Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tell me something I don't know!

Writer and renowned stat-head Rich Lederer has a feature called BASEBALL BEAT on his excellent website Baseball Analysts. His latest posting is called 2007 Payroll Efficiency. Waaaalllllll, I wonder who-all comes up lookin' lousy in this-here department? Yep: Petey Mac, The Sabester, and the SFGs. We were 9th in payroll and managed only 71 wins. Let's all hear a big fat "Bleah!" OK, again: "Bleah!" Of course, we knew this already. There is a link in the article to some more detailed analysis. I'll save you the surfing time: only the Baltimore Orioles were worse than us in terms of wins per dollars spent (that's an oversimplification, of course). Just what you wanted to hear, eh?


Zo said... Efficiency is a measure of product per effort, joules per quantity of fuel burned in the case of a boiler, and wins per dollar spent in this case. The most inefficient performance is the Yankees, because of their great payroll. They spent $2.32 million per win. Boston is the second most inefficient at 1.62 mil per win, although they might be excused because they won the world series. The Giants are more efficient than the doggers, at 1.53 mil per win for dogs and 1.43 for the Saintly Franciscans. Baltimore is only slightly more efficient at 1.38 mil/win, followed by NYM at 1.37 and the lovable cubbies at 1.36. Colorado and Cleveland, as the graph illustrates, were the most efficient among teams that actually did well, at 0.68 mil per win for Colorado and 0.73 for the mighty Clevebergers. The most efficient teams, overall, were Tampax Bay and the Flomars, at 0.48 mil per win and 0.43 mil per win, respectively. What the authors do is create a trend line or correlation coefficient with a postive slope of 0.5328. One could also measure something (not efficiency in a pure sense, but perhaps variance from a wins/dollar-spent average) by measuring distance from the trend line. In no case do the Giants come out particularly well, but then, efficiency is not a race you want to win, because the winners wind up with records like the marlins and d-rays. [Ed. note: The Giants did wind up with a recond like the marlins] Secondly, this needs the context of some other years. The Giants are at the tail end of their goal, to win a world series with Barry Bonds. It was a goal that their attempt to achieve in 2007 failed badly. I'm betting, that, over time, you would get teams like the Giants (also the Rockies) moving around a lot on the graph. You would also get teams like the d-rays winning the efficiency race and teams like the Bankees winning pennants but consistently being the most inefficient team in baseball. What does this illustrate? Heck if I know, but here are some other measures that the Giants might have done better at in 2007:

All time major league home run records per dollar spent.

Shortstops named Omar per number of games played.

Numbers of fans with world-class views while eating cha-cha bowl per win.

Number of live opera broadcasts per diamondvision scoreboard per season.

Inverse manager's hat size per win.

Amount of palpable relief per traded reliever.

These are just a few examples. I'm sure our throngs of readers can think of others.

M.C. O'Connor said...

y = mx + b, bra!!!! Gnarly!!

9th in spending should give you at least .500, eh? But noooooooooo. Here's some talk from Biz of Baseball (BIZ):

Inefficient and Ineffective

Welcome to the place you don’t want to be. That place where you spend like a drunken sailor, only to wind up at the end of the season with an embarrassing hangover. At the top of the list is the Baltimore Orioles and Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette. At $4,148,528 per Marginal Win (69-93 (.426)), they are second behind the Yankees in spending the most per win. The problem is, they came in fourth in the AL East. At least the Rays can say they didn’t throw money down the drain, even if they were in the cellar.

Just behind the Orioles sits Brian Sabean and San Francisco with $4,058,027 per Marginal Win (71-91 (.438)). Their problem was finishing dead last in the NL West. Other suckers include Kenny Williams and the While Sox ($3,826,916 per Marginal Win 72-90 (.444) and a fourth place finish in the AL Central (Kansas City was at least the most efficient, even if they came in last in the Division). The other team that I suppose should be mentioned is the Dodgers, who rank 6th in spending the most per Marginal Win ($3,441,357), spending the most in the NL West on player payroll while posting a fourth place finish in the NL West. The only slack they get is that the NL West was hot in 2007, and going 82-80 (.506) didn’t mean much.

N.B. "Marginal Win" is a formula, looks like this:

MP/MW reflects how much a team has spent above a theoretical minimum, represented by the following formula:

(club payroll - (28 x major league minimum) / ((winning percentage - .300) x 162)

When looking at the figures, the lower they are, the more efficiently that team has spent.

This stuff is all from Maury Brown on the Biz of Baseball site. (BIZ--Maury Brown

Zo said...

Ok, here is one line that makes this Biz of Baseball biz highly suspect: "This is the point where we all bow down to Dan O’Dowd...". The Rox did not get to the world series because of "wise spending". They got lucky. For years, they consistently traded away quality for quantity and we all laughed at them as the Giants were competing and they were jokes. Then, they went on a 20 game tear at just the right time and came up big. Should we do this same analysis a few years ago when they had Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton?

I mean, let's at least take a 5 year time span to do this pointless exercise. I will re-state this once more. The Giants had one last chance at a goal of winning the world series with Barry Bonds (best all round player in baseball, homerun king, hometown favorite, godson of Willie Mays, heard of him?) on the team. They spent foolishly (in retrospect) to give them one chance instead of none. It didn't work. You could find this pattern on many teams throughout the league throughout the years. You also find teams like the Yankees, who always spend like drunken sailors, and the Rays who basically are using mlb as an ATM, the same as the guy who keeps taking out home equity loans to go to the racetrack and never paints his house. 2007 means nothing. Anyone who thinks O'Dowd is a genius is a fool, and Sabean does not deserve scorn for a bad 2007. It is meaningless.

BTW, WTF happened to Matt's picture?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I changed out Matt's "official" photo for the ESPN widget. It is supposed to be a live link, and as the stats and etc. update during the year, so will the widget. We'll see!