Friday, September 28, 2007

Red October

Occasionally I have to do more than throw out my own often illogical ramblings and opinions and back-up statements I make with facts (otherwise I would qualify as a member of the Boston Media). So I am going to say something here and then throw some statistics in the readers face. And no, I stunk at math so you can be sure that I attribute the statistical analysis to who it belongs.

Statement of Opinion: the Red Sox should win the World Series because they have a team built for October baseball.

Statistical backing: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=548

Yes, Nate Silver at Baseball Prospectus has updated his Secret Sauce rankings. What is the secret sauce? Well, let me let Nate handle that:
The secret sauce ranking consists of three statistics within the category of pitching and defense - Equivalent Strikeouts Per Nine innings (EqK9), Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA), and Closer Performance (as measured by the WXRL of the pitcher with the most save opportunities) - that have been demonstrated to have a predictive relationship with success in the post-season.
Thanks, Nate. So basically the team that is most balanced with pitchers who get strikeouts (because that creates outs without runners advancing), who are above average fielding (because, dammit, defense counts for something in a short series), and have a shut-down closer at the end of a game.

Hmmm, maybe we should be paying off Nate to keep this stuff out of the hands of the Yankees. Anyway, the most interesting points that come out of the rankings (which I will not repeat in their entirety because, well, because I linked to the article already) is that the Red Sox are so far above everyone else. Let me illustrate: Nate, explain the rankings:

Teams are ranked from 1 to 30 in each category and the total rankings are added up to produce an overall score.
Therefore, a team ranking first in all three of these categories would be assigned a score of 3. A team ranking dead-last in all three of these categories would be assigned a score of 90.

The Red Sox total rank is 7.5. Next best is the Dodgers (who will not even make the playoffs thanks to the superior managing of Grady Little. Gee, why is the Red Sox cannot get a manager like that?) at 17. The Yankees are at 32.5 (great closer, excellent defense, lack of power pitchers in middle relief and starting). Oakland is last with a stunning 78 rating (someone wake up Billy Beane). Second best ranking other than LAD? Nate, what do you have to say?

Yes, the Secret Sauce is still predicting a Cubs-Red Sox World Series. Might be time to start repenting any unforgiven sins.
Hah! Nate, you so crazy!

OK, so all those Red Sox fans with your fingernails bit down to the crick, take a deep breath and remember that Theo built this team for October. Not August, not September, not April: October. Bring on the Indians (48), the Angels (27.5), or Yankees (32.5). Red Sox Nation is ready (to rumble, not to elect a president. Someone bring me the head of whoever is running this bologna over at NESN. I watch the Red Sox to see the game, not to hear the RemDawg talk about what shmoe should win the fake appointment).

Wait, Nate has one more point about this team that Theo Epstein has taken so much blame for putting together:
The Red Sox, in fact, might be one of the best Secret Sauce teams of all time, ranking in the Top 3 in all three categories. Everyone knows that the Red Sox have an excellent closer — the playoffs are about having an alpha dog in the bullpen, not about ‘pen depth. And their pitching staff can bring the heat. That their defense rates so well might be a little bit of a surprise, but Boston is third in the league in defensive efficiency, and FRAA at the team level is heavily correlated with that number.
Yes, Yes, YES! Less than a week to the playoffs. The Red Sox are ready to roll!

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