Legitimate MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Candidates using fWAR and rWAR

Introduction

Now that the Major League Baseball season is over (and what a final day it was), we can start talking about who deserves what award. There is plenty of disagreement about who will actually win, whether or not pitchers should win the MVP and if candidates should come from a winning team. But regardless of all of that, who are at least legitimate candidates that we should be talking about?

Method

I like the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) framework, but each execution of it obviously has its flaws (evaluation of defense being the largest one). The two most well-known WAR statistics come from Fangraphs (fWAR) and Baseball-Reference (rWAR). So we can just average these two statistics and use that, right? Well, there still may be some error there. So I have decided to take the average of fWAR and rWAR and then create a +/- 15% error on this average. So Jose Bautista finished the season with 8.4 fWAR and 8.6 rWAR, for an average WAR of 8.5. Multiplying this number by .85 and 1.15 gives a High WAR of 9.8 and a Low WAR of 7.2. The true measurement of how well he played this season probably falls somewhere in there.

If we look at the top player’s Low WAR and each of the next players’ High WAR, we should find a good list of players who should be in the MVP or Cy Young conversation for their league. I don’t believe that the vote should be based on WAR alone, but I do believe it is a good starting point.

Results

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Which MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA divisions have been dominated?

Introduction

The very first research-oriented blog post I ever did was in September 2010 and was titled “Problems of Parity.” I looked at the number of title winners in a few of the major sports and found that Major League Baseball doesn’t really have a problem with the same team winning all the time. However, there is a flip side to this that is blatantly obvious. What about one when one team dominates the division? Since 1995 when MLB instituted the wild-card, the Yankees have won the AL East 11 out of 16 times. That’s domination. But how does this compare to other divisions within baseball and within other sports?

Choosing the Data

I looked at all division winners for MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA in each sport’s current divisional setup and ignored this season for MLB and NFL. For MLB, this covers the years from 1995-2010; NFL, 2002-2010; NHL, 1998-2010; NBA, 2004-2010. Besides the fact that each league covers a different range of years, another problem emerges before the analysis even begins: Not every division has the same amount of teams. The NHL and NBA have exactly five teams in each of the six divisions, but the NFL has four teams in eight divisions and MLB has either four, five or six teams in six divisions. This was my solution to the problem: Divide the number of times each team has won the division by the number of years. Then, multiply that number by the number of teams in the division divided by 4.69. This is the average divisional size between the four sports in this study. This multiplicative factor gives a boost to teams in larger than average divisions as they have less of a chance of winning than a team in a smaller than average division.

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MLB Team Rankings and Updated Standings – Week 26

Weekly rankings based on a 3rd order winning percentage calculation, which has 3 steps:

1: Convert offense and pitching statistics (number of singles, home runs, hits allowed, etc.) into expected runs scored or allowed.

2: Convert that to a winning percentage

3: Adjust for quality of opponents. (I weight the winning percentages so that there are exactly 15*162, or 2,430 calculated wins)

Data from Baseball-Reference.

Rankings

Rank Team 3rd Order W% Change
1 Boston Red Sox 0.611 0
2 Philadelphia Phillies 0.592 0
3 Texas Rangers 0.587 1
4 New York Yankees 0.586 -1
5 Milwaukee Brewers 0.545 1
6 Tampa Bay Rays 0.545 -1
7 Atlanta Braves 0.536 0
8 Detroit Tigers 0.533 0
9 San Francisco Giants 0.525 4
10 St. Louis Cardinals 0.519 0
11 Los Angeles Angels 0.518 -2
12 Arizona Diamondbacks 0.515 0
13 Los Angeles Dodgers 0.513 1
14 New York Mets 0.511 -3
15 Toronto Blue Jays 0.506 1
16 Florida Marlins 0.503 -1
17 Colorado Rockies 0.491 0
18 Cincinnati Reds 0.485 0
19 Washington Nationals 0.483 2
20 Oakland Athletics 0.482 2
21 Cleveland Indians 0.481 -1
22 Chicago White Sox 0.477 -3
23 Kansas City Royals 0.475 1
24 San Diego Padres 0.466 -1
25 Seattle Mariners 0.462 0
26 Chicago Cubs 0.450 0
27 Baltimore Orioles 0.425 0
28 Houston Astros 0.410 0
29 Pittsburgh Pirates 0.394 0
30 Minnesota Twins 0.377 0

Follow the jump to see updated divisional standings.

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New Ottoneu Pick Six Rankings Blog

I started a new blog where I will post the results of my Ottoneu Pick Six ranking system. Ottoneu is a daily fantasy baseball game where you pick six players and a point system determines how well you perform. You can read more about it on Fangraphs.

Anyway, here is the website if you’re interested: Ottoneu WordPress


MLB Team Rankings and Updated Standings – Week 25

Weekly rankings based on a 3rd order winning percentage calculation, which has 3 steps:

1: Convert offense and pitching statistics (number of singles, home runs, hits allowed, etc.) into expected runs scored or allowed.

