCH
+103+ 0.84 Adam_Lind_WAS BAT
+104+ 0.84 Stephen_Strasburg_WAS PITCH

This is also very very early in the season and these can all change suddenly.  Just like a first place team in Spring can end up as a last place team in October, like the Cubs so many years :-(, so can a player.  Speaking of the Cubs, below is the CHN status on this day last year.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID 05/03/2016
39.6 45.2 153 64 19 6 1.6 2.6 CHN

The Cubs had much better PITCH than WAS last year and similar BAT on this date. Below are last year’s CHN players in the top 200 on 5/3/2016.

+001+ 3.32 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH
+007+ 2.16 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B
+012+ 1.97 Jason_Hammel_CHN PITCH
+013+ 1.85 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH
+033+ 1.41 Dexter_Fowler_CHN OF
+037+ 1.32 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B
+054+ 1.11 Matt_Szczur_CHN OF
+098+ 0.88 Adam_Warren_CHN PITCH
+159+ 0.59 David_Ross_CHN C
+163+ 0.57 Hector_Rondon_CHN PITCH
+166+ 0.57 Ben_Zobrist_CHN 2B
XXXXX 0.40 Addison_Russell_CHN 2B

Players fluctuate throughout the season.  The Cubs had Rizzo and Arrieta in the top ten this day last season which was very good.

This model has daily snapshots going back to 1911 so we’ll do historical comparisons throughout the season.  Once a week or so I’ll run a status on the Cubs.  A baseball season is a marathon so once a week or every ten days is more than enough to get a glimpse as to how they’re trending.  The next Cubs status in two days.

And before I go here’s a shout out to Starlin Castro.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+108+ 0.84 Starlin_Castro_NYA 2B

Castro is having a career year this season and NYA is doing very well because of it. He’s ranked 108 in MLB, right now the highest rank he has ever achieved in this data model. We’ll keep track of him and a couple other ex-Cubbies throughout this season. Until then….

Cubs in top ten as of 9/13/2016

+001+ 8.84 Nolan_Arenado_COL 3B
+002+ 8.59 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH
+003+ 7.22 Madison_Bumgarner_SFN PITCH
+004+ 6.87 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B-LF-RF
+005+ 6.85 Mookie_Betts_BOS RF
+006+ 6.78 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH
+007+ 6.70 Edwin_Encarnacion_TOR DH-1B
+008+ 6.70 Noah_Syndergaard_NYN PITCH
+009+ 6.66 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH
+010+ 6.45 Josh_Donaldson_TOR 3B-DH

I have been doing this for three years now and have seen quite a few top tens in the
dataset that goes back to 1900. Rarely does a team field three players this late in the
season. The Cubs never have.

Here are Hendricks’ and Lester’s WAR

+036+ 4.6 Kyle_Hendricks_CHN PITCH
+050+ 4.2 Jon_Lester_CHN PITCH

No love for either of these pitchers with WAR. Even this guy ranks higher.

+011+ 6.0 Adam_Eaton_CHA RF-CF

Here is Arrieta this day in 2015

+001+ 11.19 Zack_Greinke_LAN PITCH
+002+ 9.70 Josh_Donaldson_TOR C
+003+ 9.11 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH

The competition was a bit stiffer last year. Arrieta was a little better than Hendricks this time last season.

Here’s a year when the Yankees and Giants put three guys in the top ten.

+001+ 19.28 Lou_Gehrig_NYA 1B
+002+ 17.35 Babe_Ruth_NYA OF-RF-LF
+003+ 14.09 Lefty_Grove_OAK PITCH
+004+ 12.45 Earl_Averill_CLE CF-OF
+005+ 10.65 Bill_Walker_SFN PITCH
+006+ 10.39 Al_Simmons_OAK OF-LF
+007+ 9.45 Ben_Chapman_NYA OF-LF-RF-2B
+008+ 8.76 Chuck_Klein_PHI OF-LF-RF-CF
+009+ 8.76 Carl_Hubbell_SFN PITCH
+010+ 8.04 Mel_Ott_SFN OF-CF-RF

Ironically both teams finished second proving MLB doesn’t hand out WS trophies for most guys in top ten. It was the Cardinals (SLN) who beat the As (OAK) in the WS that year.

The above numbers are off the charts and will probably never be reached in modern day baseball.

Best and Worst Clutch Relievers in 2015

It was brought to my attention how baseball should count all  runs relievers give up not just  earned runs. Runs scored from players already on base count against the previous pitcher even though that pitcher didn’t actually throw the pitch to give up those runs. The reliever did. A relief pitcher can clear the bases without incurring a single earned run on his ERA. This could distort the purpose of ERA for relief.

