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Question for the stat guys between pitching and hitting?


danzig6767

I don't read much on sabermetrics and baseball studies, so i don't know if this has been looked into to have an answer, but i was curious about something.

 

Let's say hypothetically you had 10-20 teams who had lead their league in runs scored, but were also last in ERA. On the flip side, you had the same number of teams who lead their league in ERA, but were last in runs scored.

 

On average, should the two sides be expected to finish roughly the same record wise if also hypothetically the team defenses weren't all that different?

 

I ask because i don't know if this is mainly just something i'm wrongly perceiving, but it seems like more often than not that teams with good pitching, but very mediocre to poor offenses are able to remain more competitive than good hitting teams who have a bad pitching staff. Is that perception more myth than backed up by facts, if something like that has been looked at?

 

BTW, i understand that my question lacks full data since a team last in ERA can vary on just how bad they are, same with how many runs a top offense scores in given years.

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I ask because i don't know if this is mainly just something i'm wrongly perceiving, but it seems like more often than not that teams with good pitching, but very mediocre to poor offenses are able to remain more competitive than good hitting teams who have a bad pitching staff. Is that perception more myth than backed up by facts, if something like that has been looked at?

In Baseball Prospectus's Baseball Between the Numbers, the authors studied run scoring as it correlated to winning games, and found (not surprisingly) that the single most important thing a team can do is prevent runs from scoring -- runs allowed, not runs scored, had the strongest correlation to winning games. So no, I don't think you're perceiving it incorrectly.

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Thanks TooLive. I wonder why that is?

 

In general, i tend to be skeptical of a lot of the cliches which regularly get thrown out there by sports announcers and commentators, but when most in baseball talk about how if a team pitches and plays defense well, that they'll usually be at least competitive even if the offense is a weakness, it does seem to play out that way more often than with good hitting teams who have poor pitching.

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The old adage is that a good defense will beat a good offense. I think that applies to baseball, too.

 

Look at the Giants. They've won two of the last three World Series. They didn't exactly have a great lineup. Nobody that really scared you outside of Posey last year. They did it with defense and pitching. They didn't score a lot, but they kept you from scoring at all.

 

Hitting good Major League pitching is, in my opinion, the hardest thing to do in sports. If you have a great hitter, they're going to fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate. And when a truly great pitcher is facing them, that rate of success can drop even more.

 

As much as losing Prince Fielder stings, the decline of our pitching is what's killing this team.

 

Look at our pitching numbers as a team in 2011, 2012 and this season:

 

2011 (96-66) 3.63 ERA (7th in NL of 16 teams). WHIP 1.240 (3rd in NL). K:BB 2.86 (2nd in NL). 7.8 K/9 IP (5th in NL).

2012 (83-79) 4.22 ERA (13th in NL of 16 teams). WHIP 1.364 (13th in NL). K:BB 2.67 (6th in NL). 8.7 K/9 IP (1st in NL).

2013 (16-24) 4.60 ERA (15th in NL of 15 teams). WHIP 1.367 (13th in NL). K:BB 2.56 (5th in NL). 7.0 K/9 IP (11th in NL)

 

We are allowing more runners to reach base, and more of them are scoring. Now, compare those stats to our offensive production:

 

2011 (96-66) runs scored 721, 4.45 per game (5th in NL of 16 teams). OBP .325 (5th in NL). SLG .425 (2nd in NL). OPS .750 (2nd in NL)

2012 (83-79) runs scored 776, 4.79 per game (1st in NL of 16 teams). OBP .325 (5th in NL). SLG .437 (1st in NL). OPS .762 (2nd in NL)

2013 (16-24) runs scored 169, 4.22 per game (8th in NL of 15 teams). OBP .317 (8th in NL). SLG .422 (2nd in NL). OPS .739 (3rd in NL)

 

Run differential

2011 4.45 - 3.63 = +0.82 RPG

2012 4.79 - 4.22 = +0.57 RPG

2013 4.22 - 4.60 = -0.38 RPG

 

We are giving up, on average, a run more per game in 2013 than we did in 2011.