2: Convert that to a winning percentage

3: Adjust for quality of opponents. (I weight the winning percentages so that there are exactly 15*162, or 2,430 calculated wins)

Data from Baseball-Reference.

Rankings

Rank Team 3rd Order W% Change
1 Boston Red Sox 0.614 0
2 Philadelphia Phillies 0.604 1
3 New York Yankees 0.593 -1
4 Texas Rangers 0.580 0
5 Tampa Bay Rays 0.545 1
6 Milwaukee Brewers 0.537 -1
7 Atlanta Braves 0.537 0
8 Detroit Tigers 0.527 0
9 Los Angeles Angels 0.518 0
10 St. Louis Cardinals 0.516 2
11 New York Mets 0.513 0
12 Arizona Diamondbacks 0.512 1
13 San Francisco Giants 0.507 1
14 Los Angeles Dodgers 0.505 1
15 Florida Marlins 0.503 2
16 Toronto Blue Jays 0.503 -6
17 Colorado Rockies 0.496 2
18 Cincinnati Reds 0.495 -2
19 Chicago White Sox 0.492 -1
20 Cleveland Indians 0.486 0
21 Washington Nationals 0.484 1
22 Oakland Athletics 0.481 -1
23 San Diego Padres 0.472 0
24 Kansas City Royals 0.464 0
25 Seattle Mariners 0.463 0
26 Chicago Cubs 0.455 0
27 Baltimore Orioles 0.419 0
28 Houston Astros 0.403 0
29 Pittsburgh Pirates 0.397 0
30 Minnesota Twins 0.381 0

Follow the jump to see updated divisional standings.

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Which Players Benefited Most from Triple-Crown Stats?

This post was born out of a conversation randomly started by Ronit Shah on Twitter. He asked me:

“Is there a more interesting player page than this one? http://j.mp/pIN4hF #CoorsEffect”

The page links to Dante Bichette and I did a little research, eventually concluding that Bichette’s slash line was .360/.397/.642 at home and .268/.303/.431 away from 1993 to 1999. He also had a HR/PA of 0.06 at home versus only 0.03 away and hit 1.5 times more extra base hits at home than he did on the road.

Satchel Price decided to chime in, asking the question I asked in the title: “Has any player ever benefitted more from triple crown stats? Bad defense, rarely walked, played in Coors during the steroid era.”

I was interested to see what I could find on this, so I made up an analytical tool. I downloaded all player careers for all qualified batters from Fangraphs. Then I found the average and standard deviation for home runs, runs batted in and batting average for all of these players. Finally, I used the formula (player HR – avg HR)/(SD HR) to find some sort of variance (I use a similar method for fantasy baseball rankings). Then, I added up all of these variances for each player and graphed them versus fWAR. I have basically no idea what this is measuring, but it’s measuring…something. I deleted all players who have a variance below negative 4, leaving me with this:

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MLB Team Rankings and Updated Standings – Week 24

Weekly rankings based on a 3rd order winning percentage calculation, which has 3 steps:

1: Convert offense and pitching statistics (number of singles, home runs, hits allowed, etc.) into expected runs scored or allowed.

2: Convert that to a winning percentage

3: Adjust for quality of opponents. (I weight the winning percentages so that there are exactly 15*162, or 2,430 calculated wins)

Data from Baseball-Reference.

Rankings

Rank Team 3rd Order W% Change
1 Boston Red Sox 0.617 0
2 New York Yankees 0.609 0
3 Philadelphia Phillies 0.597 0
4 Texas Rangers 0.570 0
5 Milwaukee Brewers 0.548 2
6 Tampa Bay Rays 0.546 -1
7 Atlanta Braves 0.535 -1
8 Detroit Tigers 0.521 1
9 Los Angeles Angels 0.512 2
10 Toronto Blue Jays 0.511 5
11 New York Mets 0.510 -3
12 St. Louis Cardinals 0.510 -2
13 Arizona Diamondbacks 0.509 3
14 San Francisco Giants 0.505 -2
15 Los Angeles Dodgers 0.499 -1
16 Cincinnati Reds 0.498 -3
17 Florida Marlins 0.498 5
18 Chicago White Sox 0.491 -1
19 Colorado Rockies 0.491 -1
20 Cleveland Indians 0.491 -1
21 Oakland Athletics 0.486 -1
22 Washington Nationals 0.481 1
23 San Diego Padres 0.476 -2
24 Kansas City Royals 0.469 1
25 Seattle Mariners 0.457 -1
26 Chicago Cubs 0.454 0
27 Baltimore Orioles 0.414 0
28 Houston Astros 0.405 1
29 Pittsburgh Pirates 0.404 -1
30 Minnesota Twins 0.385 0

Follow the jump to see updated divisional standings.

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