April 23, 2014

WFNY Stats & Info: Indians hot streak continues to 17-4

It’s been one amazing ride for the Cleveland Indians over the past few weeks. Heck, as TD wrote late last week, they should the man story in town.

In honor of Sunday’s 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners, here are six positive tweet-worthy statistics from this impressive stretch. I’d encourage you to share them on Twitter and tag us at #WFNY or mention me @udjrosen.

Stat #1 — Indians are now 17-4 in their last 21 games with 121-69 (+52) run differential. It’s team’s best 21-game differential since September 2005.

Stat #2 — Indians starters in first 21 games: 5-13 record, 5.72 ERA, 1.7 K/BB. Indians starters in next 21 games: 13-4 record, 2.98 ERA, 3.1 K/BB.

Stat #3 — After starting year with .207 avg with RISP in first 15 games, Indians have a .311 avg with RISP in last 27 games.

Stat #4 — Entering Sunday, the Indians ranked 3rd in AL with 88 runs with 2 outs. Their split OPS was .843, compared to a .753 OPS with 0 outs.

Stat #5 — Entering Sunday, the Indians led MLB with 22 home runs against lefty pitchers. They had just 40 in 2012 (T-25th) and 36 in 2011 (T-20th).

Stat #6 — Entering Sunday, Indians offense ranked 5th in MLB with 3.95 pitches/PA. Four players ranked in top 33: Santana, Reynolds, Kipnis, Swisher.

[Related: The Diff: Indians odd start and usual MLB run distribution]

The Diff: Kyrie Irving’s potential

Today marks the start of a new era: The Diff, where I’ll write lots and lots about sports stats. Kudos to friend and fantasy football semifinalist Marc Sugerman for coming up with the article name, a shoutout to the Q’s scoreboard. And thanks as always to Mike Brenkus for the design.

The Diff

For my first-ever edition of The Diff, I wanted to focus on some thoughts I had about Kyrie Irving over the last week or so. This all started after the Cavs’ impressive 99-83 victory over the Hawks a week ago today. I was at that game with my dad. But the following conversation took place the next day on Gchat with my brother Sam, who you all might recall from our combined offseason post back in June. Hope you enjoy. [Read more...]

WFNY Debate: Do NFL coaches even matter?

chudzinskiIn case it hasn’t been clear yet, the WFNY writers email each other a lot. And I mean a lot. So on top of our two email-based roundtables already this week (post-Kelly rumors and post-Chudzinski hire), we bring you inside the famed Gmail inbox for a look at a Friday debate: This time, we’re talking about the possible impact of pro coaches.

Jacob: Hey guys, I’m considering writing a numbers article about Rob Chudzinski. I’m intrigued by the stats about his TDs, points and plays of 20+ yards with Carolina. Then maybe look at the Browns in ’07-’08, the Chargers, Miami, etc. Compare to league averages. His success with RBs (DeAngelo Williams in Week 17). Here’s a quick snippet of the stats that I had in mind for such a post:

2011: plays of 20+ pass/rush (total) —- Carolina: 66/24 (90); Cleveland: 32/7 (39)
2011: third down conversion —- Carolina: 75/185 (40.5%); Cleveland: 92/238 (38.7%)
2012: plays of 20+ pass/rush (total) —- Carolina: 58/17 (75); Cleveland: 50/7 (57)
2012: third down conversion —- Carolina: 88/204 (43.1%); Cleveland: 67/218 (30.7%) [Read more...]

Indians’ Struggles By The Numbers

Taking a page from Rick’s book today, I’m here with some illustrious stats about the Cleveland Indians. These aren’t the prettiest, so you might want to spare your kids from seeing these.

-51 – Indians’ run differential this season, sixth-worst in MLB. The team with the sixth-worst record is Houston at 32-43 (.427).

12-3 (.800) – CLE’s record in one-run games, the best percentage-wise in MLB. Baltimore is second-best at 13-6 (.684). This might explain how the team is shockingly still at .500 on the season. For comparison’s sake, no team has finished with a win percentage better than .636 in one-run games over the past three seasons.

