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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Postseason Secret Sauce From The Pinstriped Bible

Stephen Goldman has some commentary on the playoff-bound teams based on Baseball Prospectus' "Secret Sauce":
No. 11 THE LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA, USA
The Angels get knocked down on the power pitching angle, as overall they are a tick below average in strikeouts per nine, and in defense, which has been just average or a little below. Call it the Bobby Abreu Effect. Closer Brien Fuentes leads the AL with 40 saves but has also blown six, and right-handed hitters are slugging .462 against him. None of this is a reason to take the Angels likely, as Jered Weaver and John Lackey, combined with their fine offense, should be able to keep them in at least the first two games of any short series. Still, this is not Mike Scioscia's usual flavor of team.

No. 2 LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Joe Torre's guys have perhaps the best defense in the game this year, which is a novel thought for those of us used to watching even Tommy Lasorda's good teams juggle balls. They lead the NL in turning balls in play into outs, receiving fine defensive performances around the infield (though Orlando Hudson has not been at his best) and from center fielder Matt Kemp. Manny Ramirez is the exception that proves the rule. They are third in the NL in strikeout rate, an advantage that doesn't wholly disappear when you start adjusting for park effects. Starter Chad Billingsley is whiffing eight per nine innings, lefty Clayton Kershaw 10, and closer Jonathan Broxton 13.6. It should be noted that the rest of the pen is not particularly intent on the strikeout, a possible vulnerability. Broxton has blown five saves in 39 chances, which is shaky by today's standards.

The whole thing's worth reading, and you definitely should. Via BTF.

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Comments:
While I buy into the secret sauce theory, it seems a bit short-sighted to use data from the whole season to determine the rankings. The Angels in particular have a completely different look to their pitching staff today than they did the first 4 months of the season. Starts by Loux, Palmer, O'Sullivan, Ortega, etc. did nothing to help the team's K rate, nor did the awful, AWFUL bullpen performance over the same time. Since then Jepsen and Bulger have emerged as reliable arms at the back end of the pen, and we've seen how good the starting staff has been this month, with very good K-rates to boot. I'll grant that the defense isn't anything too spectacular, and Fuentes is as scary as Frankie was (if not more), but Scioscia has already shown that he isn't shy about yanking him mid-inning if it looks like he doesn't have it. It'd be nice if he starts to use the pen more situationally come play off time, rather than the pass-the-baton method he's employed over the years. A guy can dream, can't he?
 
Yeah...
 
"None of this is a reason to take the Angels likely" ... they spent less time copy-editing this drivel than they did analyzing the club, not even mentioning Kazmir ... and people PAY for that analysis?
-RevHF
 
Mat -- don't think The Pinstriped Bible is for-pay content.
 

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