Sunday, June 16, 2013

Can I Start Getting Excited About the Pirates Now?

As Heraclitus says, "All is flux, nothing stays still."  

But as I write this, the Pirates, having won their rubber game with Los Angeles today, stand with the third best record in all of major league baseball, and a winning percentage slightly below .600.  Unfortunately, the only two teams with better records than the Bucs, Cincinnati and St. Louis, are also in our division.

This alone sets this season a part.  For much of it, these three teams have led all of baseball.  When was the last time that one division produced, not two, but three teams with winning percentages hovering near or above .600?

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, Pittsburgh's lumber company is a distant memory.  This is not a run producing team.  Out of the 30 major league teams, Pittburgh is 23rd in runs produced, and 24th in team batting average.  But the pitching is something else altogether.  We are 3rd among 30 teams in team ERA and 2nd in runs allowed -- behind only Boston.

But the statistic that I find the most fascinating is the differential between runs produced and runs allowed.  St. Louis, the juggernaut of major league baseball this year, leads in the differential with a whopping plus 102 runs.  In other words, over the season so far they have scored 102 more runs than they have allowed.  Cincinnati, with the second best record in baseball, has a differential of plus 63 runs.  Boston, also doing well this year, has a differential of plus 73.  Detroit, which has a more modest winning percentage of .567, has a differential of plus 85.

The Pirates, with only three less wins over the season than St. Louis, have a run differential of plus 18.  At least we make our runs count, something like Colonel Prescott's troops' use of bullets at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In part because of Pirate recent history and in part because of their anemic run production, I'm not reading a lot of lofty predictions for the Pirates this year.  But we do have one other thing going for us that may be decisive.   A website called "Team Rankings" has a page on MLB Luck Rankings and Ratings .  I have no idea how this ranking is calculated.  The page says only that 
These new ratings are part of an updated power ratings system we are developing. They are also the basis for our recently launched end of season projections.  We plan to continue to refine these new ratings in the weeks and months ahead, but have tested them enough to be comfortable posting them to the site.

In any event, the Pirates lead all of baseball in the Luck Ranking with a 6.1 rating.  The next team, Baltimore, is more than two points behind at 3.9.   Check out the page and you will see that the Pirates totally dominate this category.  If you have luck going for you, I'm not sure that you need much else.


James R said...

Do you, or anyone, know the Pirates' "Luck Ratings" for the first part of last year versus the last part? Also related, is there a tendency for "Luck Ratings" to even out as the year goes on?

Big Myk said...

As I say in the post, I really have no idea how the "Luck Ratings" work. I just know that having more luck than other teams has gotta be a good thing.

One other rather amazing stat for the Buccos: we lead all of ml baseball in shutouts with 12. The next most shoutouts so far this season is 9, shared by four teams. This figure is a actually testament to our bullpen. No Pirate starter to date has pitched a complete game to date.