Friday, June 11, 2010

Mariners baseball: Believe big, achieve little (PART II)

Since the publication of my scathing statistical analysis of the Seattle Mariners, yes, scathing, I've done some deeper research into sabermetrics, specifically the Runs-Created Approach, and discovered a fatal flaw with the initial findings (good eye, Hickey): It doesn't take outs into account.

Luckily for me, Bill James, the sabermetrics wizard who created the formulas ("You shall not pass!"), saw that gap himself and developed a way to calculate the total number of outs a player has used in a season. Outs are probably the most important statistic in baseball because they're absolute. There are 27 outs per regular nine-inning game no matter what. You can't have 28 outs in a nine-inning game, trust me, the Mariners have tried, and that means it's critical for players to contribute the least-amount of outs they can to a game in order to sustain the possibility for more runs to be scored.

By calculating the number of outs a player has used, even run-scoring outs like a sacrifice, ground-into-double-play, or caught stealing, you're effectively closing the bridge that would, in effect, give a player who simply had more official at bats a better chance of creating more runs (remember, scoring runs and creating runs are two different things). And that'd be unfair, wouldn't it?

Think about it like this: If a player had 200 walks in a season, he'd have 200-less official at bats than a player who had zero walks that same season. Getting 200 walks shouldn't be counted against a player who happens to have a good eye, because that player may "create" more runs from those 200 walks than a player who had zero walks but 200 more outs. So to combat that error, Game Outs Used needs to be calculated and then compared against the total number of Runs-Created.

Check out this formula for Game Outs Used:

So I built that badass formula and then took Runs-Created, divided it by Game Outs Used, and then divided that by 26.72 (which is the total number of game outs available in a game, taking into account the .018 approximate number of errors per 27 outs in a Major League Baseball game). What I ended up with is the real sabermetric look at the offensive contributions of the 2010 Seattle Mariners based on runs-created per game.

Let's just say the findings were a bit ... surprising.

Seattle Mariners Runs-Created Game outs used Runs-Created/Game
Eliezer Alfonzo  3.89 11.676 8.90
Josh Bard 4.62 16.604 7.43
Ichiro Suzuki 41.20 152.878 7.20
Franklin Gutierrez  33.09 145.328 6.08
Josh Wilson  15.36 73.146 5.61
Mike Sweeney  14.04 68.398 5.49
Ryan Langerhans 3.86 19.55 5.27
Michael Saunders 6.05 42.028 3.85
Jack Wilson  7.33 60.65 3.23
Milton Bradley 12.29 107.606 3.05
Jose Lopez  19.82 173.986 3.04
Chone Figgins 18.83 171.4 2.93
Casey Kotchman 14.31 142.94 2.67
Rob Johnson  6.96 75.47 2.46
Adam Moore  3.75 44.974 2.23
Ken Griffey, Jr. 5.05 82.236 1.64
Matt Tuiasosopo  2.50 42.082 1.59
Eric Byrnes  1.18 29.42 1.08

Eliezer Alfonzo, come on down! You're the best sabermetric hitter on the Seattle Mariners!

Your prize?

Third-string catcher behind Rob Johnson and Adam Moore.

Go Mariners.

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