10-9 (.526) – Indians’ record in two-run games, tied for 12th-best percentage-wise in MLB. San Francisco is best at 11-5 (.688). While this isn’t sensational, it’s still above average. [Read more...]

On Justin Masterson, Again

If you forced me to guess, I would say that I’ve probably written more words about Justin Masterson than about any other human being on the face of the planet.  Which is kind of weird for me to acknowledge, considering I’ve written a freaking master’s thesis and am, as Denny would say, “allegedly educated”.

But when you consider that I write mostly about baseball these days, and mostly about the Cleveland Indians at that, it becomes a little less weird.  But only by degree.

Why do I find Masterson so interesting?  I’m not sure, actually.  It’s certainly not because I’m convinced he’s the best player we have.  I mean, he might be the best player we have, but I’m not sure of it.  Santana might be the best player we have.  Choo might be the best player we have.  Heck, even Dunkers….well….no….probably not Dunkers.  Sorry Shelly.* [Read more...]

Cavaliers Live by the Three-Ball, if Just for One Night

Just one season ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers were being defeated by the three-point shot on what appeared to be a nightly basis. Whether it were the Los Angeles Lakers or Minnesota Timberwolves, the opposition drained the long-range shot with ease as the Wine and Gold allowed a league-worst 41.1 three-point field goal percentage.

Compiling their issues was the fact that the Cavs were not exactly rife with shooters when the ball was in their possession; this was even more so when Ramon Sessions (a career 21.4 percent shooter from three-point range) would sub in for Mo Williams (38.6 percent).

But just as the 2011-12 season has graced Cleveland with a breath of fresh air in terms of roster and attitude, a novation of play has apparently been instilled as well with the Cavaliers using the vaunted three-point field goal to their advantage. [Read more...]

Lou Marson Has the Secret to Justin Masteron’s Success…Kind of

While we continue to ponder the returns made on the CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee trades, Tribe ace Justin Masterson remains as the saving grace for what was otherwise a period of 20-cents-on-the-dollar-type deals.

The ace who wasn’t quite such heading into this season has focused on his mechanics and coupled this with the faith of his coaching staff to provide one of the biggest surprises of the Indians’ 2011 season, but also one of the best starting pitching seasons in the American League.  But if you ask Tribe cacher Lou Marson, Masterson’s secret sauce lies not in his checkpoints, but in his God given stature.

[Read more...]

Splitting the Difference: Part 1

The Cleveland Indians put up a .248/.322/.378 line in 2010.  Their .700 OPS ranked next to last in the American League, besting only the historically awful Seattle Mariners (.637).

That’s not breaking news, I don’t think.  The Indians offense was hurt by injuries and poor performance across the board.  We scored only 646 runs last season, third worst in the AL, for an average of fewer than four runs per game.  Not historically bad, but pretty bad nonetheless.

But did you know that against left-handed pitching, our numbers were even worse?  The team’s OPS against lefties was only .674 last year!

And, come to think of it, this shouldn’t really surprise us either.  Most of our best hitters were (and continue to be) left-handed, meaning that they’re more likely to put up better numbers against right handed pitching.  [Read more...]

Cavaliers Continue Fourth-Quarter Routs

Over the last three contests, the Cleveland Cavaliers have provided the highest average of fourth-quarter points in the entire NBA.

Let that marinate for a minute. 

Without LeBron James, historically one of the best crunch-time players to ever play the game, the Cleveland Cavaliers are at the top of the league through said three-game time frame.  On the road for all three contests, the Cavs have averaged 35 points in the final 12 minutes, all resulting in tally marks among the win column.  For comparison, the typically high-powered offenses of the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks have averaged 19.7 and 16.7, respectively.

[Read more...]

What’s Gotten into Matt LaPorta?

The best hitter on the Cleveland Indians not named Choo may only have one at-bat above the five-hole this season.  After a weekend series where he went 6-for-11 with two home runs (one of which was a monster shot to left field) and four RBI, Matt LaPorta’s bat may finally be paying the dividends Mark Shapiro anticipated when acquiring him for the Cy Young-winning CC Sabathia three seasons ago.

