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Pitching & Defense? NOPE!


Docwaukee

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thought it would be interesting to look at playoff teams the last 5 years and where they ranked in terms of pitching, offense, and defense.  I used ranking for AL/NL teams separately. 

 

playoff chart.xlsx                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

A few observations of mine (of course feel free to make your own):

- Smallish sample size.  Could change if additional years were added

-Defense isn't that big of a deal

-Bullpens aren't either

-Offense accumulates more wins and generally you need to have a top ranked offense to make the playoffs. 

Edited by Dochalo
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Interested to see the chart when it posts.

 

What you said makes sense. The Tigers have were great last year with an awful defense and mediocre bullpen. Having Cabrera and 4 elite starters was probably the reason for that though. 

 

The biggest thing for the Angels this year is the rotation(obviously). We need the collective group of 5-8 starters we end up using to be close to league average. If that happens, this team should make the playoffs. The bullpen is important too but it's nowhere near as important as our rotation. 

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Interested to see the chart when it posts.

 

What you said makes sense. The Tigers have were great last year with an awful defense and mediocre bullpen. Having Cabrera and 4 elite starters was probably the reason for that though. 

 

The biggest thing for the Angels this year is the rotation(obviously). We need the collective group of 5-8 starters we end up using to be close to league average. If that happens, this team should make the playoffs. The bullpen is important too but it's nowhere near as important as our rotation. 

It's a chart showing WAR for every playoff team in both offense and pitching as well as Defensive runs saved and the respective league rank for each.  I also broke down SP vs. RP.  It took quite a while to put together so hopefully someone can fix it.  The content prior to posting shows the chart yet the actual post has it all jumbled.  oh well. 

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i'm gonna say no. everything i've seen says you've got to be able to pitch and catch to keep yourself in the game. add in an offense that can manufacture runs when the other team is also pitching and playing defense, which is going to usually be the case in the playoffs or at least the later rounds.

 

i think the real key is dynamic players, meaning game changers. do you have one or more of those? that's what can get you into the playoffs. it changes the whole construction of a team. of course, the angels kind of shoot that theory right in it's pinky toe.

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Doc, to make it to the playoffs you simply need to win quite a few more games than you lose, which is usually done by scoring more runs than you give up. I'm not being facetious but making the point that over a 162-game season, the individual components are less important than the sum total - meaning, its not whether your offense or pitching, rotation or bullpen, or defense is good on its own, but relative to the other parts. So if we simply look at the two main components--scoring and preventing runs--a team's chances of making the playoffs are the direct result of the relationship between the two.

 

But once you get to the playoffs, its a different story. The same principle applies--score more runs than you give up--but given that it is a smaller sample size, there are more variables, more uncertainty. As we all know, anyone can beat anyone in major league baseball. Last year, the worst team in baseball, the Houston Astros, was 2-9 against the two best teams in baseball. That's a crappy record, but it does show that they DID win a couple games.

 

This is where, I think, it becomes more important to have a solid baseline in all facets of the game. If a team has a great offense, mediocre pitching and poor defense, they can still make the playoffs simply by outscoring their opponents more often then not. But once you get to the playoffs, that shoddy defense and mediocre pitching becomes more of a liability - because now it becomes not simply winning more games than the opponent over a large number of games, but each game matters. Furthermore, in the postseason you're playing the best teams in baseball, so a pitching staff that is mediocre against the entire league becomes poor against good hitting teams. A poor defense in a high pressure situation becomes even more prone to terrible mistakes.

 

So while there are many ways to Rome--the playoffs--it seems to me that the teams that tend to make the World Series are those who either 1) Have no significant weaknesses, and/or 2) Are hot at the right time (and thus "lucky" or "fated" or however you want to define the intangible factor). A GM has less control over the second factor than the first, so his job is to create a team that not only excels in some way, but has no major holes.

 

Whether or not Jerry Dipoto did that remains to be seen. Looking at the different components, I'd rank the areas from least to most concerned:

 

Offense: Least concerned. Chances are, at worst, it will be good to very good, at best it could be great.

Defense: Should be improved. Not great, but solid.

Bullpen: This is always a concern, but less so going into 2014 than in the last couple years. Could actually be really good, but there are a couple worries (e.g. Frieri as closer, Burnett's health).

Rotation: Could be good, but the problem is that it is paper-thin and relies on three relatively unproven players.

 

At this point there's not much that can--or needs to--be done about the offense and defense, so it becomes a matter of if, and how, you improve the pitching. If I'm Dipoto I hang an offer to Capuano.

Edited by Angelsjunky
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