Dodgers Run Differential Projected To Be Better Than 2015

Joc Pederson

I wanted to talk to you guys today about the importance of run differentials. We see projections for every club each season and I normally take those with a grain of salt. It’s hard to predict what a team or player will do during a 162 game baseball season because baseball is hard to predict. Anything can happen and you never know. However the math geeks have specific formulas they use that can accurately predict how many runs a team or player will score, or how many runs a team or player will allow.

They may not be 100% accurate, but they usually come out pretty close. At the very least they can get you into the neighborhood. I don’t understand a lot of these formulas but they depend on a lot of different factors like a player’s career averages, ballparks, injuries, and expected playing time. The moneyball nerds like to use a saying called regress to the mean, or “plexiglass”. (The stuff nerds come up with!) That means a player will always revert back to their career norms after a career year. You can also apply that to a team as well.

Run differentials tell the tale of the difference between allowed runs and runs scored. A positive number means a club scored more runs than they allowed, or allowed less runs than they scored. The goal is to always have a positive run differential. The teams with the largest run differentials will win the most games. Makes sense right?

When talking about the Dodgers and their projected run differential for 2016, you can see that they are predicted to have a better run differential than 2015, by a large margin. This is a big reason why the Dodgers are predicted to be a 90+ win team again this season, and mark my words they will be.

If we take a look at the run differentials over the past several seasons we can see the Dodgers peaking in 2014, and then regressing back to the norms in 2015. This season the Dodgers are predicted to peak once again. The numbers have looked excellent every year and this is why they will win a lot of games.

Run differentials

2013

RS 649 RA 582 +67

2014

RS 718 RA 617 +101

2015

RS 667 RA 595 +72

 

As you can see the Dodgers scored 649 runs in 2013 and allowed 582. Subtracting the difference you see that the Dodgers posted a +67 run differential that year. In 2014 they had a +101 run differential. They scored a lot of runs that year, but their sloppy defense also allowed more. Last season the Dodgers posted a +72 run differential. Sure you can attribute a lot of that to Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke, but it’s still very good.

Pecota the true team projection calculations sees the Dodgers doing very well in 2016. Pecota is predicting that the Dodgers will score 712 runs and allow 597 for a +115 run differential. Pecota also predicts the Dodgers posting a .268 Tav, (True average is a formula that scales a team’s total offensive value and takes into account all factors like ballparks and league quality) which would rank second in the National League. The team defense is predicted to have one of the best run prevention squads in the National League as well

2016 Pecota projections

RS 712 RA 597 +115

That +115 run differential would be twice as good as 2013, which was the year the Dodgers made it to the NLCS. It would be better than 2014 by 14 runs. It would be 42 runs better than last year’s +72 mark. Anything over +30 is generally excellent. A +72 is normally in the top 5 in all of baseball, and a +115 would be otherworldly. Run differentials are fun!

Pecota could be taking into account many different factors about the 2016 Dodgers to come up with this number. Perhaps they are banking on a full season of wonderboy Corey Seager? Or perhaps they are counting on a bounce back productive year from Yasiel Puig? Or they could be counting on solid contributions from stalwarts like Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner, Howie Kendrick, or Andre Ethier. Maybe Joc Pederson will fix the gigantic hole in his swing and have a true breakout season? I don’t know. Maybe Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir will have stellar campaigns?  The point is that I want to put your minds at ease and let you know that the Dodgers will be fine this year. They’re a good club and I think they are going to be very competitive in 2016. There are a lot of reasons to be very optimistic this season with the amount of depth and talent spread throughout the organization.

Oh yeah the Dodgers are going to be ok. Getting to the playoffs has never been the problem. I am going to predict that the boys in blue will win the NL West division championship for the fourth consecutive year. Then once again they’ll get immediately knocked out of the playoffs in the first round in soul-shattering fashion. When that happens I’ll be right here to rip Andrew Friedman and the brain trust a new one.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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54 thoughts on “Dodgers Run Differential Projected To Be Better Than 2015

  1. See how funny and yet interesting Spring Training can be . . .

    Consider this:

    First game against the White Sox – Roberts is told that Kendrick has an a heel problem and should not start at 2nd base. Utley has a sore lower back. Hernandez has a cold and cannot stop sneezing. Guerrero has a cut finger. And, Herrera has a sick dog in his hotel room

    So Roberts puts Micah Johnson at 2nd base, and leading off in the batting order.

