Monday, September 17, 2007

Unlucky Braves

My favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, are just about out of the playoff picture. And that's too bad. Statistically, they are one of the best teams in the NL. If you use the Pythagorean formula, then Atlanta would have the second best record in the NL, just behind Arizona and just ahead of New York. In the "but that's why they play the game" world, the Braves have seven fewer wins then they should statistically. That's by far the most unlucky of any team in baseball. The most lucky by the way (no surprise here) is the Arizona Diamondbacks, who is in first place in the NL West despite having been outscored by their opponents.

Most people will blame the Braves pitching staff for their record. That's not really fair. They are middle of the pack in almost every pitching category, and are pretty (5th) in opponents on-base-percentage (despite the most intentional walks by far.) Oh, but it's the bullpen's fault, right? After all, the Braves cut their closer in the middle season. Nope, their bullpen is middle of the pack, too, in terms of blown saves and save percentage. It's not the pitching staff's fault. It's just bad luck. People hate to admit how important luck is in baseball.

If the Braves were having a luckier season, then Chipper Jones (my favorite player) would probably warrant some MVP votes. He had a DL stint which cost him in raw totals. Right now he leads the NL in batting, and is third in on-base percentage, second in slugging. He's second in runs created per 27 outs. He trails Barry Bonds in most of these categories. Yeah that Barry Bonds, the guy that everyone here in the Bay Area can't wait to get rid of at the end of the season.

As it is, it seems all but given that Prince Fielder will be NL MVP. Maybe Matt Holiday or Ryan Howard can sneak in there, just because RBIs are so overrated. Fielder's huge lead in homers and Milwaukee's feel good story seem like too much to overcome. As for the other individual awards:

  • NL Cy Yong: Jake Peavy in a landslide. If the season ended today, he'd win the triple crown!
  • AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez in a landslide. Magglio Ordononez will get some votes, since he leads the league in batting and is second to A-Rod in RBIs, but that's just silly. A-Rod leads the AL in HRs by 12! Oh and if anybody cares, he's by far the leader in both runs created and runs created per 27 outs.
  • AL Cy Young: Statistically no clear front runner. Can you believe there are eight AL pitchers with ERAs less than 3.50! Seems like most folks think it's a two pitcher race between Josh Beckett (leads the league in wins) and C.C. Sabathia. That's funny since C.C.'s teammate, Fausto Carmona, leads the league in ERA (just barely, but still) and has 17 wins just like C.C. I think Beckett will win it, just because Boston is the best team in AL by far.

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