The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

Cleveland Indians Offensive Production Analysis

The Cleveland Indians last season finished exactly at 0.500 last year with their 81-81 record, which leaves the unit open to direct comparison to the MLB averages in many different regards. Today’s post will be the first in a series of articles I will write in comparing the Indians production in the 2008 season to registered MLB averages in 2008, and seeing what can change for the Tribe in 2009.

Interestingly, the Indians offensive production tailed down in 2008 for the second consecutive season, only averaging 4.97 runs per game, down from 5.01 in 2007, and 5.37 in 2006. The Indians ranked seventh in run production last season, and were eighth in 2007 and second in 2006. When looking at the run production breakdown for the Indians last season, it is not a surprise to see that we were above average in comparison to the entire league:

The average MLB team in 2008 scored 7+ runs in about 24.6% of their ball games, and had a winning percentage of 0.873 in those games. The Indians, in contrast, scored that many runs in 27.2% of their games but had a lower winning percentage at 0.841.

In 2008, the average scored between 4-6 runs right around the league average of 33.7% of the time. The Indians then made up a lot of ground in this category, having an impressive 0.630 winning percentage in these games compared to the league average of 0.596.

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April 6, 2009 Posted by | Cleveland Indians Future | , , , | Leave a comment

My Ramblings About Life

Indians Hitters on the 25-Man Roster (and more): The Indians have added a pair of solid Major League talents this off-season, which will only lead to more chaos as the front office looks to trim down the final roster to 25-men for the start of the season in April. Here is a breakdown of the most capable hitters within the entire system that will start the year, or will contend to start the year playing for the Tribe:

Catcher Victor Martinez (turned 30 in December)
Catcher Kelly Shoppach (turns 29 in April)
Designated Hitter Travis Hafner (turns 32 in June)
First Baseman Ryan Garko (turned 28 earlier this month)
Second Baseman Asdrubal Cabrera (turned 23 in November)
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta (turns 27 in May)
Third Baseman Mark DeRosa (turns 34 in February)
Utility Infielder Jamey Carroll (turns 35 in February)
Left Fielder Ben Francisco (turned 27 in October)
Left Fielder David Dellucci (turned 35 in October)
Center Fielder Grady Sizemore (turns 27 this coming August)
Right Fielder Shin Soo-Choo (turns 27 this coming July)

Do not expect these hitters below to have a spot on the team this April, but these are the top prospects and performers in the rest of the organization:

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January 27, 2009 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming Up Soon!!

Sorry about the brief hiatus there, it always gets a little hectic around exams and then the holiday season. I hope to be back on track with a lot of things in the coming weeks here on The Sports Report. Here is a list of things to expect very shortly:

1. The most important thing on my list right now is coming out with an Atlantic-10 season preview. Back around Thanksgiving I created a spreadsheet analyzing the conference strength of schedule based on last year’s numbers. I updated that information for the statistics for all fourteen teams thus far this season, and I came up with some surprising results. This will be a must-read for all Dayton Flyers fans out there!!

2. I hope to come out with a few Boots about the recent acquisitions for the Cleveland Indians. I hate that I have gone so long without commenting on the Tribe, and the recent additions of Carl Pavano, Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa should be a significant boost to the current roster. I feel really good about our chances for next season, even though I wouldn’t mind another free agent signing or two.

3. Another look at what is going on in the NBA thus far this season. Every basketball fan out there is looking forward to the Friday, January 9th match-up between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I will be here right afterward, recapping the recent mayhem at the top of the league standings. I also will look at what surprising rookies (*cough* *cough* Rob Kurz) have quite the story behind them, as well as some other interesting observations from my statistics.

