Saturday, January 16, 2010

How the West Was Won: 2000

The San Francisco Giants had the best record in baseball in their first season in the new ballpark at 2nd and King. The team was 3rd in the league in runs scored at 925, and 4th in the league in runs allowed at 747. It was an era of big offense--NL teams scored and gave up an average of 5 runs per game. At 97-65, the Giants exactly matched their Pythagorean projection, and smoked the 2nd place Dodgers by 11 games. Despite the lack of a truly dominant starter, the Giants led the league with 15 team shutouts. The Atlanta Braves once again had the best pitching staff, yielding only 714 runs (4.41 per game) for an ERA+ of 113. (The Giants were 8th at 101.) For comparison, the 2009 Giants had a team ERA+ of 123, the best mark in San Francisco history. You have to go back to New York's 1954 World Series champs for a better one (132). Of course, there were only 8 teams in the league then, and none west of the Mississippi!

This is the first of a series of posts about the NL West. I am interested in runs scored, runs allowed, Pythagorean record, and ERA+. I thought it might be fun to mine the vast info bank known as Baseball-Reference and see if we find out anything interesting. After all, we all want to win the West. Is their anything we can learn from the last 10 seasons? I decided to start with year 2000 because we had a great ballclub, the Park was brand-spankin' new, and the league and playoff configuration was the same as it is today.

ERA+ = 100 * (lg ERA/tm ERA) with a park adjustment
Pythagorean W-L (Bill James' formula) = RS^1.83 / (RS^1.83 + RA^1.83)

Tim Lincecum filed for arbitration yesterday.


JC Parsons said...

I applaud your idea of looking back at divisional recent history. Insights may appear, however, you picked a doozy of a year with which to start. Big Time ROIDS, don't you know. Asterisk City. Some perspective:
* an all-time record 5,693 home runs were hit during the regular season
* Randy and Pedro dominated, Giambi (cough), Kent (should have been Barry)and Dusty won awards
* the Phillies (MOC's current fav) was the league worst, with 97 losses

The 2000 team was well built for its time. In fact, we defined the "Roid Era" with our power hitting middle infielder. That age looks to be long gone , however. Maybe our current team can help define the upcoming "mini-Offense Era." ...Needs a better name...

M.C. O'Connor said...

The big jump in runs scored from 1992 to 1993 could be due to the new balls--the so-called "rabbits" that had everyone talking at the time. You can't explain it all away by steroids--the Bash Brothers were 88-89-90, some 10 years earlier than the 2000 Giants (who were in a pitchers' park). Hitting and pitching go up and down and have throughout the game's history. If we are indeed in a "low-scoring" era, then the 2010 Giants are well-equipped for it. We'll just have to tell the Yankees and the Phils about it.