Wednesday, July 23, 2003

How About Bases Advanced Percentage?

Got the game I was looking for last night, played around with the numbers a bit, and I think I may be on to something. The contest was between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres, on the West Coast. There was a 19 year age difference between the starting pitchers, Jeff Fassero for the Cards and Oliver Perez for the Padres. I could talk about that for an hour, but I really want to stay on the game. The Padres won 3-2, but why?. Figuring that out is going to take some work.

Here are the major stats for the game:

St. Louis - OBP. 333, SLG .294
San Diego - OBP .333, SLG .214

They have the exact same On-Base Percentage. There were no homers in the game, and only one extra base hit, a double by the Amazing Albert Pujols. Both teams had one sacrifice fly, and one sacrifice bunt. The Padres could have tied all of their hits together for one big inning, but didn't. So what happened? How did the Padres win this game?

Here's the log for all of the events on the field that don't make it into any way that we commonly display baseball statistics:

1st SD - Gary Matthews Jr. moves from first to third on a single.

4th SD - Brian Buchanan goes to second on a wild pitch.

5th SD - Ramon Vazquez scores on Ryan Klesko's sacrifice fly. On the same play, Matthews moves to third. On the next play, Matthews scores on a fielder's choice grounder to third, with Mark Loretta being out at second.

6th STL - Orlando Palmeiro scores, and Pujols goes to third, on a sacrifice fly by Scott Rolen.
6th SD - Lou Merloni goes from 1st to 2nd on a bunt by Eduardo Perez.

7th SD - Klesko goes from 1st to 2nd on a grounder to 2nd.

8th STL - Perez lines into a doubleplay, 2nd to short. Rolen is caught off of 2nd.

9th STL - Kerry Robinson bunts Jim Edmonds to 2nd.

There's a lot going on here. For the game, San Diego has picked up 7 extra bases advanced, the Cardinals only 3, with one baserunner lost in a double play. The Padres have accumulated 5 extra bases by the end of the 5th inning, when they already have a 3-0 lead. Gary Matthews Jr. has picked up three of those bases, which means that along with his two hits, he has accounted for five bases in three plate appearances, by the fifth inning.

Let's take a deeper look at that SD fifth: Here's the complete log, from ESPN:

SAN DIEGO 5TH
-G Stephenson relieved J Fassero.
-Bottom of the 5th inning
-R Vazquez walked.
-G Matthews Jr singled to center, R Vazquez to second.
-M Loretta hit by pitch, R Vazquez to third, G Matthews Jr to second.
-R Klesko hit sacrifice fly to center, R Vazquez scored, G Matthews Jr to third.
-R White grounded into fielder's choice to third, G Matthews Jr scored, M Loretta out at second.
-B Buchanan struck out looking.

Two runs on a walk, a single, and a hit batsman. I didn't see this game, but it seems as though Klesko's sacrifice fly was deep enough for Vazquez and Matthews to move up, but not so deep that Loretta goes to 2nd. Or else Loretta could have moved up, but didn't. It wouldn't have been a crazy move to attempt it if it was fairly deep, because it would have drawn the throw and allowed the run to score. Or did Matthews draw the throw, and Loretta still didn't move up? Regardless, Matthews gets himself to third, and Loretta stays at first.

On the next play, Rondell White hits a grounder to third and Rolen gets the force at second, but they don't get the doubleplay, and Matthews scores. Did Rolen have a play at the plate and decide to gamble on getting two? Did Matthews have a great jump on the play? Did the secondbaseman get taken out on the throw? I don't know, but the Padres pick up a key base and what would turn out to be the winning run.

As for, the Cardinal at-bats, in no inning do they pick up an extra base without giving up an out, and they even erase a baserunner with a bases-loaded double play in the eighth. Everything else is sacrifices and fielder's choice.

Alright, let's get to Bases Advanced Percentage, or whatever it should be called:

BAP = # of bases advanced/ # of plate appearances
where bases advanced equals total bases + walks + extra bases gained - base runners lost.

I'm not a math major, so please correct me on any of this, or let me know if there's a major flaw.

BAP for STL -

(10 total bases + 3 walks + 3 extra bases - 1 baserunner erased) / 38 = 15/38 = .395

BAP for SD -

(6 total bases + 5 walks + 7 extra bases)/ 35 = 18/35 = .514

Now, there's a difference. St. Louis is getting .395 bases for every plate appearance, while San Diego gets .514. Unlike OBP or Slugging, I can look at these two numbers alone, and see that San Diego should have won this game. So now the question is, is it an accurate portrayal of the game, or coincidence?

Feedback is essential.

On to the Paul DePodesta Medal of Honor. We have one winner today, Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins, who went 4-4 with a walk in the Marlins' 9-1 win over Montreal. This brings the record of teams with a PDMOH winner up to 7-0, with an average run total of 7.71.

Comments? Counseling?


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