A Call to Arms

Prompted by Richard Lederer’s article at TBA, in which he discusses how the Angels have consistently outperformed their PECOTA-predicted record, and the discussion that has ensued over at The Book Blog, I have a simple request for the baseball community:

Somebody figure out what the heck is up with the Angels.

If this has been done before, then point me in the direction. My hunch is that is is more “marginal secret something + statistical noise” than an extreme of either. But anyway, I’m wondering what everyone thinks.


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Pat Andriola is an Analyst at Bloomberg Sports who formerly worked in Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department. You can contact him at Patrick.Andriola@tufts.edu or follow him on Twitter @tuftspat
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Alex Poterack
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Alex Poterack

I feel like this can open up some new worlds for sabermetric analysis; I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks between stats people and non-stats people is understanding the pythagorean conversion between runs and wins; it’s not always intuitive that scoring more runs or preventing more runs leads to more wins, because the timing of it matters.  I think obviously the pythagorean relationship models reality extremely well; however, I think the Angels’ performance is evidence that maybe we don’t understand it as well as we think we do.

DrBGiantsfan
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DrBGiantsfan

Just a guess off the top of my head, but maybe PECOTA equates walks with plate discipline.  The Angels’ philosophy has always been to wait for the right pitch, but when it comes, jump on it and hit it hard.  They are almost unique in being a team with good plate discipline(well, except for Vlad the last several years) but low walk rates.  So maybe in the Angels’ case, PECOTA overvalues walks?  Again, just a guess.

Detroit Michael
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Detroit Michael

I suggest reading the Mike Scioscia section from Chris Jaffe’s book Evaluating Baseball Managers.  The book as a whole makes a forceful argument that a lot of the things that we call “luck” when we examine a single season are really managerial (often including coaching and front office help too) outcomes when one looks at 10+ seasons.

Jimbo
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Jimbo
My vote is “statistical noise” + manager influence over time. I like on the blog where the term “efficient” is used. If the Angels are an efficient team, making the most of their runs produced, how would that be quantified? Couple things that I was curious about… Over the last 5 seasons, the best winning percentages in baseball are: Yankees 59.0% Angels 58.6% Red Sox 57.7% Phillies 55.2% Cardinals 54.1% If you calculate % of wins achieved via save, those five rank as follows: Angels 56% Phillies 48% Cardinals 47% Red Sox 46% Yankees 45% Pretty large gap. Is it… Read more »
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