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NL Central Sanity Check

May 1, 2010

In a recent piece at Fangraphs, Matthew Carruth talked about using BaseRuns as a reality check for a team’s performance to date in the early goings of the season. BaseRuns is touted as king of all run estimators. It’s designed to give a more exact model of the process of scoring runs and its accuracy holds up extremely well, even in the craziest of contexts. You can read up on it more here and here.

So when we look at BaseRuns, we should get a good idea of how many runs the team should have scored or allowed. It’s good at telling off  on who has been the beneficiary of some good or bad luck. John Wright used his Excel knowledge to give us a daily-updating spreadsheet for 2010 Pythagorean Wins with BaseRuns.

Sweet nerdy goodness.

With his help, let’s look at the NL Central and see what’s going on.

  • The Cardinals are who we thought they are. Or who we think they are. That Dennis Green quote has received an unfortunate amount of miles. I digress. The Cardinals have scored 105 and allowed 73 runs. Their BaseRuns scored/allowed  is 109-74. Their actual record is 15-8, their Pythag record is 15-8, and BaseRuns says they should be 15-8. If this team keeps playing this well, BaseRuns says they’ll win 109 games. Of course they won’t, but the Cardinals remain the easy favorites to win the division.
  • The Reds are not what their record indicates. The Reds are on pace to win 85 games, with a .522 winning percentage, but according to BaseRuns they’re really on pace for 68 wins. They’ve scored 7 more runs then they actually should have, and allowed four less.
  • The Cubs are better than this. The Cubs “should” have scored 5 more runs and allowed 13 less runs then they’ve actually have. According to BaseRuns, the Cubs should be 14-10, not 11-13.
  • The Pirates and the Astros are legitimately bad. Both are on pace to lose 110 games by the way they’ve been playing. The Astros offense is averaging 2.9 BsR per game. The Pirates pitching has allowed 6.4 BsR per game. That’s bad. Real bad.
  • The Brewers offense giveth, the Brewers pitching taketh away. Brewers are 2nd worst in baseball behind Pittsburgh in BsR allowed (137), but are 1st in the majors in BsR scored. (132).

Download the spreadsheet, check it from time to time.  It’s sort of a nice little “power ranking” and helps you understand how teams are playing up to reasonable expectations.

  1. May 1, 2010 10:51 AM

    Hey, I followed this over from ACB, where I lurk alot, & wanted to say that this is a nicely written piece. Thanks!

    • May 1, 2010 11:59 AM

      Thanks for the compliment, Urk the Lurker.

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