The 25-year-old LaPorta has had a roller coaster of a career since being dealt by the Brewers.  Passed over for players like David Dellucci and Jason Michaels, the hard-swinging outfielder-turned-first baseman may have finally cemented his role with the Indians for the foreseeable future. 

[Read more...]

Brandon Phillips Trade Continues to Haunt Cleveland

When the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds lock up for interleague play, it is supposed to be the “Battle of Ohio.”  And while it’s always an entertaining subplot, the focus of many fans tends to turn to Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips – the former second-round selection whom the Indians traded for, only to ship him to the Reds prior to the 2006 season.

Per usual, Phillips did not disappoint this past weekend, going 5-for-12 with two runs scored and an RBI.  Increasing his average by 11 points over the last week of play, Phillips seems to have any Indians-Reds match-ups circled on his calendar for retribution purposes.  In fact, Indians fans should actually feel good that Phillips only scored two runs with an RBI in this series as the Gold Glover tends to wreak havoc on the Wahoos.

[Read more...]

SABR-Toothed Triber: Justin Masterson’s Regression

Just a few weeks back, I started to question how much longer Masterson could stay in the Indians’ rotation.  Early in the season, I knew it had the potential to get ugly, but I was all for sticking with him for the year to see if he could figure it out.  But each time Masterson took the mound, things seemed to get worse: his control looked off, lefties were still pounding him, and he just couldn’t catch a break.  For his sake, I started to wonder if Masterson didn’t need a break from the rotation.  Further, it looked like Laffey’s demotion to Columbus signaled that the front office had seen enough of the experiment as well, and they were on their way to shifting Masterson back to the ‘pen, as soon as Laffey could get stretched out.  I can’t say I disagreed.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to demotion.  Masterson went on a three game tear that looked something like this: [Read more...]

SABR-Toothed Triber: Santana Leads the Indians in…EVERYTHING?

A few months back, I looked at Carlos Santana’s Minor League Equivalency numbers (MLEs).  Basically, MLEs convert a minor leaguer’s performance to the majors, adjusting for level of competition and home ballpark.  In honor of Santana’s callup to the majors tonight, I thought we’d take one more look at his MLEs for this year, to see where he’d rate among the current team in hitting categories.

Just a reminder: MLEs are translations, not predictions.  They tell us how a player’s numbers would be deflated by stiffer competition (i.e. Major League competition).  So the numbers we’re going to look below are not projections for what Santana will do, but rather adjustments to what he has done to this point in the season if he had been with the Indians all year and performed at the level he performed in AAA.

With that out of the way, here are Santana’s current AAA numbers: [Read more...]

SABR-Toothed Triber: Branyan, Strikeouts, Value, and Hate

This week’s SABR piece is a shoutout to ESPN’s Chris Berman for discussing “Sabermatics” yesterday on Baseball Tonight.  You know, those new-fangled numbers the kids are talking about these days?  Also the ones that Jon Stenier has dropped on us for a few months now.  This week’s topic du jour? The Muscle.

When the Indians inked Russell Branyan to a one-year, $2 million deal this off-season and guaranteed him an everyday job as the team’s first baseman, there were plenty of legitimate questions about the move.  Was the front office playing the service clock game with Michael Brantley?  Was Matt LaPorta not recovered from his two off-season surgeries?  Wasn’t this club already a bit heavy on the left-handed hitters?

At least those were the questions that went through my mind, and to be honest, I haven’t yet answered all of them.  It is weird that on a rebuilding team, you promise to give 450 at bats to a journeyman slugger who didn’t seem to fit any of the team’s pressing needs (youth, right handed hitters, starting pitching, etc.).

But one question that didn’t occur to me was whether or not Branyan is a good player.  [Read more...]