We need a way to count these runs as they do not get counted in standard box scores. This model does RISP calculation which has been explained previously here.  RISP for batters counts runs a batter drives in with Runners In Scoring Position (RISP).  Because box scores do not keep track of this the only way to run a RISP calculation is by traversing event data which get published after a season is over, usually in December.

The algorithm that calculates RISP for batters can be used to calculate RISP for pitchers.  When a reliever comes in with Runners In Scoring Position any runs that get scored get counted against that reliever.  The algorithm does not count when there is only a runner on first but leaving that out should not influence the rankings at all.  Like WAA, because we use the same algorithm for both pitchers and batters we can rank them together if desired.  For now we’ll only do pitchers.  If a starting pitcher never pitched relief they will not show up on this list.

Below we will list the top of the league and the bottom of the league, the worst relievers in the clutch and the best. For now I do not have the entire league data available for search.

Top Ten Clutch Relievers.

Here are the top ten clutch relievers of 2015.

-19.4 0.118 Dellin_Betances_NYA
-12.2 0.146 Arodys_Vizcaino_ATL
-12.1 0.113 Wade_Davis_KCA
-10.3 0.183 Randall_Delgado_ARI
-10.2 0.162 Aroldis_Chapman_CIN
-9.9 0.192 Jared_Hughes_PIT
-9.6 0.270 Juan_Nicasio_LAN
-9.2 0.155 Antonio_Bastardo_PIT
-9.0 0.169 Jake_Petricka_CHA
-8.9 0.181 Shawn_Tolleson_TEX

The first column, RAA, is Runs Above Average, second column Batting Average. A batter in RISP situations want to have a very positive RAA, a pitcher wants the lowest possible and Betances led the league last year with -19.4 only allowing batters to get a hit at a 11.8% rate. Betances has an overall value rating for 2015 of:

+026+ 4.75 Dellin_Betances_NYA PITCH

He was ranked #26 in MLB both batters and pitchers by this data model which is very very good.

Bottom Ten Clutch Relievers

15.0 0.315 Dan_Otero_OAK
13.5 0.452 Neftali_Feliz_DET
12.6 0.292 J.R._Graham_MIN
12.2 0.625 Cory_Mazzoni_SDN
10.7 0.333 Spencer_Patton_TEX
10.4 0.318 Justin_De_Fratus_PHI
9.9 0.371 R.J._Alvarez_OAK
9.8 0.348 Ryan_Kelly_ATL
8.7 0.300 Scott_Atchison_CLE
8.3 0.314 Joe_Beimel_SEA

If these were hitters they would be fantastic. As pitchers they’re the worst. Here is Dan Otero’s 2015 WAA for reference.

-042- -3.02 Dan_Otero_OAK PITCH

Ranked 42nd in the bottom 200 is very bad. This indicates that value tracks  closely with failing in RISP situations.

Unfortunately box scores do not separate out these runs for counting which means that there is no way to make these calculations for 2016 until December when we get event data.

Update: It would be interesting to find a reliever with a  bad RISP and rather high WAA which would mean he gives up many more inherited runs than his own.  I suspect pitcher RISP tracks closely with their WAA, a pitcher’s actual value based on earned runs.  For hitters it tracks closely but there are interesting outliers.

Update2: I happened upon Dan Otero’s 2016 numbers so far and he’s quite improved over last season.

+070+ 1.70 Dan_Otero_CLE PITCH

He’s ranked #70 in MLB both batters and pitchers which is pretty good. How pitchers and batters go from good to bad and bad to good is topic for another discussion. The only thing we know for certain is statistics cannot predict this and anyone who says they can is either lying, misinformed,  or trying to sell something.

Top Ten Worst Relief Staffs

Top ten worst relief staffs as of 9/23/2014.  Colorado leads the league as having the worst relief staff in MLB at a combined WAA=-18.4, well ahead of second place Houston.  A couple of playoff contenders, Detroit and Los Angeles also have poor relief staffs.  We’ll see what kind of impact this will have on their World Series aspirations soon.

COL -18.4 569.0
HOU -10.5 454.7
TEX -7.8 565.6
DET -4.8 419.3
ARI -4.6 480.4
CHA -4.0 428.9
LAN -3.9 540.6
CHN -3.6 542.9
CIN -3.6 393.7
TOR -3.4 490.6