FanPost

The 2010 Giants: a 1/3-season snapshot

As we are now almost exactly 1/3 of the way into the season, it is perhaps time to take a look at how the team's prospects look, and why, which last means some stats.

The tools are simple enough: a runs-from-stats projector and a games-from-runs projector. As most people know, the better versions of such formulae all give about the same results, so which particular ones we use is not especially important. Let's first take a look at the projected standings based on actual on-field play to date (through the games of Wednesday, 2 June) in the NL West. This has nothing to do with "how good the team is" in the sense of what we think the players are or aren't good for, only with what has actually gone down between the white lines so far. The news is mixed:

Team                   Win%       Gw
Colorado .612 99
San Diego .606 98
San Francisco .585 95
LA Dodgers .558 90
Arizona .389 63

"Mixed" because winning 95 games sounds exciting, but not when your divisional rivlas look to win 3 or 4 more than that. Right now, projecting from actual games won to date, the full-season numbers look different (where "Wins" is from actual, and "Proj." is repeated from above for easy comparison):


Team Wins Proj.

Colorado 86 99
S.D. 98 98
S.F. 87 95
L.A. 95 90
Arizona 60 63

The differences are basically luck. As the season wears on, the spread between actual wins and projections will narrow. Obviously, no probabilistic formula can predict exactly what will happen--we can get 15 heads in 20 coin tosses--but it suggests where a team is headed, and shows who has been more (or less) lucky than good.

We can get a better handle on how all that breaks down by looking at the components of wins, runs scored and runs allowed. Here is the NL West. Because the headings are complicated, let me say a few words about them. "Team" and "Games Played" are self-evident. The "Runs" columns encompass a pair of columns each for both runs scored and runs yielded; each of those pairs is the "real" to date, which is just what it says, and "Proj", which is also just what you think it is. Next comes wins, which includes "Actual" (yes) and two different sets of projections. The first win projection, labelled "R/OR" is a games-won projection from the actual R and OR stats to date; the second, "Proj", is a sort of double projection: it is projected games won based on projected runs scored andprojected runs allowed. Curiously, it is my experience that "double-projected" win numbers usually end up closer to reality than win projections from actual R and OR figures. (Or maybe it's not curious.) The "off" columns just show the difference between a given win projection and reality; the "Seasonal" column is the difference from seasonal wins projected from projected R/OR data and pro-rating up the current actual win total. It is the estimated seasonal cumulative "luck" factor for the team (except that it will in most cases shrink by season's end, as luck somewhat evens out over a larger sample size). Keep in mind that reliability of probabilistic estimates improves only as the square root of the sample size: it takes four times as much data to reduce the error size by half.

Anyway, the envelope, please:


Team Games -------Runs-------- ---------------Games Won-------------
. Played Scored Yielded Actual Wins Projected From:
. Proj Real Proj Real Wins R/OR off Proj off Seasonal

Colorado 53 248 249 198 209 28 31 -3 32 -4 -13
S.D. 53 225 229 182 173 32 34 -2 32 0 0
S.F. 52 217 215 183 178 28 31 -3 30 -2 -8
L.A. 53 239 251 213 242 31 27 +4 30 +1 + 5
Arizona 54 249 257 311 323 20 21 -1 21 -1 - 3

Now let's look at something different: not projections from what's gone down between the white lines, but rather what we might reasonably have expected from the players, based on their career histories. Because this is big tables, I'll deal only with the Giants.

From time to time, some here have complained about the idea of using career stats to estimate the present worth of older players. I suggest a reading of Michael Lichtman's article ""How do baseball players age?" In particular, this graph (though there are several others much like it), looking at the red line representing players in the current era, suggests that at age 32 career numbers (assuming roughly equal playing time) about correspond to current skill levels. Of course, that is because the chart includes players entering the bigs at age 21; but even for players starting at age 25, an age-30 cumulation is about equal to their then-current value. Moreover, because each successive year makes each individual year mean less, a career-to-date cumulation even into the mid-30s is not far from a man's then-current actual value.

That said, here is a comparison tabel for the Giants players this year (for convenience, I have cumulated the pitchers' batting into a single entry).