SABR-Toothed Triber—Part 1: An Indians Introduction to wOBA

Over the course of the baseball season, WFNY will be providing you with a bit of a different look into the Cleveland Indians.  We can debate wins, losses and payroll economics ad nauseum – but what it all boils down to is the numbers.  And that’s where Jon Steiner comes in.  Formerly of Bugs and Cranks, Mr. Steiner will be supplying us with the occasional look into what members of the Cleveland Indians are truly providing the team with the use of advanced statistics.  Today, we have the first installment of what will be a great addition to our upcoming Tribe coverage. Do enjoy.

73395077GF006_Clev_Balt_6_06_04_PMHow should we evaluate a player’s offensive contribution?  Why do people tell us that Shin-Soo Choo is the best hitter the Indians have, despite the fact that Asdrubal had a higher average, and Choo struck out 17 times more than Jhonny Peralta in 2009?  Why, after all these years, do we not have a reliable offensive metric?

Turns out, we do.  But first, let’s examine some of the current ways of evaluating offensive performance and why they don’t quite do what we’d prefer.

Remember, the most important thing that a batter does—really, the only thing he should do—is produce runs for his team.  After all, more runs means more wins, and that’s what it’s all about. 

So here’s what we currently have: [Read more...]

Cavs Second Half Defense Helps Top Rockets 108-83

Cleveland Cavaliers Huddle Houston RocketsA Cavaliers team that experienced one of its worst losses of the season on the road against the Houston Rockets decided to flip the script on their home court.  Efficient shooting, timely scoring and solid second half defense propelled the Wine and Gold to a substantial victory over the 18-win, and apparently tired Rockets to the tune of 108-83.

It looked like it was going to be another one of “those” games thanks to a trip back home following a four-game stint out west.  The Rockets were up 12 points early in the first quarter and appeared to be giving us another dose of quick, frustrating play.  The Cavaliers, however, did not fold early.  In fact, they fought back and earned every point that they had given up early on and took a three-point lead (thanks to a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Mo Williams) into halftime.  From there, they went on to outscore the Rockets by 22 points in the second half, forcing the Rockets into season low territory in the third quarter. 

All in all, this game came down to six key numbers. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Yankee Heartbreak, Penalty Kills and Winning a Ring for the King

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email in the sidebar.

yankee sadTry reading this article without wanting to punch someone or something.  Long-awaited birth? Five Long Years?  Is there such a thing?

“It has been five long years since the Yankees could claim this position, needing just nine more innings of winning baseball to punch their ticket to the World Series. [...]  

It is difficult for some to believe it has taken so long to get back. [...]

Though most of the team wasn’t there to witness the heartache, some scars remain.” [Bryan Hoch/MLB.com]

[Read more...]

Browns By The Numbers

Just a little fun heading into this weekend’s game against the Steelers…

Abram Elam, Eric Mangini2- Touchdown passes this season. One thrown by Quinn, one thrown by Anderson.

0- Touchdown receptions by Wide Receivers this season. Heiden and Royal (TEs) have the only catches for scores.

8- Interceptions thrown this season. Three from Quinn, five from Anderson.

3.59- Average yards per carry for everyone on the team not named Josh Cribbs.

9.3- Yep. Yards per carry for Josh Cribbs.

6- Total carries for Josh Cribbs.

31- Longest play from scrimmage for the Browns this year. It was a Josh Cribbs rush. [Read more...]

Indians Shed Rain, Padres in Game One

Grady SizemoreIndians 9, Padres 5 (box)

This one may not have ended until close to 1:30am, but it started and ended with Grady Sizemore. Leading off the game with a home run, Sizemore had to wait about six hours before he put the final nail in last night’s coffin – a two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh inning that would give the Tribe all it needed to earn a “W.”

And earned it was, considering that Eric Wedge had to go to one of the shakiest bullpens in the majors from the fifth inning on. Rafael Betancourt (who actually earned the win in this one) tossed one and two-thirds of one-hit ball, looking like the Rafy from last year. Fellow Rafy, Perez, allowed a solo home run, but that would only be one of two hits he would surrender in an inning and two-thirds as well.

[Read more...]