Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Interesting Rest Areas of Southern Kentucky for $400, Alex About the author, Boyd Nation

Interesting Rest Areas of Southern Kentucky for $400, Alex

Publication Date: August 17, 2004

Pull in with Me for a Moment

I was working on a long-term project I've got going earlier this week and ran into a minor partial result that really interests me. I also needed a short topic to balance some general notes stuff that's been building up, so stick with me through a little statistical tapdancing here at the top and see if I'm right about this being interesting, then we'll get to the news and notes.

The project as a whole involves trying to get some measure of prediction as to how a team will do in the postseason. While a lot of folks, me included, try to do this with the ISR's, that's not really what they're for, and I won't ever optimize them to predict the postseason at the expense of how they measure the quality of the season. For the potential independent measure I'm trying to develop, though, I'm looking at things like how "hot" a team is through various types of sequences of wins and losses, distribution throughout the season of opponent quality, and that sort of thing.

Anyway, one thing that I've found is the following little tidbit. Let's make up two measures of run scoring for each game for each team. Just to make them easier to follow, we'll call them Offensive Quality (OQ) and Defensive Quality (DQ). All they are is the ratio of how the team did against how most teams do against their opponents:

               Runs Scored
OQ = --------------------------------
     Average Runs Allowed by Opponent

              Runs Allowed
DQ = -------------------------------
     Average Runs Scored by Opponent

There are all sort of adjustments you could make to that based on park factors and the like, and I may do some of that going forward, but you get some interesting stuff from just taking the average of those scores for all of a team's games (call 'em OQA and DQA, just for simplicity), or at least interesting in the sense that the result defies traditional wisdom, which is that strong pitching is a requirement to advance in the postseason.

The best measure I've been able to come up with so far for postseason success is number of tournament wins. This isn't perfect (three wins may or may not mean a regional win, for example, which is not what most folks think of as equal success), but most alternatives are too subjective. Since we need a measure to be able to correlate with, we'll go with this.

Now, if you correlate OQA and DQA as I was talking about earlier with the number of postseason wins, you get a measure of how much each one -- offense and defense -- gives you a sense of predictability. I imagined going in that the correlation for DQA would be much higher -- after all, the cliche is that hitting pulls in the fans, but pitching wins championships. It turns out, though, that the two are almost equal -- .48 for DQA and .46 for OQA. In other words (and in conclusion) there's not an advantage to putting more of your resources on one side or the other; just recruit and play the best players you can regardless of which side of the equation they're on.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Interesting Rest Areas of Southern Kentucky for $400, Alex About the author, Boyd Nation