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# Dependent on pitching or hitting?

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This article will introduce two new statistics aimed at deciding if a team is dependant on hitting or pitching. It will also allow us to compare two teams and decide which team is more dependent on hitting or pitching.

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In one of my recent I looked into disproving an old baseball clichÃ©, â€œgood pitching and fielding wins Championshipsâ€. After much effort I could not adequately disprove this. The conclusions that I did come to were.

Â Good pitching is more likely to get a team into the playoffs than average pitching.

Â Average pitching teams is at nearly discernable disadvantage to good pitching teams in a 5 or 7 game playoff series.

As you may notice, the qualitative measure of â€œgoodâ€ and â€œaverageâ€ is very general. This topic created much discussion in the MUD.com circle but all arguments were flawed in one way or another.

Early â€“ ranked teams mostly by dividing league rankings into thirds and grouping teams this way. Many teams overlapped, teams that I ranked as â€œAverageâ€ were really closer to the best team than the medium team.

Daperman â€“ thought that if a teamâ€™s pitching was â€œgood enoughâ€ they would be able to win over a â€œgoodâ€ team, this is more the same idea as mine above but without a real quasi-measurement.

K-Man â€“ wanted to grade teams as average or above average. This grouping again, doesnâ€™t allow for â€˜bubbleâ€™ teams. For example, a team with 80 wins is usually in the same class as a team with 82 wins, although one is above average and the other is below average. Simply, an 82-win team has more in common with an 80-win team than a 105-win team.

Callum â€“ He graded teams reliance on hitting or pitching by merely how they ranked within their league. For example, a team that was first in league batting and second in league pitching is more reliant on hitting. This doesnâ€™t take into account any statistical inference apart from the standing.

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What I have developed here is a â€œDependant Differentialâ€ (DD). What it does is grade a teamâ€™s type with a formula. The formula is a Pythagorean function.

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Firstly, I isolate a teams RF and RA. I put RF and RA through the formula so determine what the winning percentage would be if the team produced at the league average the for both their RF and RA.

Lets look at a team and run to formula.

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RF |
lg avg RF |
RA |
lg avg RA |

Toronto Blue Jays – 2006 |
809 |
804.42 |
754 |
788.64 |

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## Isolated RF

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___RF ^{1.83}__

(RF^{1.83 }+ lg avg RA^{1.83})

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= __809 ^{1.83}__

(809^{1.83}+788.64^{1.83})

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= 0.530

= 85 wins

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## Isolated RA

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# lg avg RF^{1.83}

(lg avg RF^{1.83 }+ RA^{1.83})

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= 0.512

= 83 wins

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From this we can see that the 2006 Blue Jays counted almost equally on pitching and hitting to win games. In fact, a bit surprising to most, the Jays pitching carried them a little bit more than hitting.

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The next step is to put these numbers on a measurable, comparable scale. I simply subtracted Isolated RA from Isolated RF. This gives us a plus/minus ratio. In the Jays case we get a number â€“0.018.

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-0.018!

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What does this mean? When all teams are put through this formula we get a scale of numbers. A measure of â€˜0â€™ (zero) is average. A team with a DD of â€˜0â€™ will score the league average runs and the give up the league average runs. The further a team is above zero the more dependant they are on hitting to win games. The further the team is below zero the more dependant on pitching. The Jays â€“0.018 means they are more dependant on pitching but on a very small scale. This number can be thought of as a percentage too. The Jays are 1.8% more dependant on pitching.

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To give examples of teams with a large Dependant Differential one way or the other we look the 1996 Rockies who had a DD of 0.190 or were 19% more dependant on hitting. This said, if their pitchers had performed at least at the league average they would have won 95 games instead of 83 and probably been in the playoffs. At the other end of the scale are the 2003 Dodgers. They had a Dependence Differential of â€“0.260 or they were 26% more dependant on pitching to win games. The Dodgers missed the playoffs with 85 wins that year. If their hitting had performed at league average they could have expected to win 102 games!

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Those are two extreme examples. Most teams fit into a 5% difference one way or the other. The â€™03 Dodgers were a great pitching team with terrible hitting while the â€™96 Rockies were a great hitting team with terrible pitching but both teams ended the season with almost the same record. This leads into another function that Dependence Differential allows us to do.

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While DD does not give us a read of how good a team will be as we see with the â€™96 Rockies and the â€™03 Dodgers (the Cubs and Cardinals had virtually the same DD but one was in 1^{st} the other in 6^{th} in the NL Central). It allows us to compare teams with similar records and determine if one has a comparative advantage over another, or a â€œComparative Dependant Differentialâ€ (CDD).

