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Daily Notes, With an Expected wOBA Experiment

Posted By Carson Cistulli On July 19, 2012 @ 10:26 am In Daily Notes | 8 Comments

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. Expected wOBA Leaderboards
2. Notable MLB Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Expected wOBA Leaderboards
A Note on What Is Expected wOBA
In the not very distant past, I experimented in the Notes with something called “Expected wRC+.” Expected wRC+ (or, xRC+) was essentially a version of Bradley Woodrum’s Should Hit formula (itself more or less a FIP for hitters with BABIP included) but with regressed (as opposed to raw) home-run, walk, and strikeout rates as the inputs. Also, for xRC+, BABIP was replaced by expected BABIP (xBABIP), per the formula (adjusted for 2012 league averages) proposed by user slash12 at Beyond the Boxscore in 2009.

The idea behind xRC+ was to estimate something like a player’s true talent over the course of X plate appearances. Of course, the methodology wasn’t flawless: wRC+ is a park-adjusted stat, for example, while the inputs for xRC+ were all expressly not park-adjusted. Also, while I’d adjusted the xBABIP formula to produce a league-average figure equivalent to the league-average for BABIP in 2012, it’s also the case that the I had not addressed the way in which the different inputs were weighted against each other. (Because I don’t know how to do that, is why.)

Fortunately, since my initial clumsy experiments with xRC+, Woodrum has made some new and useful contributions apropos fielding-independent offense — not only producing a formula to express a fielding-independent offensive stat in terms of wOBA (as opposed to wRC+), but also revisiting slash12′s xBABIP formula to best represent the current offensive (and, of course, defensive) environment.

For the leaderboards which follow, I’ve used a methodology quite similar to the one I utilized for xRC+. Expected wOBA (like xRC+) draws heavily from Woodrum’s work on fielding-independent offense — except, in addition to using regressed (as opposed to raw) home-run, walk, and strikeout rates as the inputs, I’ve also used a regressed xBABIP. As xBABIP is essentially a product of the distribution of different sorts of batted balls, and the last of the relevant batted-ball types to become reliable (in terms of sample) is fly-ball rate (at 250 plate appearances), I’ve decided to regress xBABIP to that 250 PA figure.

Is this methodology flawed? The contingency is probable, reader. However, it’s not very flawed, and the seductive power of the internet tables below — internet tables full of numbers that purport to reveal a player’s True Talent — renders the experience mostly pleasant, at worst.

Expected wOBA Leaders, 2012
Here are the leaders in Expected wOBA (xWOBA, in this case) among all batters in 2012. Note that anything beginning with an -x- has been regressed. Note also that when Expected Expected Expected BABIP is finally discovered inside a computer, it will be the sexiest metric available.


Name Team PA xHR% xBB% xK% SB% xXBABIP xWOBA
Josh Hamilton Rangers 358 7.8% 10.1% 23.7% 1.7% .335 .435
Ryan Braun Brewers 373 7.0% 10.2% 18.5% 4.3% .328 .435
Joey Votto Reds 370 3.8% 17.8% 17.6% 1.4% .367 .428
Adam Dunn White Sox 387 7.2% 18.9% 36.2% 0.3% .336 .423
Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 377 6.6% 10.9% 15.6% 2.4% .306 .421
Andrew McCutchen Pirates 366 6.0% 8.5% 18.0% 3.8% .344 .421
David Ortiz Red Sox 379 6.1% 14.8% 12.9% 0.0% .292 .420
Robinson Cano Yankees 386 5.4% 8.5% 14.2% 0.3% .347 .415
Mike Trout Angels 316 4.1% 8.5% 19.6% 9.5% .372 .412
Jose Bautista Blue Jays 394 6.9% 14.7% 15.5% 1.3% .265 .412

Expected wOBA Laggards, 2012
Here are the bottom-10 hitters this season by Expected wOBA:


Name Team PA xHR% xBB% xK% SB% xXBABIP xWOBA
Ryan Raburn Tigers 198 1.2% 5.6% 23.7% 0.5% .246 .237
Kurt Suzuki Athletics 254 0.4% 3.5% 18.5% 0.4% .267 .241
Clint Barmes Pirates 276 1.5% 1.8% 21.7% 0.0% .274 .250
Rick Ankiel Nationals 171 2.8% 7.2% 34.5% 0.6% .264 .254
Brett Hayes Marlins 91 1.9% 5.9% 29.7% 1.1% .291 .263
Brooks Conrad - – - 90 2.9% 7.5% 32.5% 0.0% .272 .266
Ryan Flaherty Orioles 107 2.4% 4.8% 26.9% 0.9% .281 .269
Sean Rodriguez Rays 272 2.2% 6.3% 21.3% 1.5% .250 .269
Danny Valencia Twins 103 2.1% 4.9% 21.5% 0.0% .271 .271
Gaby Sanchez Marlins 196 1.9% 6.1% 18.4% 0.5% .254 .271

