Category Archives: 2011 playoffs

Closing the books on the Texas Rangers “Core 5”

In the last 3 years the Texas Rangers have participated in 34 playoff games.  Five of Ron Washington’s boys have played in every game.  Each of the “Core 5” has come to the plate between 137-158 times from 2010-2012.

Here is a roundup of their performances, BA/OBP/SLG:

Over his 137 plate appearances Nelson Cruz is on a 61 HR full-season pace (550 ABs).  He’s homered in 13 of the 34 games including a two parker performance against Detroit in the 2011 ALCS.  His 2nd homer was a walk-off grand slam off Tigers reliever Ryan Perry.

As for Josh Hamilton, the baseball ownership circle is contemplating how much of their revenue over the next 6 years to share with the outfielder.  Management must consider his history of under-performance over a full months of games against elite pitching.  A lower OBP than Cruz and a very young Elvis Andrus is not likely to be worth $100,000,000.

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A list pitchers want to avoid and why C.J. Wilson is a bargain

Most games in a postseason with 5+ walks allowed:

Rk              Player Year #Matching GS   IP HR BB SO
1          C.J. Wilson 2011         3  3 15.2  0 16 13
2           Whit Wyatt 1941         2  2 18.0  1 10 14
3         Jaret Wright 1997         2  2 12.1  2 10 12
4          CC Sabathia 2007         2  2  9.1  2 11  8
5             Art Nehf 1921         2  2 17.0  0 12  3
6          Jack Morris 1992         2  2  9.1  1 10  9
7    Orlando Hernandez 2000         2  2 14.0  3 10 11
8          Tom Glavine 1997         2  2 11.2  0 12  8
9        Steve Carlton 1980         2  2 13.1  0 11 13
10         Paul Abbott 2001         2  1  8.0  3 13  5

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

Is this a trend or just a small sample size for C.J.? In his 2nd season as a starter (age 30) he increased his strikeout rate while lowering his walk rate and maintaining the highest ground-ball rate on the Rangers staff (49%). He proved over 34 starts in the American League that he is a terrific pitcher. In fact in 2011 his xFIP was lower than that of the following aces:

So did he just tire in October? According to pitcher abuse points over at Baseball Prospectus he ranked just 16th in the bigs plus he posted 3.4 K/BB in his last 6 starts of the regular season so we can’t blame Planet Ron Washington for this one.

October was an “outlier“, “buy low” on C.J. Wilson and trust the long term results.

baseball’s best team will not win the World Series

Examine the team run differential for each League Division Series in 2011:

  1. eleven runs (5 games)
  2. five (4)
  3. two (5)
  4. two (5)

Do you know which team outscored their opponent by 11 runs?  It’s the regular season MLB champion New York Yankees.  The Bronx Bombers had a 1.4 Simple Rating System (courtesy Baseball-Reference), i.e. they were 1.4 runs/game better than the average ML team from April-Sept (Texas was 2nd with a 1.2 Rating).

Alas, it was the Tigers who advanced to the ALCS thanks to “Da Meat Hook’slittle brother. Delmon posted a .789 SLG% & 0.3 Win Probability Added in 21 trips to the plate over 5 games against New York.

The 3 other LDS were closer but a statistical oddity jumps out of the composite box scores. Here are the losing teams run differential in the first round:

  1. Yankees +eleven 
  2. Rays +five
  3. Phillies +two
  4. Diamondbacks +two

Each team who advanced to the LCS was outscored by their counterpart in the opening round. Also, the Yankees, Rays and D’Backs had higher BA, OBP & SLG% than their opponents. All 4 losing teams had lower ERA’s than the series winners.

Five games does not a conclusion make, but neither does 19 games in October. Regardless of who is crowned World Series champion, give them credit for winning 11 games in 4 weeks over high quality opponents but know they are not the best team in baseball.