    Now Micah has a big day going 3 for 3 and makes several great plays in the field.
    Then he starts the next game and goes 2 for 3. In the 3rd game he goes 3 for 3. And this continues through March 25 when he is hitting .678 with a great glove.

    Roberts, F&Z, and Dodger fans look and wonder — what happens now? Chase and Kendrick are committed to $17,000,000 between them and Micah Johnson cannot be stopped.

    Oh but Spring Training is fun.

  2. ESPN just reported Chapman might get in the 25 game range for a suspension and that Puig would probably skate – but he isn’t cooperating with MLB investigators and that may not bode well.
    .
    Isn’t cooperating? He has a choice? This is a guy who needs to have all choices removed from the table. So …. it begins again.

  3. I think you’re prediction is in line with mine. I still think they win the division, but don’t quite have the juice to run all the way through the playoffs to the WS. ….However, the key is just to get to the playoffs. Because it is such a small sample, anything can happen in the playoffs, and although Cubs look pretty formidable, and the Cards are always good, and the Mets have that great rotation…the Dodgers have just as much of a chance.

    For the non-stop drumbeat of pre-season pessimism by our crew of Saber Luddites and snarky whiners, it really needs to be put in context with 2015. If the Dodgers are truly that bad this year because of FAZ malfeasance, how did they even manage to have a winning season last year. They won 92 – IN SPITE OF:

    – losing the #3 pitcher for the year, who is a solid #2 on most teams
    – losing the #4 pitcher for the year, which left the team with the #5 as the #3..and some scrubs
    – having one of the best players in the league effectively lost for the year due to hamstrings and ineffectiveness
    – having two of the team’s best offensive players in the first half drop off a cliff during the second after losing confidence or losing health
    – CK not finding his groove for the first month or so and basically being a 4.00 ERA pitcher
    – the failed Alex Guerrero experiment.
    – Rollins going from perpetual All Star to out of baseball in one year
    – Kendrick going from a perpetual solid fielder and bat to a player worth less than a QA
    – a team that was inexplicably bad hitting WRISP.

    A lot went wrong with the team last year, but they still had the talent to win the division for the third year in a row.

    I know the rebuttal: Grienke. Yes, he was the one consistent source of consistent excellence from start to finish. But, not everything has to go absolutely right for this team to be successful. Just as long as everything doesn’t happen to go wrong, this team will be fine. And….if things tend to go right..What if Roberts and the hitting coach really change the culture? What if the situational hitting improves to normative values relative to overall batting average? What if 40% of the starting pitching staff isn’t lost at the beginning of the season? What if the bipolar hitting displays of Grandal and Joc somehow settle somewhere in the middle? …..Seager. I mean, come on.

    For the FAZ haters, putting on your GM hats for a moment, what did you WANT the FO to do this off-season?…besides pay Grienke a billion dollars. A big free agent? Heward? Cespedes? …really? more outfielders? Cueto? ..emphasis on injury question marks…..Price? …

    It’s easy to criticize, but to offer a blueprint on what should be done…Well, I keep reading the same criticisms repeated and reconstructed in different forms over and over again. Boring. Come up with some new material. Show me something new, FAZ haters! What would you do if you were in Friedman’s shoes?

    1. dodgerpatch, Agreed, Dodgers should win division again, FAZ has put together a roster (including AAA) with a lot of depth to overcome injuries. Just like last year, only more. One more thing about 2015, FAZ had to deal with Hanley FA and Kemp traded to partially alleviate outfield glut and dump one bad contract. These two players were big parts of prior success, but, time had come to move on. Good job FAZ!!