Potential wOBA Risers, Maybe
Here are the 10 players whose Expected wOBAs most greatly exceed their actual wOBAs (minimum 100 PA):


Name Team PA BABIP xXBABIP wOBA xWOBA Diff
Chris Coghlan Marlins 105 .146 .292 .170 .318 .148
Endy Chavez Orioles 114 .188 .317 .193 .322 .129
Xavier Nady Nationals 109 .173 .307 .210 .316 .106
Josh Donaldson Athletics 100 .194 .286 .172 .275 .103
Cesar Izturis Brewers 129 .237 .320 .232 .332 .100
Marlon Byrd - – - 153 .257 .332 .206 .303 .097
Andy Parrino Padres 107 .246 .326 .221 .313 .092
Brent Morel White Sox 125 .270 .329 .198 .290 .092
Emmanuel Burriss Giants 137 .252 .310 .224 .315 .091
Aaron Cunningham Indians 101 .246 .306 .221 .305 .084

Potential wOBA Fallers, Maybe
Here are the 10 players whose Expected wOBAs are most greatly exceeded by their actual wOBAs (minimum 100 PA):


Name Team PA BABIP xXBABIP wOBA xWOBA Diff
Justin Ruggiano Marlins 111 .439 .319 .473 .364 -.109
Jonathan Lucroy Brewers 151 .381 .308 .413 .334 -.079
Kelly Shoppach Red Sox 112 .396 .318 .390 .314 -.076
Brandon Moss Athletics 103 .265 .292 .412 .337 -.075
Tyler Colvin Rockies 217 .341 .296 .386 .333 -.053
Austin Jackson Tigers 314 .399 .313 .401 .348 -.053
Matt Carpenter Cardinals 162 .336 .286 .357 .306 -.051
Andy Dirks Tigers 146 .357 .307 .387 .338 -.049
Carlos Ruiz Phillies 309 .363 .325 .424 .380 -.044
Michael McKenry Pirates 128 .304 .289 .359 .317 -.042

Complete Expected wOBA Leaderboard
Click this hyperlinked text to see the full Expected wOBA leaderboard for 2012 (minimum 50 PA).

Notable MLB Games
New York NL at Washington | 12:35 ET
Surprising Cy Young candidate R.A. Dickey (125.0 IP, 76 xFIP-, 3.3 WAR) faces other surpising Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez (107.2 IP, 76 xFIP-, 3.5 WAR).

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: New York NL Television.

Los Angeles AL at Detroit | 13:05 ET
The enigmatic Max Scherzer? The very inscrutable Max Scherzer? The Max Scherzer of Mystery? These are all appropriate epithets for Max Scherzer, who (a) starts this afternoon for Detroit and (b) has posted these figures in 102.1 innings this season: 4.84 ERA, 3.16 SIERA.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Detroit Radio.

Seattle at Kansas City | 14:10 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
After (probably warranted) concerns about his early season performances, Felix Hernandez, who starts tonight for Seattle, has actually proceeded to post a line on par with, if not slightly better than, his previous career bests. Line: 132.2 IP, 25.9% K, 6.5% BB, 45.4% GB, 3.12 SIERA, 75 xFIP-, 3.8 WAR.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Seattle or Kansas City Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 4.8.

Note: the following Game Scores include the poorly conceived playoff-odds adjustment discussed in a recent edition of Daily Notes. Also note: the following table is entirely sortable.


Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Ubaldo Jimenez CLE 0 4 5 4 9 TB David Price 12:10
M. Bumgarner SF 8 4 6 8 5 ATL Tim Hudson 12:10
Joe Saunders AZ 2 6 4 4 7 CIN Mike Leake 12:35
R.A. Dickey NYN 10 2 8 7 9 WAS Gio Gonzalez 12:35
Jerome Williams LAA 5 6 8 4 10 DET Max Scherzer 13:05
Wei-Yin Chen BAL 4 1 1 3 3 MIN Cole DeVries 13:10
Felix Hernandez SEA 9 4 5 7 6 KC Will Smith* 14:10
Mark Buehrle MIA 5 3 2 1 3 CHN Paul Maholm 14:20
Jose Quintana CHA 7 5 6 5 4 BOS Clay Buchholz 19:10
Lucas Harrell HOU 5 4 3 5 4 SD Edinson Volquez 22:05
Freddy Garcia NYA 4 7 5 4 5 OAK A.J. Griffin 22:05

To learn more about Pitcher and Team NERD scores click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.


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