There are three things America will be known for 2000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music and baseball. They're the three most beautifully designed things this culture has ever produced. Gerald Early
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I would guess that if you are extremely deficient in one are or the other you are going to lose a lot of games. Probably be equally bad. If on the other hand you had a top of the league scoring team and average pitching vs league average offense and top of the league pitching, the team with better pitching would win more games. You can give up an infinite amount of runs but you only need to have one more run to win.

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I blame Wang.

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Maybe it has to do with run distribution. Good offenses go in spurts. Good pitching/defense seems to be more consistent. Keep yourself in the game by keeping the score low and you give yourself a better chance to win? Just throwing that out there with no data to back it up.
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The old adage is that a good defense will beat a good offense. I think that applies to baseball, too.

 

Look at the Giants. They've won two of the last three World Series.

 

Exactly. That is what I was going to say: The San Francisco Giants wave "hello"

 

Pitching & Defense are the most important components of winning baseball games

The David Stearns era: Controllable Young Talent. Watch the Jedi work his magic!
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I would guess that if you are extremely deficient in one are or the other you are going to lose a lot of games. Probably be equally bad. If on the other hand you had a top of the league scoring team and average pitching vs league average offense and top of the league pitching, the team with better pitching would win more games. You can give up an infinite amount of runs but you only need to have one more run to win.

 

This would be my take on it. I am not educated in the statistics, but this makes a lot of sense to me.

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Pitching & Defense are the most important components of winning baseball games

 

And I would contend that it is almost exactly 50% of the components that wins games. Now, if we are talking about how 2-3 elite starting pitchers on one team can rampage through the playoffs, sure. Otherwise, I am not understanding the argument.

 

Let's say league average runs/game is 4.5 and we have two teams:

 

Team A:

6 runs scored/game

6 runs given up/game

 

Team B:

3 runs scored/game

3 runs given up/game

 

Is the theory that team B should be expected to win against A more often than 50% of the time? I will have to ponder that but it would suggest a run saved is worth more than a run scored and the free market does not seem to support that. Not at all.

 

Certainly, an extreme offense that only scores in bunches (one that only walked or hit HRs, for instance) would have more 6+ run games than an average team. That would hurt their expected win% but I don't believe that to be a very large factor for a real team.

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Maybe it has to do with run distribution. Good offenses go in spurts. Good pitching/defense seems to be more consistent. Keep yourself in the game by keeping the score low and you give yourself a better chance to win? Just throwing that out there with no data to back it up.

 

Bulls eye. I think over the long run, a team with outstanding pitching and defense will be more successful than a team with great hitting.

 

Offense is sexy. "Chicks dig the long ball", etc etc. Long home runs make sports center. While you don't see a lot of Giants rounding the bases, when they do, they do it dreaming about the shiny rings they have back at home.

 

It's no coincidence that the two times the Brewers have gotten into the playoffs recently, it's been pitching that's led the way. We don't get into the playoffs if not for C.C. Sabathia pitching out of his mind in 2008. And, we don't get in, and make it to the NLCS in 2011, if Gallardo and Greinke aren't an outstanding top-of-the-rotation one-two punch.

 

Can the inference that the Brewers have not been successful as a franchise because of their lack of pitching be made? Perhaps. How many twenty game winners have the Brewers had? When was the last time the Brewers had a Gold Glove winner (Gold Gloves being an accurate gauge of defensive ability is another discussion altogether). The Brewers are revered for hitting home runs. Look at how their rosters have been constructed. The Brewers are near the top of the home run leader board nearly every season. In the 80's, it was "Bambi's Bombers" with Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie, Cecil Cooper, Robin Yount, Ted Simmons, etc. In the early 2000's, it was Sexson, Burnitz, Jenkins. More recently, it's been Braun, Fielder, Hart, Weeks.

 

Maybe we need to completely rethink how our team is constructed.

There are three things America will be known for 2000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music and baseball. They're the three most beautifully designed things this culture has ever produced. Gerald Early
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