Will A-Rod Win the Triple Crown?

This is my post for the next two days, because I’ll be in an airplane tomorrow.
Anyways, I noticed today that while Derrek Lee was getting all the Triple Crown hype, the guy who really has a chance to get it is no one other than Alex Rodriguez. Let’s take a look at his chances in each category:
BA – .320 (3nd) A-Rod is a measly .004 points behind Johnny Damon in the batting average standings. According to PrOPS, Damon’s predicted BA is .317, Michael Young’s (he’s 2nd in BA) is .306, and A-Rod’s is .283. Which means that if each regresses to his expected performance, you would expect the standings to stay the way they are, or so. A-Rod doesn’t seem to have a great chance of winning the batting title, however, the one thing in his favor is that his career BA (.307) is much higher than Damon’s (.290) or Young’s (.294).
HR – 40 (1st) Rodriguez has a five home run lead over David Ortiz, and I doubt that he relinquishes it. Even last year — in an off-season for him — Rodriguez finished 6th in the AL in home runs.
RBI – 105 (4th) Even though he trails David Ortiz by 12 in this category, Rodriguez does have some hope left. Based on his singles, doubles, triples, and home runs, A-Rod would be expected to have 112 RBI, 6 more than Ortiz would be expected to have. If Ortiz’s luck runs out and Rodriguez gets a little more than his share, he could become the first Triple Crown winner in the AL since Carl Yaztremski in 1967.
While A-Rod’s at a Triple Crown chances seem to be slim (I’d put him at 10:1 odds), but you never know. Certain indicators point towards A-Rod catching up in the two categories he trails in, and if he gets a little lucky, well, the rest will certainly be history.

Update

Here is a link to the Primer thread discussing my THT article.

I’m on The Hardball Times

I’ve published an article on DIPS 3.0 using batted ball information on The Hardball Times. Click on the link and read it:
Link

Power Rankings – August 29

The power rankings are back. I don’t have enough time to add comments, sorry:
1 St. Louis Cardinals
2 Oakland Athletics
3 Atlanta Braves
4 Los Angeles Angels
5 New York Mets
6 Chicago White Sox
7 Boston Red Sox
8 Cleveland Indians
9 New York Yankees
10 Toronto Blue Jays
11 Minnesota Twins
12 Houston Astros
13 Florida Marlins
14 Philadelphia Phillies
15 Milwaukee Brewers
16 Texas Rangers
17 Chicago Cubs
18 Detroit Tigers
19 Washington Nationals
20 Seattle Mariners
21 Cincinnati Reds
22 Baltimore Orioles
23 San Diego Padres
24 Los Angeles Dodgers
25 Pittsburgh Pirates
26 San Francisco Giants
27 Tampa Bay Devil Rays
28 Arizona Diamondbacks
29 Colorado Rockies
30 Kansas City Royals

How much is Griffey worth?

Ken Griffey Jr. is being pretty adamant that he will not be traded. It seems that the White Sox badly want Griffey which begs the question (at least to me): how much is Griffey worth? Let’s take a look:
Hitting-wise, Griffey is having a great year, and is 33.5 runs above average. Projected over a full season, that’s roughly 41.5 runs.
Defensively, he stinks, and is at -17 runs. Projected over a full season, he should have -21 runs on defense.
Which means that overall, Griffey should be worth +24.5 runs above average this year. Considering that each marginal win is worth about $2 million, and that the average starter makes about $4 million, Griffey will be worth about $9 million this year, not that far off his $12.5 million contract. But Griffey’s contract will only grow in amount the next few years, while his value declines (think Bernie Williams). So it seems to me that any team trading for him, would be inasane to pick up more than half his salary the rest of the way, no matter how much it might help in the short term.

A simple lesson about baseball statistics

This article is an interesting piece of research, one that concludes that catchers’ game-calling skills improve as they get older, and team ERA drops. But the problem this researcher does not address, a serious problem at that, is that veteran catchers are highly valued in the major leagues, and generally, teams with a chance to win something don’t go with young catchers. Thus, young catchers are generally brought up on bad teams, while veteran catchers generally play on better teams. More so, because bad teams generally improve, even if catchers, once they become veterans, did not move, they would still end up with a better team ERA, simply by staying. If you asked me, I’d give you good odds that this is the real reason that Hanrahan got such a result, and it’s a question he doesn’t even address.

Lineup Construction

Using linear weights values that are specific for each spot in the line up, we can figure out what a team’s ideal lineup would be. I thought this would be an interesting project, so I took a look at the Red Sox. According the ESPN.com the Sox most of often use this lineup:
1. Damon
2. Renteria
3. Ortiz
4. Ramirez
5. Nixon
6. Millar
7. Varitek
8. Mueller
9. Bellhorn
(Note: I adjusted the line up slightly because Mueller had the most plate appearances in both the 7 and 8 spots).
Now what was the best lineup? It was, adjusted to have a good left/right balance, this:
1. Bellhorn
2. Millar
3. Mueller
4. Ramirez
5. Ortiz
6. Renteria
7. Damon
8. Varitek
9. Nixon
Practically the reverse image of the Sox’s actual most popular lineup! This lineup would be expected to score 8.2 runs more than a lineup that was randomly put together. In other words, all this work was not really worth it.

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