4. A final recap of the college football season and a summary of my past economic analysis of the Bowl Championship Series. My entire Sports Report began with my passion for the BCS, and I did a pretty in-depth report on the economic benefits of the current bowl system about two years back. I will look back to my work in the near future, and recap what has gone wrong this season as 13-0 Utah was left out of any chance for a National Championship.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boots (October 14, 2008)

Boot Up: Ohio State’s Upcoming Schedule – After back-to-back ugly victories, the Ohio State football team finds itself at 6-1 and as the #13 team in the nation. Are they deserving of such a high ranking this week from the Harris Poll after failing to produce an offensive touchdown against Purdue? That is debatable, but the important aspect of the Buckeyes so highly ranked is that they have two extremely important games in the next two weeks. This week, the Buckeyes take on #18 Michigan State, a team that is 6-1 thus far this season mostly because of the incredible talent of Dayton Chaminade-Julienne graduate Javon Ringer. Their star 5-9 senior running back already has 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns in seven games this season, and could very well be the first running back selected in the NFL Draft next year. He ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns last week in the Spartans victory over previously unbeaten Northwestern, and had a ridiculous 282 yards in a game against Florida Atlantic earlier this season. This will not be a very easy road game at all for Ohio State, and they must be able to get their offense back on track if they are going to contend with Michigan State for a full 60 minutes. They will not be able to rely upon a “bailout” from Terrelle Pryor as they did in the game against Wisconsin.

After that game this week in East Lansing, the Buckeyes have the extreme pleasure of hosting the #3 Penn State Nittany Lions. Joe Paterno’s crew is standing tall at 7-0 this season, and they look like the most logical team to stop Ohio State in their path to the Rose Bowl in 2008. I know it is not wise to overlook the road game this week against Michigan State, but this one should not be a walk in the park at all either. Senior Derrick Williams was one of the top recruits in the nation coming into Penn State four years ago, but has only just started to blossom for the team this season. In addition, it looks like this team utilized addition by subtraction through the graduation of Anthony Morelli, who had a less than stellar two full years as the starting quarterback. This game will make or break the Ohio State season, as a win in this game could easily propel them back on the national championship radar, along with putting them in line to win the Big Ten. Continue reading

October 14, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Art Street Sports Beat” on 99.5-FM WUDR

I am thrilled to announce that starting this Saturday, September 13th I will have a sports talk radio show on 99.5-FM WUDR here in Dayton, OH. My friend Collin Schmidt from Rochester, New York will be filling in this week for my partner Ron Zeszut, a graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. For those outside the Dayton area, you can always listen online anytime at the WUDR website. Click on the link on the left-hand side to “Listen Now,” and follow the instructions of downloading Real Player in order to listen live. Do not hesitate to call the radio station at (937) 229-2774 if you need help listening to the show online.

The following is a rough outline for my first-ever live radio show. So if you are so enlightened, feel free to give me a call at anytime to talk sports, or even ask some political questions. I will be happy to take any callers, and I would be especially thrilled to hear from some people back in Akron:

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September 12, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , | Leave a comment

The Boots (September 2, 2008)

Boot Up: Cleveland Indians recent play – The Cleveland Indians recent ten-game winning streak is a certain sign that things are sure to improve n 2009 for this very young team. Despite this past weekend’s three-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, the Indians have played above average baseball throughout the second half of the season. When the Indians traded C.C. Sabathia just after their game on Sunday, July 6th, they had just lost to the Minnesota Twins and fallen to a record of 37-51 in the days before the All-Star break. Since that time, and despite the fact C.C. Sabathia may be a possible Cy Young candidate in the National League (which could include a no-hitter, pending an MLB report on whether or not a lousy infield single is ruled an error from Saturday’s game) the Indians have been 29-19. The Milwaukee Brewers, on the other hand, were 49-39 before the trade, and have been 31-18 since. This shows that since losing their best pitcher, the Indians have played right on track with one of the best teams in the National League: a team that currently has a 94.6% chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball Prospectus.

