Monday, October 04, 2004

STL vs LA using Win Shares

I'm trying to write articles that aren't exactly like everyone else's. After all - why read my analysis when you can get the exact same thing somewhere else?

For that reason, I have decided to do a position by position comparison, as you will see at other outlets. But rather than using traditional statistics - or even worse, my gut instincts - I'm going to use Win Shares. What's more, since Win Shares are skewed towards players that get more playing time, I will be using Win Shares Above Average, or WSAA. These stats can be found at The Hardball Times. In a nutshell, Win Shares Above Average simply takes the amount of Win Shares a player has and compares that to what an average player would have over the same number of at-bats, innings pitched, or innings fielded.

Below I'll list players from each team, their WSAA, and provide some brief comments.

Starting Position Players

1st Base
Pujols 21
Green -1

Since this is the first set of stats I'm providing, let me comment. Shawn Green's negative 1 WSAA doesn't mean he was a horrible player this year. It does, however, mean that he provided 1 less win share than an average 1st baseman this season. Specifically, Green produced 17 Win Shares, while the average 1st baseman playing the same amount of time as Green produced 18 Win Shares. Fielding wise, the two were very close. Pujols' bat, however, was the big difference.

2nd Base
Womack 2
Cora 4

Basically, Cora's defense is the difference maker between these two. Hitting wise, they are somewhat similar.

3rd Base
Rolen 21
Beltre 19

Even with time off, Rolen's overall Win Share total (38) was higher than Beltre's (37). In raw numbers, Beltre actually had more defensive win shares. If Rolen had played another handful of games, however, that would not have been the case.

Renteria -1
Izturis 6

Simply put, Izturis was one of the best defensive shortstop in the NL this season, posting 7.1 defensive win shares. (Jack Wilson was first with an impressive 9.3 - in other words, he won 3 games with his glove this year!) Renteria has been off this year. Hopefully, he can still turn in a good few over the rst of the year.

Matheny -2
Mayne -3

This is an area where the Dodgers hurt themselves badly by trading away Lo Duca, who had 5 WSAA with the Dodgers.

Left Field
Sanders 2
Bradley 1

Actually, I'm not sure if Bradley or Werth plays left field since Finely came to town. Whatever the case, Sanders and Bradley match up very well, with Sanders getting a slight edge.

Center Field
Edmonds 19
Finley 2

Steve Finley is a fine ballplayer who has had a solid career. However, his 39 year old body just doesn't play as well as it used to. Look past the 36 home runs and remember his .271/.333/.490 line, which is an 823 OPS. Not that getting 36 home runs out of a centerfielder is a bad thing, mind you. His defense isn't what it used to be, but it's still solid. On the year, Finley had 4.8 Win Shares, compared to 6.5 for Edmonds.

Right Field
Walker 3
Werth 3

Kind of surprising, but Jayson Werth hangs in with Walker in this category. Basically, Werth is slightly better with the glove, Walker slightly better with the bat.

Overall, the Dodgers have slight advantages at 2nd and short, due to defense. MVP candidates Rolen and Beltre cancel each other out, with Rolen getting a slight edge. The Cardinals have huge advantages at 1st base and Centerfield, which should give them an edge in this series. Of course, I suspect that most people will assume that Edmonds and Finley are close to equal, with Pujols only having a moderate edge over Green.


I simply picked the top four members of each team's bench.

Mabry 1
Taguchi 1
Cedeno 0
Molina 0

Roberts 3
Hernandez 3
Ventura 1
Saenz 1

While I thought the Cardinals bench would stack up better, I suppose this should come as no surprise. Having veterans such as Dave Roberts and Robin Ventura available off of the bench is a great asset to a team. And don't be discouraged by the 0's listed by Cedeno and Molina. Having average players available off of the bench is something that many teams would like to have. In fact, compare Molina's WSAA to Matheny's and think about next year's starter.



Woody -1
Marquis 5
Morris -3
Suppan -2


Perez 3
Weaver 1
Lima 1

Interestingly, the Dodgers have a better showing in the rotation than I would have expected. Perez having a WSAA of 3 is no surprise, but Weaver and Lima being at positive 1 is interesting. Jason Marquis has a high WSAA due to his bat.


I listed the top 5 bullpen pitcher's for each team.

Isringhausen 4
Tavarez 3
King 3
Kline 3
Calero 2

Gagne 8
Carrarra 3
Brazoben 3
Sanchez 1
Alvarez 0

This information tells us a few things. Gagne is obviously better than Izzy (duh). But the Cardinals bullpen, as I mentioned earlier today, is deeper. Especially when you consider that Brazoban had a .370 OBP allowed in September, causing me to assume that the rookie isn't effective now that the league has seen him. Once again, the deadline deal with Florida hurts the Dodgers here, as Mota had 4 WSAA with LA. If Gagne really is hurt, they're going to miss having another guy in the pen that is essentially as good as Izzy.

Final Analysis

So, do we know anything we didn't know before? Sort of.

  1. The Cardinals starting lineup is better overall, both offensively and defensively, than that of the Dodgers.
  2. The Dodgers bench, including players like Dave Robert, Robin Ventura, and Jose Hernandez, is better than the Cardinals bench.
  3. The Dodgers rotation is better than the Cardinals, although not by a large margin.
  4. The Cardinals bullpen is quite a bit deeper than the Dodgers bullpen, even with Gagne.


At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really like your site. Just wanted to mention one thing quickly. You used Dave Roberts when discussing the Dodgers bench. Well, Roberts went to Boston in the Nomar trade, so the best guy on the Dodger bench (according to your numbers) doesn't play there any more. I guess that evens it up for the Cards a little more, huh?

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Robb said...

Well, I didn't realize that. That does even things up quite a bit. I was concerned that the Cards might not have enough lefty relievers to counter Roberts, Ventura, and Hernandez. With one of them gone, it's one less thing to worry about.

Thanks for the thumbs up, by the way.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Len said...

Quoth Robb: Since this is the first set of stats I'm providing, let me comment. Shawn Green's negative 1 WSAA doesn't mean he was a horrible player this year. It does, however, mean that he provided 1 less win share than an average 1st baseman this season.Yes but.... Have you any idea what the standard deviation is for the win share distribution among 1st basemen? One win share below average is so close to average that it's probably statistically insignificant, so I'd tend to call Green "average" for these purposes. It's only til you get a ways below average (say, oh, 3-5 or more, just to pull numbers out of my hat here) that you can truly say that someone's "below average". Ditto if he were one win share above average.... "Average" is really a clustering around the mean, and you can't read the number too strictly.

Not to pick on you, though. Great post.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Robb said...

No, I don't have access to any standard deviations in regard to the averages used by "The Hardball Times." Your logic is the exact reason as to why I didn't try to split hairs with this post on a position by position basis. For example - is Matheny really better than Mayne? If you just look at the data presented, the answer is yes. In reality, it's too close to call.

The only major differences we see in the lineup is Pujols over Green, Edmonds over Finley, and Izturis over Renteria.


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