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Forgot to mention this last week.

 

At the top of BP's "Totally Unreal" column:

 

BP link

 

Prospectus Today

Totally Unreal

 

by Joe Sheehan

 

Yesterday we broke down five things we know are real. Today, it's five things that are not.

 

1. The Marlins. Their lead in the NL East is a mirage created by a 6-2 record in one-run games. The Marlins have been outscored by three runs this season, and currently have the NL's biggest positive gap between their record and their third-order record, the latter of which is a better indicator of underlying performance. Their offense has been productive thanks to its balance - just one player, Cody Ross, has been substantially below replacement level, and six regulars have at least a .280 EqA. At that, the combination of being next-to-last in walks drawn and strikeouts probably bodes ill for a team already carrying an unimpressive .325 OBP.

 

Keep in mind that the offense is the best thing about the Marlins. Their defense has improved from wretched to average, at least by Defensive Efficiency. Looking around, they have a center fielder at shortstop, a third baseman at second, a second baseman in center half the time, and a DH in left field, so they're more likely to drift back towards the bottom of the league than do anything else. That's a problem, because the pitching staff (next-to-last in the NL in strikeouts) needs all the help it can get. Scott Olsen's 2.03 ERA is a mirage; he's walked as many men (13) as he's struck out, and is getting by on an absurdly low .187 BABIP for a team that allows about 30 percent of the balls in play to become baserunners. He's gotten all of Andrew Miller's good fortune; the prize of the winter's big trade is being let down to the tune of a .450 BABIP. Those two numbers will move towards each other.

 

The combination of a soft early schedule (14 games against the Nationals, Pirates, and Astros, in which they went 9-5) and some luck in close games (3-0 in extra innings to go with the 6-2 record in one-run affairs) has served to make the Marlins April's mirage. Not only will they be evicted from first place soon enough, they could plummet rapidly come the end of the next month, which features a 10-game road trip through New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. At least there aren't a lot of people who will be disappointed when it happens.

 

There's some truth to it, we can certainly only get by with 2 pitchers for so long. And the defense continues to be spotty.

 

But the offense seems to be able to put up runs most nights so I don't think the drop's going to be as severe as the article would suggest. We'll still do well against the lesser talented teams IMO and I think we could hang around .500 until we get some extra arms back, at which point who knows.

 

I notice Sheehan feels we have a "center fielder playing shortstop".

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I think there are actually some valid points in the article, but one thing I have to dispute is the notion that a team's record in one-run games is somehow attributable to luck and that it will even out in the long run.

 

How many years has this team been horrendous in one-run games? The reason is not luck, or a lack thereof, it's the bullpen. If our starters can keep games close, we can win games on the back of our bullpen. If our bullpen continues to pitch as well as it has thus far, our record in one-run games will continue to be stellar.

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This guy us an idiot.........Hammer is at worst an average LF defensively......he has really improved his play out there and he has a good arm, that second baseman in CF half the time just happens to be a pretty good CF, and since when is Hanley a CF

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The combination of a soft early schedule (14 games against the Nationals, Pirates, and Astros, in which they went 9-5) and some luck in close games (3-0 in extra innings to go with the 6-2 record in one-run affairs) has served to make the Marlins April's mirage. Not only will they be evicted from first place soon enough, they could plummet rapidly come the end of the next month, which features a 10-game road trip through New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. At least there aren't a lot of people who will be disappointed when it happens.

 

In my experience there's no such thing as luck.

 

 

But I'm sure if it was the Mets that were 9-2 in those close games, it would be due to "clutch hitting and a great bullpen", but with the Marlins it's obviously luck.

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The combination of a soft early schedule (14 games against the Nationals, Pirates, and Astros, in which they went 9-5) and some luck in close games (3-0 in extra innings to go with the 6-2 record in one-run affairs) has served to make the Marlins April's mirage. Not only will they be evicted from first place soon enough, they could plummet rapidly come the end of the next month, which features a 10-game road trip through New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. At least there aren't a lot of people who will be disappointed when it happens.

 

In my experience there's no such thing as luck.

 

 

But I'm sure if it was the Mets that were 9-2 in those close games, it would be due to "clutch hitting and a great bullpen", but with the Marlins it's obviously luck.

 

Baseball Prospectus isn't the type of place that's going to be talking about "clutch hitting". They understand that it is luck. I wish they were wrong, but there's not a point in that article I disagree with.

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The 10-Game road trip will be a true test for the team. The article is right, it is a tight division race and should the Marlins go 3-7 it could really destroy the season. However, if they continue to win the close ones and go 6-4 on the road trip, then we will here how the Marlins are great in the clutch, have awesome teamwork, and are for real.

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The Marlins will go about 5-5 on that roadtrip. The run differential is as bad as it is because of several lopsided losses. I think the run differential statistic starts to make sense after about 60-75 games. This early on it is easy for one or two big blowouts to skew the numbers. At some point the run differential will start to align with the real win-loss record - either the Marlins are going to start blowing people out and maintain a good record or they're going to regress to the mean.

 

I think we're going to have a .500 record.

