Still Left On Base

Shortly after my last post on this topic, Derek Jacques posted a follow-up post titled Still Stranded.  I just got to read it today as it is a locked-down article and I’m not a subscriber.  It is a free trial this week, so if you aren’t a Baseball Prospectus subscriber, hurry on down and read it.

Derek looks at several additional methods that were presented as feedback to his article, including my LOBR (R/LOB).  I was pretty pleased with that.  When he compared the results, the correlation of my method, 0.87, using data back to 1971 was highest of those using LOB (or BLOB).  The correlation of TOB to runs was much higher (called BRE in my last post), but that is to be expected (obvious statement #2 from the last post) and wasn’t the point of the original question.  All those numbers for 2007 are in my last post as well as in Derek’s 2nd article, just with different headers.

What is a Good LOB?

The original question in the article Stranded!, from BP reader JP, was:

Does the ‘Left on Base’ Statistic have any correlation to a team’s offensive success or failure?

My answer is simple.  YES!!!  However, just don’t look at the raw number.  Compare it to the Runs.  If the ratio, LOBR, is greater that 2:3 (R/LOB > .67) then your team did a decent job, win or lose.  If they perform higher than that over the course of the year, they’ll likely be in the top half in Runs Scored.

Looking at the All-Star game this year, the score was 4-3 for the American League.  However, the LOBR wasn’t pretty for either team.  The AL had a LOBR of 0.235 and the NL had a LOBR of 0.273.  The NL had the better LOBR, but it was horrible and only a slight advantage.

In a more day-to-day measure, the Braves just played a three game set to the Nationals.  Here are their LOBR stats (LOB).  Guess which games they won.

  • Braves 1.400 to Nats 0.857
  • 0.250 to 1.000
  • 0.545 to 1.250

If you said that the Braves won the first game and then lost the next two to the Nats, you are correct.  In the first game, the LOB is pretty close, as was the score, 7-6.  In the second game, the LOB was the same, but when you look at the LOBR, you can tell that the score wasn’t close.  It wasn’t as it was 8-2.  The third one finished with a nastier score of 15-6.

These games are a perfect example of looking at LOB in context.  By itself, it doesn’t mean much.  When you use Runs, you can then determine if your team is failing to get those runs around.  The Nationals had a higher LOB in two of the games, the big blowout and the one that they lost.  In the smaller blowout, both teams had the same number of runs.  The Nationals were more efficient (1.074 LOBR for the Nats vs 0.625 for the Braves) in the series and won it.

More runners is still key and will always give a better correlation, especially over time.  LOBR will give you instant feedback on how effective your offense was firing on any given day, or for the whole season.


The Top Minor League Organizations

Last month I ranked the organizations based upon some prospect lists out there. It wasn’t complete and had obvious room for error, but it was a quick and dirty approach.

Yesterday, Kevin Goldstein over at Baseball Prospectus completed his ranking of top minor league baseball organizations. I’m going to look at his top 19 (as those are the only ones I can see without paying) and compare them to my list to see how my methodology panned out. You can look at the bottom 15 list as well, the first 4 for free.

Team BP Rank My Rank
Rays 1 1
Athletics 2 7
Rangers 3 5
Red Sox 4 3
Dodgers 5 6
Yankees 6 4
Reds 7 2
Braves 8 9
Rockies 9 12
Orioles 10 16
Angels 11 8
Padres 12 17
Brewers 13 13
Nationals 14 15
Cardinals 15 20
Cubs 16 10
Pirates 17 22
Twins 18 24
Diamondbacks 19 14
Mariners N/A 11
Marlins N/A 18
Giants N/A 19
Blue Jays N/A 21
Tigers N/A 23
Mets N/A 25
Royals N/A 26
Indians N/A 27
Astros N/A 28
Phillies N/A 29
White Sox N/A 30

Of the ones that are on both lists, all are within 6 spots of my ranking, though the Mariners are already at least 9 spots out. I measured a standard deviation of 3.9 and an average miss of about 3 spots. Overall I would say that the correlation is pretty good. My bottom 6 didn’t crack his top 19 and our top 7 were the same, though with some changed positions. I did note that as things got further from the top spots the greater the variation between the two.

The Braves and Nationals each moved up one spot. No new news, but no bad news either.

The good news for Nationals’ fans is that the ranking for last year was 30. There is room for hope in a few years. They also have a shot a decent, and signable, pick this June with the number 9 slot. Just think, in 2011 they can be fighting with the Braves and Mets.

Why the Difference in the Two?

The differences seem to fall into two major categories. One is that some organizations with a lot of solid prospects, have a backlog at one position. That hurt an organization in BP’s rating system. The reverse of this is of course the organization with solid prospects everywhere. I may be able to modify my methodology to take this into account to a certain degree. Maybe I can give less credit for each subsequent player at any given position. I’ll have to play with it before next year.

The second major reason that some organizations, like the Athletics, have what is a large number of young talent that will be cracking the top 100 next year. Others, like the Reds, are top heavy. After their big guys, things are a little sparse. That is just a weakness to my methodology. If you want quick and dirty, little things will pop-up.

Baseball Prospects for 2008

I saw that both ESPN Scouts Inc. and Baseball Prospectus put out a list of their Top 100 Prospects January 29th. The list of prospects is all about generating hope for the future with me. In the 80s, it was my lifeline. In the 90s, it was a way to feel certain that things would continue. Now, it is all about getting back to the top.

Like always, I scoured the lists for names of players in the Braves organization. I then got aggressive and decided to put together a combined list and then see which teams had better upper-tier talent. I was hoping to get a feel into which teams had the best talent right now.

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