      FAZ isn’t perfect by any means!! What did I WANT the FO to do this off-season? Well, I think they totally blew it by not being on the phone EVERYDAY with Stewart at AZ. FAZ should have had the Dodgers “LUCILLEing” Stewart instead of Atlanta. Wood for the same deal as Miller. Impossible you say, WRONG, simply tempt Stewart with some “LUCILLE” action in LA when consummating the deal. Kind of like “killing two birds with one stone”. Once Stewart was in LA, take some pictures of Stewart and Lucille together, “then make Stewart an offer he couldn’t refuse” like Gonzalez and Ethier for Goldschmidt and Pollock. What could and should have been!!! But, instead, FAZ coughed up hairballs after swallowing an olive. Bad job FAZ!!!

      Sorry dodgerpatch, but your challenge opened all of us up to enduring hundreds of Badger’s, silly, “DeLeon for Hamels” and “Lee and Cotton for Price” and other vague unrealistic deadline/off season deals. Watch and see.

    2. DodgerPatch How can you say that that Guerrero failed, when he wasn’t played properly, and then say, that Joc just dropped off, in the second half? Grandal got hurt, and that is why his offensive stats went down so much. And Joc didn’t start going down, after the Allstar break, he only had one really good month. After May first, Joc was only able to hit 188, for the rest of the season. And in the second half, Joc stopped making any real good contact, and because of this, Joc HR total really went down, from the first half, and his OBA average wasn’t enough, to make up, for all of the strike outs he piled up, in the second half. When Guerrero was hitting, he didn’t get the playing time, that he should have got, and when Uribe was traded, Guerrero got even less playing time. And he was suppose to get more playing time, when Uribe was traded, but instead, Mattingly played Calaspo over Guerrero. And all of this happened, right after Guerrero hit that grand slam, and saved the Dodgers, from being swept by the Rockies. Guerrero didn’t get enough playing time, or enough, consistent at bats, to deem him a failure.

      1. Guerrero got plenty of opportunities. I don’t really buy the idea that we are only allowed to assess him if he had been given a full time position, was played every day, and got 600 at bats. Sporadic playing time didn’t seem to bother Kike all that much.

        Grandal and Joc were allowed to play through their problems because they offered value defensively. They had positions. Guerrero didn’t have a position, and still doesn’t, because he just not very good defensively at any position. And from what I understand from a scouting report I read, he wasn’t a polished overall hitter and was prone to pulling the ball. The league figured him out, and the bottom dropped out of his batting average.

        1. You didn’t answer my question . Just because a player doesn’t have a position on a team, that doesn’t mean he was a fail. And You can’t call Guerrero a fail, when you don’t be consistent, and say Pederson just dropped off. You lose all of your credibility, when you don’t evaluate all players the same. And Joc wasn’t the only player, that could play centerfield on the Dodgers. And Joc, didn’t have better defensive stats in center, then Kike, so that is not a reason to play a player, that isn’t contributing on offense. And that is why Kike finally had to play center. And the scouting reports on Joc said, that he had power in batting practice, because he went out of his way, to hit HRs in batting practice, which isn’t live pitching.

          1. And when Guerrero played with Joc in AAA, Guerrero hit in the 300s, and had a higher slugging percentage and higher ops then Joc. If any thing, the pitchers caught up with Joc, not Guerrero. Also this was not Kike’s first time playing in the majors. This was Kike’s third time up in the majors.

  4. Scott, the difference in projected run differential must be because nobody figures the Dodgers will be as bad WRISP as they were last year. That and the bullpen just HAS to be better. And we won’t have near the injury problem. And we have so much depth. So, you’re right, the PECOTA projections must be thinking everybody will do better than they did last year. But if you look at individual projections, which we all have, they don’t look to be believers. Examples – Seager is projected to OPS .728, Joc is actually projected to strike out 190 times by Roto Champ, Kazmir and Maeda pitch 165 innings of around 3.67. Where do we pick up this alleged run differential?
    .
    Yep, we may be really good. But there are still some question marks all over the field.