I will use the playoff teams from 2006 to compare.

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With lg avg pitch |
With lg avg hitting |
DD |

NYY |
.575 |
.522 |
0.053 |

LAD |
.520 |
.512 |
0.008 |

NYM |
.528 |
.524 |
0.003 |

STL |
.498 |
.505 |
-0.008 |

OAK |
.490 |
.546 |
-0.057 |

DET |
.519 |
.580 |
-0.061 |

MIN |
.507 |
.574 |
-0.067 |

SD |
.468 |
.558 |
-0.090 |

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We see the Yankees were the only team to have a considerable dependence on hitting. The Cards, the World Series champs had a very marginal dependence on pitching, however, the Yankees pitching was still better than that of the Cardinals. In the LDS the Cards matched up with another pitching dependant team. The Cards however, relied almost 8% more on hitting than the Padres. They also had a CDD on hitting versus the Tigers in the World Series. It may seems odd that St.Louisâ€™ was below average league in hitting but has a comparative hitting advantage over the best hitting teams. Even though Detroit was a better hitting team, St. Louis depended 5% more on hitting than Detroit.

Now, for the next step – to compare all WS Championships in the classic clichÃ© â€œpitching and fielding wins Championshipsâ€.

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There have been 102 World Series Champions since 1903. Of those teams, only 2 were match-ups of dead even teams, teams that had no CDD over the other. Of the other 100 winners, 48 were CDD hitting and 52 were CDD pitching. In other words a team that is dependant on pitching will win 52% of the time. There is also a no advantage a team gets if when they move along the dependence scale. For example, the â€™65 Dodgers were 19% more dependant on pitching than the Twins and won. The â€™66 Orioles were 22% more dependant on hitting and won. In the chart below I have outlined the results for clarity.

Type of team |
1-5% |
6-10% |
10-15% |
16%+ |

CDD on hit |
17 |
20 |
8 |
3 |

CDD on pitch |
27 |
12 |
10 |
3 |

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The CDD like I said is only really useful in comparing teams with similar winning percentages. Comparing World Series teams I thought would be useful. I hope we see that the CDD dispels the mythical advantage that pitching has over hitting. If attempting to make a prediction based on this, any house in Las Vegas would give even money on such a wager.

With all of this said, what is your overall recommendation to a GM in terms of roster construction for overall success?

Good question, this is intended more as a popular trend dispeller rather than a managing tool. Just looking at teams that DD of more than 5% either pitching or hitting the playoffs about 16% of the time. There is still a slight advantage teams dependant on pitching have. 82 teams have made the playoffs with a 5% or more dependance on pitching while 56 teams have made the playoffs with a 5% or more dependance on hitting. This ratio has shrunk considerably since divison play has begun. So, if I were to advise a GM on roster construction, I would have to tell him, that with the smallest of margins a team dependant on pitching should be more successful. However, if someone were to say “Pitching and Fielding win Championships” I would have to ask the person to make me a wager and if they are making such a claim I would need hefty odds coming my way. While I know that the margin of difference is almost dead even.

That wager wouldn’t be able to come to fruition since you won’t be able to come to an agreement on what “pitching and defense wins championships” really means. Obviously it is open to interpretation based on the many angles that many people have approached it and to say that any argument is flawed is flawed in itself.

Also, with roster construction, what factor would a player’s defensive skill level play?

This is no argument. This is a proof.

And just to clear things up, when I say “pitching” my stats are always R/G not ERA. In regards to roster construction. There are so many intangables here, that I cannot even make a prediction. But a guess would be the higher a teams DD pitching is the more of a postive impact a players defence has had on his team. I am interested in exploring this further “How much more do the Jays depend on Halladay than Wells to win games” is a study I will look into, if the 2006 Jays are DD pitching how much of that is accounted for by Wells’ GG outfielding? I am also interested in how different managers deal with different team types, if they are able adapt or do they change a team etc.

I will look into how this is going to affect individual players. First I am going to try to look at BPF in comparison to DD. . I already see that teams that play in a park that gives an advantage tend to one or the other, Dodgers have only been DD hitting 3 times since 1962. Red Sox have only been DD pitching 5 times since 1950. Whereas the Yankees are 50/50 in their history.

Park Effects! Park Effects!

Of course the Red Sox and Rockies will always come out dependent on hitting, and the Dodgers on pitching. The study ought to take environs into account.

I said, “I already see that teams that play in a park that gives an advantage tend to one or the other”. Park factors will make a difference. But I can’t see how it would have any difference on CDD.