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September 2, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cleveland Indians Future: Hitters

The Cleveland Indians are currently aiming towards competing in the 2009 season. As an organization, they have many of their most important pieces already in line for Opening Day next year, but there are still many more options necessary in the long-term. With their current position players, the Indians may have very well have a chance of winning the Central Division next year, and competing in the American League. Unfortunately, their current alternatives do not look very good, as illustrated by a weak team in Buffalo filled with old stopgaps. All of the following statistics are as of the games on Sunday, July 20, so please bear with me. The following is a breakdown of all of the positions on the Major League team, and the line of succession for the future:

Catcher – Victor Martinez is set to begin baseball-related activities as early as by the end of this week, and could be on his way to a rehab assignment in Akron by the end of this month. For the time being, however, Kelly Shoppach is filling an absolute need by playing an average all-around game as the Major League catcher. Shoppach’s ceiling appears to be fading fast, and the options in both Triple-A, and Double-A are having difficulties in making the extra leap in their progression. Wyatt Toregas started the year as the catcher in Buffalo, but his line of .219/.292/.310 brought him back down to Akron in late June. Chris Gimenez had a stellar .479 on-base percentage in his time in Akron before getting the call up to replace Toregas. Gimenez has done very little to show that he is higher than Toregas on the organizational depth chart, while Toregas has hit 9 home runs in 81 at bats back in Double-A.

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July 24, 2008 Posted by | Cleveland Indians Future | , , | 2 Comments

The Boots (July 23, 2008)

Boot Up: 2008 Beijing Olympics – The Beijing Summer Olympics start up on August 8th, and the sports media in the United States will be focused on the USA basketball team, looking to win the gold after a disappointing bronze finish in 2004. This year’s USA team is much more organized, experienced, and talented than the team that played in Greece in 2004, and is the clear-cut favorites as of right now. Four teams from each group will advance from the first round to the knockout quarterfinals. Here are the teams, with my picks to make the quarterfinals underlined.

Group A

A1 Argentina – One of the deepest teams in the tournament, led by NBA players Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), Luis Scola (Houston), Fabricio Oberto (San Antonio), Andres Nocioni (Chicago), and former NBA player Carlos Delfino.

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boots (July 16, 2008)

Boot Up: Oklahoma Outlaws – The Seattle Supersonics are officially moving to Oklahoma City. The newest team in the NBA has a very complicated history, as special clauses in the arrangement between Seattle, and Oklahoma City allow this new team to share the history of the old Sonics. Either way you slice it there is no doubt in my mind that the team name should be the Oklahoma Outlaws. Including the term “City” is very old-fashioned, and if you look at all of the major sports, only Kansas City does such a thing. The team nickname Outlaws is catchy, somewhat modern, original, and is more related to the history of the state than many current team nicknames such as the Utah Jazz, and LA Lakers. The entire process was extremely complicated in moving the Sonics away from their home, and I do not expect this team to compete for a very long time, but it definitely should be interesting to see when the new logos comes out.

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July 16, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cleveland Indians Future: Pitchers

Now that the Cleveland Indians have traded C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers, they have made a sign that they are planning for 2009. After 96 wins and a trip to the American League Championship Series in 2007, numerous injuries, and disappointments have brought the Indians to 13 games back of first place in the Central even before the All-Star Break.

In the trade the Indians made with the Brewers on Monday, Cleveland did not receive any pitchers in return. This leads me to think of what the organizational chart looks like in the pitching department. After a talk with Joe Jastrzemski of WAKR, here is what looks to be the future of the Indians pitching staff:

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July 9, 2008 Posted by | Cleveland Indians Future | , | Leave a comment

The Boots: 2008 MLB All-Star Edition

Boot Up: Consistent MLB Performers – Last year in my e-mail, I introduced the idea of runs created within Major League Baseball statistics. The theory behind this statistic is that the thing that most correlates to personal success in the major leagues is not batting average, on-base percentage, home runs or anything simple like that. A run created is an elaborate statistic that incorporates all of the different parts of an offensive game (such as stolen bases, sacrifices, double plays, strikeouts, walks, etc.) and can be measured per 27 outs, or per 100 plate appearances.

I recently created something I refer to as Runs Created per 100 Plate Appearances Over Average Level, which shows how many “runs created” a particularly player has been above average given his plate appearances on the season. For example, in 2008, the Major League average has 12.401 runs created per 100 plate appearances. If a batter has created 30 runs in 200 plate appearances, then on the year he has been 5.198 runs created per 100 plate appearances over average level (30 – 24.802). Using that idea, I located which players have been the most consistently above average in the major leagues over the last year and a half (the limit of my database).

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July 5, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , | 1 Comment