  5. I already told you what I would have done patch. I bored you with it. So, allow me to regurgitate:
    .
    We made the decision to let Howie go – I play Hernandez at second base. I didn’t sign Utley unless he signs an incentive laden deal or it was to be a coach. It’s been reported that we “targeted” Greinke, Price, Cueto, Shark, Iwakuma but settled with Kazmir. Ok. Whatever. Since we didn’t use De Leon to get Hamels, he’s in my rotation NOW. Pederson has already worked on that hole in his swing all winter so he’s ready. Puig is flat out told what it is he will do, including cooperate with MLB and if he refuses ? Ef you Yassie, you’ve been traded to Minnesota. If that happens Ethier starts in right. We will address that position later….. as in ’18, or, if Puig decides he will cooperate I ask where dre wants to play and I send him there, or I do that with Crawford. Having both Carl and Andre on the same team makes no sense.
    .
    It’s simple patch – last year’s balk at the deadline says REBUILD to me. So, in ’16 we begin to see what it is these kids can do, and adjust the roster in preparation for the future. Sorry Clayton. Bad timing dude. But in ’18, your opt out year, we should bring it home so you and your wife can wear rings when you move to Arlington.

    1. Kike isn’t ready or able or have the experience or the defensive acumen to be a full time 2nd baseman. Besides, that leaves him unable to be the player the Dodgers need him to be: a younger Zobrist Super Utilityman. Howie at 2nd makes the team better THIS YEAR. Kike, in his second full year, at 2nd full time is …????

      DeLeon isn’t ready to be a full time starter…or maybe he will be that good in ST. We have starters…a bunch of ’em. DeLeon in the rotation. Big ????

      Trade Puig for who and for what? …and leave a big gaping whole in the lineup and in right? Why? So the team can make a statement about the proper attitude and the ability to follow instructions? ..and you criticize the Chapman non-move? The market for Puig is depressed right now, remember? If trading Puig for a bag of balls would make the team better, FAZ would do it in a heartbeat, but the return in value and the hole it would leave on the team…..big ????

      Ethier and CC? Come on, we’ve been over this. Do you think they really haven’t been shopped around? It doesn’t make sense to just pull a Brian Wilson on CC because he actually still has some value. You yourself said as much. And the team shouldn’t just give away Ethier for whatever, just because. The team is stuck with both of them, and they can provide some value in the meantime, so that’s not a valid criticism.

      You criticize the current team for having too many ????, but your solution is to create a whole bevy of additional ???????

      Why?

      You’re still chapped because the team didn’t get Hamels so you just want to write off the next two years. They didn’t properly “go for it” in your mind, so Ef it! why try at all? Wait for 18.

        1. That was a dodge – a characteristic use of dismissive sarcasm to avoid addressing the fact that I attempted more or less successfully to dissect your argument point by point. You don’t have an answer, so you suggest I’m merely hysterically reacting to the word “rebuild.” Not going to work. I won’t be like Mark and call you a moron, but I’m not going to let you skate by with that.

          I think our respective ideas on what actually constitutes rebuilding are different. Rebuilding is what the Marlins do every other year, or what Detroit did when they unloaded Price. There’s in implied acceptance that, with the current collection of player contracts, a team cannot expect to win. Therefore they shed expensive contracts, accept that they will have a losing season or two, and add younger and cheaper players in hopes that they will be successful in the future.

          You assume that the current front office is making a concession to not winning in anticipation of some future in 2018. It is either/or thinking. I rather think it is a transition. The FO is laying the foundation for long term future success and sustainability while still trying to win. Sometimes those goals have some components of mutual exclusivity.

          I just don’t think Friedman is really a fan of trading for rentals. He said as much in that interview he did recently. He described it as an emotional decision by organizations. You give up a lot for someone you only have control of for a couple of months, and that’s till no guarantee that you’ll be successful.

      1. dodgerpatch, Good questions!! I hope you don’t expect to get answers from Badger, he’s got none. Its time for him to move on to his 2018 plan. Watch and see.

    2. I would have been fine with Utley and Hernandez as a 2B platoon. But how does getting Howie Kendrick hurt the run differential for the Dodgers? Howie was the best Dodger hitter WRISP in 2015. It’s an inexpensive asset for a team trying to compete over a full 162 game schedule. You’re really going to quibble about a $7 million one year contract for a veteran 2B, who can be a real asset to a rookie SS? I know you continue to discount the value of a veteran on the bench. I am just relaying information from a source who was in ML and Minor league dugouts with veterans, and how they helped. Veterans play a different role than coach. The young guys do not go to dinner after games with the coaches, they go with players. The young guys do not spend off days with coaches, they spend them with players. It is the smart youngster that will get with the veteran and pick his brain, or the veteran who will find the youngster and put his arm around him and tell him everything is going to be okay after a bad game. The veteran slows the game down for the rookie.

