Septembers to Remember

This month began with all three NL races hotly contested, as no division leader held more than a 3½ game lead, with 8 of the 15 teams within 4 games in their division and two more within 7½ games. With two wildcard spots up for grabs, there should be many twists and turns before the five post-season berths are finally determined on or about September 30th.

This post takes a look back at some similar Septembers since the three division league alignment was introduced in 1994. Specifically, I’ll be looking at seasons when a league’s three division leaders all had no more than a 5 game lead as September play began. More after the jump.

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Building a Simpler Pitcher WAR Metric – Part 3

Hello again, my HHS friends! Dr. Doom here again. Thanks for bearing with me through those first two parts; I know they were review for most of us, but I figured I should make sure to explain everything, just in case someone new needed a primer. In any case, welcome to the final part of the series. As always, a special thanks to Doug for posting these, and to the community for tolerating them. This truly is a great place to talk baseball on the web.

As you’ll recall, in Part 1 we discussed the Pythagorean Record and how innings pitched relate to decisions. In Part 2, we saw how ERA+ works. Now, using those tools at our disposal, it’s time to build our WAR paradigm! More after the jump. Continue reading

Best and Worst Trade Deadline Deals

Probably will be tough to top the Manny Machado deal as the most significant of the trade deadline season. Machado could help the Dodgers win it all this season. Or, he may not, and he may not be back next year. So, we’ll just have to wait to see how it works out. But, we can look back at some deadline deals of the past, those that worked out and the many that didn’t. More after the jump.  Continue reading

Building a Simpler Pitcher WAR Metric – Part 1

Greetings, HHSers from Dr. Doom!

OK, so here’s the thing. This website is called “High Heat STATS.” And while Doug will occasionally enlighten us with a beautiful, table-filled column about some statistic or other through time, I think we all just like talking baseball. But in this series of posts, I’m going to get into the nitty-gritty of building a mock-WAR that I think you’ll all enjoy. It’s a quick-and-dirty way to do a couple of things I think are important.

  1. It takes ERA (or FIP) numbers and prioritizes them over won-lost records;
  2. It allows (more) direct comparisons of starters and relievers;
  3. It simplifies down to one dimension VERY quickly and easily (or stays two-dimensional, if you prefer);
  4. It is easily figured with a computer/calculator and only TWO stats, easily found on Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs.

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Let Youth Be Served: Baseball’s 40-40 Teams

The NL East has to be baseball’s surprise division this season, with the upstart Braves and Phillies so far besting the pre-season favorite Nationals, currently just a .500 team after running away with the division a year ago. For the Phillies, it’s their second straight year as a 40-40 club, a back-to-back they also accomplished in the 1949 and 1950 seasons, the latter a pennant-winning campaign. So, what’s a 40-40 team? If you guessed 40% of PA and 40% of IP given to players aged 25 and under, you nailed it. More after the jump.

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Swinging away: 3-0 counts are a changin’

The 3-0 pitch is possibly one of the most predictable events in baseball, a short interlude in which the competitive game usually takes a break. We’ve all seen it – the hitter resting his bat on his shoulder and affecting body language that tells everyone in the ballpark that he won’t be swinging. And, the pitcher responding by grooving a center cut fastball. Heck, even the umpire gets into the act, expanding his strike zone to include anything even close to being a strike. After this, the game resumes, with the batter suddenly dialed in and looking to do some damage to the still vulnerable pitcher. As familiar as that scenario seems, things have been changing in recent years, as more hitters are taking their cuts on 3-0 offerings. More after the jump.  Continue reading