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I think there are actually some valid points in the article, but one thing I have to dispute is the notion that a team's record in one-run games is somehow attributable to luck and that it will even out in the long run.

 

How many years has this team been horrendous in one-run games? The reason is not luck, or a lack thereof, it's the bullpen. If our starters can keep games close, we can win games on the back of our bullpen. If our bullpen continues to pitch as well as it has thus far, our record in one-run games will continue to be stellar.

 

good point... I'm sure the correlation between bullpen ERA/WHIP/etc and 1-run games has been looked at before...

 

I'd imagine there would be some relation there, but I wonder how much.

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I think there are actually some valid points in the article, but one thing I have to dispute is the notion that a team's record in one-run games is somehow attributable to luck and that it will even out in the long run.

 

How many years has this team been horrendous in one-run games? The reason is not luck, or a lack thereof, it's the bullpen. If our starters can keep games close, we can win games on the back of our bullpen. If our bullpen continues to pitch as well as it has thus far, our record in one-run games will continue to be stellar.

 

good point... I'm sure the correlation between bullpen ERA/WHIP/etc and 1-run games has been looked at before...

 

I'd imagine there would be some relation there, but I wonder how much.

 

Well I was bored and curious. Just looked quickly at the 3 teams with the best bullpen ERA in the NL over the past 6 seasons. These 18 teams have gone 466-377 in one run games for a .553 winning percentage. The average record is 26-21.

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The combination of a soft early schedule (14 games against the Nationals, Pirates, and Astros, in which they went 9-5) and some luck in close games (3-0 in extra innings to go with the 6-2 record in one-run affairs) has served to make the Marlins April's mirage. Not only will they be evicted from first place soon enough, they could plummet rapidly come the end of the next month, which features a 10-game road trip through New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. At least there aren't a lot of people who will be disappointed when it happens.

 

In my experience there's no such thing as luck.

 

 

But I'm sure if it was the Mets that were 9-2 in those close games, it would be due to "clutch hitting and a great bullpen", but with the Marlins it's obviously luck.

 

Baseball Prospectus isn't the type of place that's going to be talking about "clutch hitting". They understand that it is luck. I wish they were wrong, but there's not a point in that article I disagree with.

 

 

I don't really believe in "clutch" either, but I do think performance is better than luck. To me, it all comes down to how someone performs. A walk-off homer that barely leaves the park isn't luck to me. Yeah, maybe some luck is involved, but in order for the hitter to get lucky by having it go over the wall, he actually has to hit the ball.

 

And I do agree with a lot of what it says. But the future isn't written yet. The Marlins can make it whatever they want.

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I think there are actually some valid points in the article, but one thing I have to dispute is the notion that a team's record in one-run games is somehow attributable to luck and that it will even out in the long run.

 

How many years has this team been horrendous in one-run games? The reason is not luck, or a lack thereof, it's the bullpen. If our starters can keep games close, we can win games on the back of our bullpen. If our bullpen continues to pitch as well as it has thus far, our record in one-run games will continue to be stellar.

 

good point... I'm sure the correlation between bullpen ERA/WHIP/etc and 1-run games has been looked at before...

 

I'd imagine there would be some relation there, but I wonder how much.

 

Well I was bored and curious. Just looked quickly at the 3 teams with the best bullpen ERA in the NL over the past 6 seasons. These 18 teams have gone 466-377 in one run games for a .553 winning percentage. The average record is 26-21.

 

 

cool, thanks Polo. I'd say that's pretty significant.

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The combination of a soft early schedule (14 games against the Nationals, Pirates, and Astros, in which they went 9-5) and some luck in close games (3-0 in extra innings to go with the 6-2 record in one-run affairs) has served to make the Marlins April's mirage. Not only will they be evicted from first place soon enough, they could plummet rapidly come the end of the next month, which features a 10-game road trip through New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. At least there aren't a lot of people who will be disappointed when it happens.

 

In my experience there's no such thing as luck.

 

 

But I'm sure if it was the Mets that were 9-2 in those close games, it would be due to "clutch hitting and a great bullpen", but with the Marlins it's obviously luck.

 

Baseball Prospectus isn't the type of place that's going to be talking about "clutch hitting". They understand that it is luck. I wish they were wrong, but there's not a point in that article I disagree with.

 

 

I don't really believe in "clutch" either, but I do think performance is better than luck. To me, it all comes down to how someone performs. A walk-off homer that barely leaves the park isn't luck to me. Yeah, maybe some luck is involved, but in order for the hitter to get lucky by having it go over the wall, he actually has to hit the ball.

 

And I do agree with a lot of what it says. But the future isn't written yet. The Marlins can make it whatever they want.

 

The future is definitely not written yet, and they aren't trying to say it is. Baseball prospectus uses historical trends to try and predict what teams will do in the future. There are no guarantees, but they are about as close at predicting accurately as you can get.

 

I wouldn't bet against them.

 

Also, Polo any way you could find those teams you used Exp W/L and actual W/L? That would tell you more about any correlation between Bullpen ERA and over or underperforming Pythag or EXP W/L, which is more significant in this discussion. I'm pretty sure BP came to the conclusion a few years back that good bullpen management and performance can lead to teams over performing.

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