      The Dodgers did target Greinke and were outbid by one year. You think it was shortsighted by FAZ, but to many of us $200 million is just too much to pay. We should know after 2018 whether the Dodgers were shortsighted or not. Price had stated (if anyone actually listened) that he was staying in the AL East. He’s comfortable there, knows all the hotels, has knowledge of the teams, etc…I would not touch Cueto, and Iwakuma would not have taken the same deal with LA that he took with Seattle. His desire was to always stay in Seattle. Shark would have been interesting, but I know that had the Dodgers signed him, you and the other FAZ haters would have blasted them for signing a pitcher with a 47-61 career WL, and career 4.09 ERA (4.96 in 2015) to a five year $90 million contract. Shark has never had a winning season as a starter, and only once in his career as a reliever (2011). Kazmir is one year older (almost to the day), and has a career 98-90 and 3.96 ERA. Samardzija should have more IP but based on Kazmir’s last two years not demonstrably so. I suspect Samardzija will pitch better in SF, but you and others do not think Kazmir will have a good year. We simply disagree on the value of Kazmir, and I would not have paid the price for Shark.

      I do not understand why everyone here does not understand that the Phillies called you personally to advise you that all they wanted was De Leon, and not Urias or Seager, to get Hamels. We just need to get on board with that. However, you would take it out on De Leon because the Dodgers did not get Hamels? De Leon is not ready yet. He had a partial year at AA and did okay. It wasn’t like what Blake Snell did on his march through the minor leagues. Let him at least feel success at AAA before putting him into the rotation. He should get some quality starts at the ML level some time in 2016.

      I am not sure what “not cooperating with MLB” means, so I will reserve judgement on Puig in that regard. Regardless, the Players Union is not going to let Manfred give any significant punishment to Chapman or Puig. There really is no evidence that Puig committed domestic violence against anyone. What are they delving into that would construe that Puig is not cooperating? If he committed domestic violence, fine throw the book at him…I would support that. But if there is no evidence at all of such behavior, what are they looking for, and why should Puig or any player cooperate in such a witch hunt. Reyes is another story. There will be a trial to provide evidence. There is no evidence against Chapman either…only conjecture.

      Yes, the Dodgers season will hinge on the offense of Puig, Pederson, and Grandal. No question. Seager will be pivotal but it’s not critical that he perform at the elite status as long as the others are productive. If Puig does not perform at the 2013 or first half 2014 level, or if Pederson and Grandal do not resemble someone at least close to the 1st half 2015 levels, the run differential will be squeezed, and the wins will shrink. I have no problem admitting that. The difference between the positive thinking Dodger fans and the negative thinking Dodger fans, is that those of us who are positive minded believe that Puig, Pederson, and Grandal will perform.

      The Dodgers are built for the grueling 162 game schedule. Whether they can compete and win in the playoffs will depend on who emerges from Ryu, Kazmir, Maeda, Anderson or Wood to be playoff pitchers, or who the Dodgers can pick up at the trade deadline. Maybe Cleveland will be out of it and Carrasco or Salazar will become available. Or maybe Tampa Bay will finally move Jake Odorizi, and Colorado will want to move Jake McGee.

      The Dodgers will be competitive and should win the NL West. Hopefully the Dodgers will not run into a Daniel Murphy, and the playoffs could be different this year.

    3. Badger says the Dodgers are rebuilding and won’t win until 2018 or when Kershaw is gone but also criticizes their acquisitions of Utley, Kendrick and others. He says he would start Kike at 2B and put De Leon in the rotation since they wouldn’t trade De Leon for Hamels.

      So, he wants rebuilding, but the Dodgers signed these guys to win NOW and in 2018! If they had just went with prospects, they would have a leg up on 2018, but they also are trying to win now. It’s weak arguments like that which make me want to use the “M” word. Damn!

      They could have spent a lot less and built for the future. Me? I would have done just that, but FAZ is trying to pacify the irrational fans.

