Friday, November 28, 2003

What A Looong, Strange Trip It's Been

So finally, I have reached the end of the BAP World Series. The journey has been long, cost me family and friends, even dropped me from Hall of Fame to All-Star on Aaron's Baseball Blog (the best of all baseball blogs) list. Yet I soldier forth, through changes of seasons and flurries of trade rumors, in search of a kernal of truth.

Just to review, what I did was to see how some of the major stats faired at analyzing game data and predicting the actual winner of each game. I did this not only for OBP, Slugging, OPS, Batting Average, and Secondary Average, but also two of my own creations, Bases Advanced Percentage (BAP) and Batting Average plus Secondary Average. The idea behind this study was that any stat of vital importance to the result of a baseball game would be able to accurately predict a high percentage of results. For example, if OBP is so important, then the team with the higher OBP in any game should win a high percentage of the time. And while a study of 38 games is a small sample, it is at least the 38 most important games of the year, played by the very best teams, so I think the sample has validity.

Here are the Final Stat Playoff Standings

BAP 33-5
BA+SecA 32-6
SLG 30-7-1
OBP 30-8
OPS 29-9
BA 28-10
SecA 26-12

There are a few major conclusions I can draw from this:

1. BAP reigns Supreme. This is the third contest of this kind, and BAP has won all three. It is clearly the best stat of all those studied at predicting winners based on game data.

2. Batting Average plus Secondary Average (I've got the name! BASA! BASA!) performed as well I hoped, beating all of the more well known stats. It's a small study, but it makes intuitive sense, is easy to use, and even brings value back to the most historical and most recently bashed stat, Batting Average.

3. This is the first time that OBP has done respectably against Slugging, and did it just barely, winning the last two games while SLG lost the last two. It still hasn't beaten Slugging though, and so for me, the jury is still out. But what I see over and over again is that in close, low-scoring games, the kind of games that any championship team needs to win, OBP comes up short more often than Slugging. Over the course of nine innings, a walk and a homer back-to-back can beat ten baserunners spread throughout the game. It comes down to this:

Aside from not creating an out, a single or a walk does very little to produce runs, independent of what other players on the team do.

Isn't this a similar criticism to the one that has devalued Runs and RBI? Most stat people ignore those two completely now, because they are so dependent on the actions of teammates. But isn't the value of a single, or even more so a walk, dependent on the actions of teammates? How much value is it to a team to have a player go 3 for 3 with three singles and a walk when the team as a whole only has seven hits?

4. The fact that OPS did worse than both OBP and SLG demonstrates how poorly OPS brings those two stats together. If those stats complimented each other, you would expect the results to be similar to BASA, where separately Batting Average and Secondary Average don't perform well, but they cover each other's weaknesses so effectively that they combine to be one highly effective stat. OPS does just the opposite.

Coming Sunday Night - The 2003 BASA All-Stars!

Here's the results for the final two World Series games:

Florida 6 NY 4
OBP - FL .371, NY .350
SLG - FL .387, NY .432
OPS - FL .758, NY .782
BAP - FL .556, NY .625
EBs - FL 4, NY 7
BA - FL .290, NY .324
SecA - FL .194, NY .162
BA+SecA - FL .484, NY .486

An odd combination. Only OBP and Secondary Average analyze the data correctly.


Florida 2 NY 0
OBP - FL .263, NY .226
SLG - FL .235, NY .241
OPS - FL .498, NY .467
BAP - FL .447, NY .250
EBs - FL 6, NY (-1)
BA - FL .206, NY .172
SecA - FL .118, NY .138
BA+SecA - FL .324, NY .310

Everyone gets it right except for Slugging and Secondary Average.

BAP For Beginners

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