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Advanced Moneyball statistics for the 2012 Baseball season – WAR, FIP, and OPS

Moneyball (the movie) introduced the basic concept of advanced statistical analysis to a mainstream audience. Now that we’re talking about advanced stats (short-handed as sabermetrics, thanks to Bill James of the Society for American Baseball Research) and great sites like Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs, let’s take a closer look.

 

OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging)

This is an easy-to-understand offensive metric that provides a huge advance beyond the “basic” stats of RBIs, batting average and home runs. OPS is simply on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (total bases divided by at-bats). It’s essentially a way to look at how a player contributes both in terms of getting on base and hitting for power.

2011 major league OPS leaders: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (1.056); Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (1.033); NL MVP Ryan Braun, Brewers (.994); Matt Kemp, Dodgers (.986).

 

WAR: Wins Above Replacement

WAR, wins above replacement, is about as close to a “What does this player really mean to my team?” catchall valuation as we’re going to get. Its definition is straightforward: How many more wins does a player add above a replacement-level player?

Baseball-Reference’s key to WAR: 8+ WAR is an MVP candidate, 5+ WAR is All-Star Level, 2+ WAR is a solid starter, 0-2 WAR is a bench player (a 24th/25th man on the roster), while anything below 0 is replacement level.

According to FanGraphs, Jacoby Ellsbury led the majors with an otherworldly WAR of 9.4 in 2011. Kemp followed at 8.7, with Bautista behind him at 8.3 and Braun at 7.8. On the other end of the spectrum, Raul Ibanez registered a minus-1.3 WAR (probably one reason why he’s looking for work right now). On the mound, Halladay led all pitchers with an 8.2 WAR. Verlander had an impressive 7.0 WAR and NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw was 6.8.

 

FIP: Fielding Independent Pitching

We’re all comfortable with ERA as a basic pitching statistic. But ERA gives us only the average of earned runs per nine innings. It’s simple and straightforward. Low ERA is good. Simple. But what if there was a way to factor out all the things that the pitcher can’t control?

Turns out some really smart guys devised FIP, a formula that includes the things pitchers can control — home runs, walks, hit by pitch and strikeouts — and eliminates everything else (hits, errors, quality of fielders, etc.). FIP does what it says: It looks at pitching independent of fielding and other variables that impact a pitcher’s performance.

FIP is an excellent way to predict a pitcher’s future performance.

Let’s take a look at some notable pitchers to see how their ERA and FIP looked in 2011: Roy Halladay (Phillies): 2.35 ERA, 2.20 FIP; Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): 2.28 ERA, 2.47 FIP; Justin Verlander (Tigers): 2.40 ERA, 2.99 FIP.

All three had great years, but you’ll see that except for Halladay, all of them had higher FIP than ERA. Does that mean that a regression is in order?

You should look for pitchers with a higher FIP/ERA differential because that’s where the pitching values can be found. An example would be Toronto starter Brandon Morrow. His ERA was a not-great 4.72 but his FIP was a respectable 3.64. The 1.08 ranked as the third-highest FIP/ERA differential in the majors.

via ESPN Women – contains four more saberstats: wOBA, VORP, BABIP, UZR.

ESPNW – dedicated to serving female athletes and fans

ESPNW is the first ESPN business dedicated to serving female athletes and fans.

We’ll shine a brighter spotlight on women’s sports, and put you in touch with top female athletes from across the globe.

We’ll give you added perspective on the men’s and women’s sports stories of the day — with articles, blogs, videos and more on the players, games and scores that are top of mind for you.

And we’ll offer personal training tips and guidance from pro athletes, trainers and experts to help you connect with your inner athlete.

ESPNW

A great idea considering that “women make up 44 percent of football fans, 45 percent of baseball fans and 36 percent of professional men’s basketball fans, according to research conducted by the sports leagues.”

Of course, some have complained that it segregates women’s sports (why not put it on ESPN’s front/main page), but here the numbers don’t lie either.

“Men account for 76% of ESPN’s overall viewership. And just two types of programming it produces draws majority-female audiences: The National Spelling Bee on ABC (63% female) and cheerleading shows on ESPN2 (52%) — with ESPN2′s Wimbledon coverage in third place with 48%.” – USA Today

Which is just plain pathetic. Those female fans are not being converted into viewers. Perhaps, it is the overabundance of macho-male announcers and newscasters?

I think the best way to jumpstart this movement is to begin with a niche website that builds a following. Establish the ways that women want consume sports, instead of shoe-horning them into the preferred men’s way.

That seems to be exactly what ESPNW is doing…and by the way, I kinda like their articles better!

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