Man                        AB        H       2B       3B       HR       BB      HBP       SO       PA
2010 actual: 16 7 2 0 0 0 0 1
Buster Posey proj: 16 4 1 0 0 0 0 2 16
.
2010 actual: 178 53 11 1 6 24 2 24
Aubrey Huff proj: 186 51 11 1 7 18 2 27 207
.
2010 actual: 140 40 14 2 3 19 1 27
Andres Torres proj: 142 38 10 5 4 16 1 36 160
.
2010 actual: 49 16 3 0 0 8 0 12
F. Sanchez proj: 54 16 4 0 1 3 1 6 58
.
2010 actual: 55 16 5 0 3 2 1 13
Eli Whiteside proj: 56 14 3 0 1 2 1 13 59
.
2010 actual: 24 6 4 0 1 3 0 6
T. Ishikawa proj: 24 6 1 0 1 2 0 7 27
.
2010 actual: 168 46 6 1 7 17 1 34
Juan Uribe proj: 174 45 9 1 7 11 1 33 188
.
2010 actual: 86 28 3 0 1 7 0 14
E. Renteria proj: 86 25 5 0 2 7 0 13 94
.
2010 actual: 206 59 15 2 4 17 1 29
P. Sandoval proj: 206 66 15 2 7 16 1 28 226
.
2010 actual: 115 32 8 1 1 11 3 14
N. Schierholtz proj: 119 34 8 1 1 7 2 20 129
.
2010 actual: 73 18 6 0 1 8 1 18
Matt Downs proj: 73 16 5 0 1 8 1 18 83
.
2010 actual: 147 37 5 0 2 11 3 16
Bengie Molina proj: 153 43 7 0 5 7 1 16 163
.
2010 actual: 46 9 2 0 2 5 0 8
Eugenio Velez proj: 48 12 2 1 1 3 0 8 51
.
2010 actual: 161 37 8 2 5 5 2 36
Aaron Rowand proj: 154 43 10 1 5 10 5 32 169
.
2010 actual: 82 17 3 0 3 6 0 23
John Bowker proj: 83 20 3 1 3 5 1 20 90
.
2010 actual: 14 3 0 0 0 2 0 4
R. Rohlinger proj: 15 2 0 0 0 1 0 4 16
.
2010 actual: 93 18 3 0 1 9 2 16
Mark DeRosa proj: 92 25 5 0 3 9 1 19 104
.
2010 actual: 96 12 0 0 0 3 0 53
pitchers proj: 94 10 0 0 0 4 0 45 102
.
.
2010 TEAM TOTALS: 1749 454 98 9 40 157 17 348
projected: 1776 472 101 14 49 129 17 347 1939
differences: -27 -18 -3 -5 -9 +28 0 +1
Man AB H 2B 3B HR BB HBP SO PA

One thing we see is a significant increase in walks over projected (with, of course, a roughly equal decrease in ABs). An extra 28 walks is very nice, indeed. But what really sticks out is the lack of hits: 18 hits under expected. The projected PF (TB/H) is 1.585, while the actual is 1.520, so we have a double failure: fewer hits, and fewer bases per hit. Which men are off by more than 1 or 2 from expectations? Let's look (listed in increasing order of harm done):

Man                        AB        H       2B       3B       HR       BB      HBP       SO       PA
2010 actual: 16 7 2 0 0 0 0 1
Buster Posey proj: 16 4 1 0 0 0 0 2 16
. +3
.
2010 actual: 86 28 3 0 1 7 0 14
E. Renteria proj: 86 25 5 0 2 7 0 13 94
. +3
..............................................................................................................
.
2010 actual: 46 9 2 0 2 5 0 8
Eugenio Velez proj: 48 12 2 1 1 3 0 8 51
. -3
.
2010 actual: 82 17 3 0 3 6 0 23
John Bowker proj: 83 20 3 1 3 5 1 20 90
. -3
.
2010 actual: 147 37 5 0 2 11 3 16
Bengie Molina proj: 153 43 7 0 5 7 1 16 163
. -6
.
2010 actual: 161 37 8 2 5 5 2 36
Aaron Rowand proj: 154 43 10 1 5 10 5 32 169
. -6
.
2010 actual: 93 18 3 0 1 9 2 16
Mark DeRosa proj: 92 25 5 0 3 9 1 19 104
. -7
.
2010 actual: 206 59 15 2 4 17 1 29
P. Sandoval proj: 206 66 15 2 7 16 1 28 226
. -7
Man AB H 2B 3B HR BB HBP SO PA

The Big Four here are Molina, Rowand, DeRosa, and Sandoval. DeRosa we understand. Rowand is being hurt by a terrible BABIP (note that this says nothing about how good his "expected" is, only about the difference between expected and 2010 actual), and will probably end up not far from expectations. Molina just doesn't belong on a serious roster, but that doesn't explain his falloff this year: not only are his hits down, but his PF is 1.297 as against 1.512 expected; whether his equally unexpected jump in walks (+4, a lot at this point) has anything to do with it is unclear--all that is clear is that he is hurting the team in any capacity whatever and needs to go. Ceterum censeo Molina esse delendam.

As everyone knows, Panda is another worry spot. With 7 hits "missing", 3 of them expected HRs, there's an issue. I, like everyone, hope it's just a blip. Panda's BABIP is down significantly from his prior seasons; on the other hand, it was awfully high in both 2008 and 2009--so whether it is his to-all-fields skills or just an unsustainable number remains to be seen.

And that's what there is. Make of it what you will. What I make of it is that the team has a good chance of scoring more that it has so far with no major changes (and more yet were a decent manager in charge, but that's beyond our scope here), just a couple of guys coming around.

(And once again, it takes far longer to format this than to prepare it, owing to the board's software deciding for me that I really didn't want all those silly spaces when tabs would do.  Gee, tanks dere.)

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

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