Very interesting post, here, by Bill Wellman from Dugout Central utilizing four different metrics to attempt to predict which team is most likely to win the World Series. He uses Bullpen WPA, Isolated Power, League-Indexed FIP, and UZR, reasoning that the four most important factors for postseason success are the bullpen’s ability to hold a lead, overall pitching, fielding, and sheer power.
I found the process of choosing the metrics to be pretty fascinating. Which metrics are the most comprehensive, the most reliable and the most indicative of postseason success? The isolated power argument is the most interesting, for me. Wellman chooses Isolated Power because, “pitching is much better in the postseason, and because scoring runs with singles and walks usually requires three positive outcomes for a single run.” It’s a really intriguing line of speculation. I think there’s definitely something to his argument, but there have been a fair number of teams in the past who have won the Series by hitting singles, stealing bases, and scratching out runs (Twins, the 80′s/90′s Cardinals, the Angels, or by taking a ton of pitches, drawing walks and getting to the soft underbelly of the bullpen (late 90′s Yankees). Maybe speed factor and/ or OBP or some other plate discipline stat could be used to substitute for isolated power if the team grades out particularly highly in those areas. I think there are also many power hitters that are only mistake hitters and mistake hitters fare particularly badly against top pitchers. Maybe there’s a way that tendency could be counteracted.
It’s no surprise that, under Wellman’s equation, the Yanks grade out at number one, finishing first in Bullpen WPA and Isolated Power, though only being in the middle of the pack in FIP and surprisingly low in UZR (damn you Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera!!). It’s a fun debate, anyway. What metrics do you guys think are most important for predicting postseason success? Do you like Wellman’s formula? What would you add or subtract?
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