      If it were me, I would have traded Gonzo, Ethier, CC (DFA), not re-signed Ellis and went with this lineup:

      1. Johnson 2B
      2. Turner 3B
      3. Seager SS
      4. Puig RF
      5. Grandal C
      6. Van Slyke 1B
      7. Pederson CF
      8. Thompson LF

      Bench: Hernandez, Barnes, Guerrero, Hererra

      Rotation:

      1. Kershaw
      2. Ryu
      3. De Leon
      4. Urias
      5. Anderson
      6. McCarthy

      Pen: The usual!

      The Dodgers could have saved $50 to $60 million this year and just built for the future. That group might have been able to play .500 ball, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! They signed all those players so that they have a chance at winning now, you bunch of….. OK, this rant is over! I can’t lose any more points on my IQ and I get dumber reading this stuff!

  6. I don’t consider myself a FAZ hater but I don’t like some of the things they’ve done. Some seemed like a good idea at the time but didn’t work out so well, others just made me shake my head. I was underwhelmed last year with what was done to strengthen the rotation and the bullpen, for instance, especially when they knew Greinke might walk this year and Ryu had shoulder issues.

    I’m not sure I would’ve given Zack the sixth year but thank goodness he didn’t end up with the Jints. Probably would’ve jumped on the chance to sign Cueto, understanding that either way we would probably trade him as soon as Urias and our other prospects were ready. Would have tried hard to get a set-up man, maybe traded one of our surplus corner outfielders. But hell, what do I know? I’m just a fan who can only look at this year and maybe next year–I don’t have a five-year plan.

  7. I sure hope Urias and DeLeon are given an opportunity to pitch in ST. We need to know how close they are to being ready. I also hope Johnson and Thompson are given a chance to make the team.

    1. I agree al. But that would sound like throwing in the towel to our resident FAZophants.
      .
      I have no problem going with a youth movement. De Leon and Kike are both ready. Them in ’16, Urias in ’17, Bellinger and Holmes the year after that, the Cubans every year between now and ’18, the right free agents when they pop up on the screen and deadline deals (sell or buy) in July. If I’m in the driver’s seat stuff happens. I’m up every day at 4 o’clock ready to make deals. My slogan will be “Make the Dodgers Great Again”. Who’s with me?

      1. I assume that I am included in that FAZophant class, which I will wear. But I do not see having Urias, De Leon, Johnson, or Thompson playing a lot of ST innings contrary to “the plan”. Heck, I’d play Bellinger a lot of innings. AGon doesn’t need the innings. Let Johnson and Kike play 2B for the first week to two weeks while Kendrick and Utley get time at 3B waiting for the return of Turner. The only way the Dodgers will know if Thompson can be a capable sub for Pederson or Ethier is by letting him play.

        I agree that Kike’ is ready now, but he is considered the super sub. The Dodgers consider him more valuable as a sub than as a regular. That is very Friedmanesque. However, I disagree with De Leon being ready. He may be ready by July, but not by April 4. De Leon Dominated (with a capital D) at Rancho last year, but was very pedestrian at Tulsa. He has pitched a total of 244 innings over his three year career, with 104 IP in 2015. His AA ERA was 3.64 and WHIP of 1.174. He gave up 11 HR in 76 IP, which is not insignificant. He did have 12.3 K/9 which is outstanding. But looking at both stats would seem to indicate that De Leon needs to work on consistency with his command. Since this is a staple of Greg Maddux, I would be asking him for advice. He should work on his consistency at OKC not Dodger Stadium.

  8. I suppose when a team gets into the playoffs three years in a row the tendency is to nitpick more about what they might have done to get into the WS than we would nitpick a team for not making the playoffs. It hurts more to lose a close game than it does to lose in a blowout.
    .
    I can’t imagine it would help a team fighting to get into the playoffs if it were made public which players were being offered in a trade attempt or tell everybody which player the Dodgers were trying to get. If I were Agon I don’t think I would be too motivated to hear that FAZ was trying to get Votto.
    .
    We got what we got. We are tied for first. Let’s enjoy the moment.

