FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. What was Allen Craig’s WPA when he grounded into a double play with one out and the bases loaded down by one in the 8th with the greatest right-handed hitter ever on deck?

    Comment by Derek in The Rock — October 6, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  2. Nice to see Francisco’s HR put in perspective, it was certainly a shock to us Phillies fans, and now appears to be the only reason that we’re still alive in this series. It looks like the Braves and Jays fans would have been similarly shocked, considering how rarely used and unproductive Sprague and Cabrera were in ’92.

    You have a slight contradiction in your account of the Cabrera hit. Your narrative describes 2 outs being made prior to his at-bat, but then says it his hit came with 1 out.

    Comment by Bill — October 6, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  3. It was -.294…but I don’t think WPA accounts for the quality of the subsequent batter.

    Comment by Bill — October 6, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  4. Fixed. Thanks.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — October 6, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  5. Also, The Rajah might take offense to your comment.

    Comment by Phrozen — October 6, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  6. with a tweak of the stat, you could convert the WPA into a stat that takes into account the probability of winning the whole series (SWPA?). Cabrera’s hit being in game 7 would probably shoot way above Gibson’s HR in game 1. Of course, you could tweak it even further and convert it to a stat that accounts for the probability of winning the world series (WSWPA)–in which case Gibson might come out on top again.

    Comment by wahooo — October 6, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  7. Not that it matters to the content of the article, but WPA is Win Probability Added.

    Comment by DJG — October 6, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  8. Fixed. Thanks

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — October 6, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  9. Nice article. What tool did you use to research this?

    Comment by tomhaywood — October 6, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  10. Although now I’m confused, how can a player have a -1.0 WPA for a single at bat?

    Comment by DJG — October 6, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  11. Wendy, if you have still have the list handy, where did Matt Stairs’ moonball against Broxton rank? That was certainly one of the most memorable postseason pinch hits. I’ll forget about this Francisco bomb in two weeks, but I’ll be telling grand children (not necessarily mine) about the Stairs moonscraper.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — October 6, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

  12. To DJG: It was -.100 for Sprague, and I fixed it. Thanks.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — October 6, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

  13. This. It’s pretty easy to do too, these are the SWP’s for the leading team at the start of each game (add one win to each side for a divisional series):

    0-0 50.00%
    1-0 65.63%
    1-1 50.00%
    2-0 81.25%
    2-1 68.75%
    2-2 50.00%
    3-0 93.75%
    3-1 87.50%
    3-2 75.00%
    3-3 50.00%

    Francisco’s WPA of .407 should be multiplied by 0.5 (the difference between 3-2 & 2-3) to get a SWPA of .204.

    Gibson’s .870 gets multiplied by 0.3125 (the difference between 1-0 and 0-1) to give SWPA = .272

    Sprague’s .669 also gets multiplied by 0.3125 (difference between 2-0 and 1-1) giving SWPA = .209

    Cabrera’s .737 counts a full 1 on the multiplier since it was in Game 7, and by definition WP(Game) = WP(Series) at that point.

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — October 6, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

  14. I used Baseball-Reference’s Play Index. Here’s a link (I hope) to the results)

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — October 6, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  15. Stairs’ HR was next after Francisco’s at .401 WPA.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — October 6, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  16. Further to this, multiply by 0.5 for Championship Series & 0.25 for Divisional Series to get WSWPA, since those are your WP(WS) when you win them. Cabrera reduces to .369 but that’s still better than Gibson.

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — October 6, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  17. *Thanks

    Comment by tomhaywood — October 6, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  18. I just have to say, this article illustrates one of my favorite things about baseball. For any statistical observation, there are the specific stories attached. History, stories, people… baseball is just fantastic.

    Comment by Matt — October 6, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  19. You can never have a full 1.0 WPA in a single at bat. In fact, there must be some finite upper limit, assuming team talent is 50/50. Great trivia question.

    Comment by Slartibartfast — October 6, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

  20. Yes, I have to think a two-out walkoff grand slam down by three runs represents the biggest WPA you could have in one at bat. What’s the smallest — a baseloaded walkoff triple play down by 1?

    That is, unless you do something crazy like cause your team to forfeit when they’re up big. Maybe Danny Almonte once had a WPA near -1.0 on a single play when he played little league.

    Comment by DJG — October 6, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  21. How do you have a zero WPA for a pinch-hit appearance? Runner gets caught stealing for the third out? You get announced, other team changes pitcher, and new pinch-hitter is up?

    In other words, there is no way you can finish 1 PA and have a WPA of exactly zero; correct? Except perhaps if the game is already a really, really big blowout.

    Comment by Hizouse — October 6, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  22. Glad to see someone spending downtime while the steak is cooking so productively!

    Comment by Sheila — October 6, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  23. Two-out, bottom 9th (or 10th etc.) with the tying run on 1st (it doesn’t really matter about 2nd & 3rd, though having them both occupied prevents steals, I suppose) gives you WPA swings of the order of .920:

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — October 6, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  24. I just adjusted my WPA calculator to capture the aura of Kirk Gibson’s homer – his mangled legs, the tranquilizing voice of Vin Scully, the greatest mustache duel in the history of man, etc. – but when I ran the formula my laptop exploded, revealing a tiny, fist-pumping Kirk Gibson.

    Comment by Choo — October 6, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  25. Perhaps the most enjoyable 15 minutes you will spend all day:
    1988 World Series, Gm. 1 – Bottom 9

    Comment by Choo — October 6, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

  26. I was wondering the same thing. The precision looks to be three decimals, so if WP changed by less than 1/1000, then WPA might round to 0. This seems realistic to me in a very big blowout (certainly there are somewhat common scenarios where a team’s chances of coming back are less than 1 /1000), and teams will pinch hit often in blowouts, so maybe that is the explanation. But, I’m just guessing.

    Comment by DJG — October 6, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

  27. Speaking of quality of the subsequent batter, how can I get a note to Manuel? I have armchair managing to do:

    Put Pence back in the 5 spot!!! The team was on a scoring tear with Pence batting behind Howard. Why change what worked? Proposed lineup:

    1 Rollins
    2 Utley
    3 Victorino
    4 Howard
    5 Pence
    6 Ibanez
    7 Ruiz
    8 Polanco

    Let’s score some runs!

    Comment by Souled0ut1 — October 6, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  28. Nice work Wendy. I remember Gibson & Cabrera fondly, Sprague not so much!

    Comment by Jason Roberts — October 6, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

  29. If Pujols is the best right-handed batter in the lifetime of the majority of the human population, I think even the Rajah (not to mention Foxx and Dimaggio) would be okay with it.

    Comment by JG — October 6, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

  30. It could conceivably happen in a non-blowout if you make an out and advance a runner — one effect is negative, one positive, they could cancel out (though never exactly to 0). But I don’t know exactly in what situation that might happen.

    Comment by matt w — October 7, 2011 @ 12:46 am

  31. Great Stuff. This is exactly what I enjoy about baseball and statistics, the way they tell a story.

    Comment by JDanger — October 7, 2011 @ 8:30 am

  32. I cannot believe that Joe Carter’s Game 6 walk-off was only 0.596 WPA…

    Comment by es0terik — October 20, 2011 @ 10:30 am

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