    1. True. But Votto is not the get to get got. We have a first baseman in the pipeline. The guy we want plays third base, and left field and he pitches. We have the foundation for something very special. The reason we did not trade any of our top 3 to have a real shot at a title last year was not so we could make a serious run in ’16. Seager, De Leon, and Urias are not stars that line up in ’16. Bellinger, Holmes, Verdugo, Montas, Diaz, Cotton – I could keep going – this is an organization thinking ahead. As for three in a row, we got that done because McCon left town, the trade, and Greinke all happened. We are moving away from that. We are looking to the future!

      1. Votto was just an example that I thought was far enough in its extreme that I thought it would be obvious that it was an example and not something that could happen.
        .
        Also, I gave no credit to anybody for winning 3 Divisions in a row. The point was that when a team is close to getting to the WS and don’t, we think more about what tweak that might have been made. And, when a team doesn’t win a Division we don’t think as much about the tweaks and think more about the rebuild.
        .
        Going from a veteran team that almost gets it done to a team that has ifs is uncomfortable. How we handle that discomfort is going to vary from person to person. Since I can’t control the outcome, I choose to pick a few players to really root for and let the pieces fall where they are going to fall. Go Pederson, Seager, and Turner.

  9. There are major problems with using run differential as a basis to determine win-loss records. There is something called the Pythagorian Theory of Baseball which Bill James came up with to try to determine the link between run differential and won-loss record, which Baseball Reference describes as follows:

    “The Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball is a creation of Bill James which relates the number of runs a team has scored and surrendered to its actual winning percentage, based on the idea that runs scored compared to runs allowed is a better indicator of a team’s (future) performance than a team’s actual winning percentage. This results in a formula which is referred to as Pythagorean Winning Percentage. There are two ways of calculating Pythagorean Winning Percentage (W%). The more commonly used, and simpler version uses an exponent of 2 in the formula.

    W%=[(Runs Scored)^2]/[(Runs Scored)^2 + (Runs Allowed)^2]

    More accurate versions of the formula use 1.81 or 1.83 as the exponent.[citation needed]

    W%=[(Runs Scored)^1.81]/[(Runs Scored)^1.81 + (Runs Allowed)^1.81]

    Expected W-L can then be obtained by multiplying W% by the team’s total number of games played, then rounding off. Expected W-L for each team is published by ESPN on their website.”

    The problem with all of this is that it is subject to things like bad bullpens, for instance. Just ask any Oakland A’s fan from last year. They were only minus 35 last year but finished with the worst record in the AL due to a horrible bullpen. Similarly, teams which have lots of blowout wins but close losses like the Dodgers last year tend to have good run differentials but poorer won-loss records. Teams with good pens do better then their Pythagorian projections would suggest.

    Finally, Pythagorius doesn’t take situational hitting into account. The Dodgers by all accounts were horrible in leaving runners in scoring position. Their slg.% and obp would suggest that they should have scored more runs than they did.

    Run differential is interesting but doesn’t tell the whole tale. Trying to project run differential is harder than trying to project individual player performance because it essentially requires you to accurately project all player’s performance first and then to use those projections. I would take projected run differential with a grain of salt.

    1. Good read.
      .
      Do you serveTylenol with that.
      .
      There is a lot of those projections that don’t make much sense to me. I have a different way of viewing things. For years I looked at BA, OBP and slugging%. With pitchers it’s IP, WHIP and K’s per IP. Defense it’s assists and fielding %. (and the eyes). Using only those stats I could assemble a competitive team.
      .
      It’s not that difficult to predict what some guys will do. AGon and Kershaw are our predictable guys. Looking around the league you know who the stars are. But counting on guys that don’t play full years regularly, and the Dodgers have a roster of those players, it’s impossible to predict. Maybe Crawford plays a full year (really doubt it) and maybe Kershaw doesn’t (bite my own tongue). I can’t help but look around the league at this moment and think some teams look better prepared for now than do the Dodgers. That’s not “quitting”, that’s just a March 1st observation. And I’m prepared to be wrong about that. I do recognize the talent here. It could all come together.

    2. You make a good point Rick, but Pythagorean is normally very close to the projected win loss records anyways. Normally no more or less than 3-5 wins off at most.

      1. But a run differential projection is useless and impossible. You have to accurately project what all of the players will do as individuals and then how they will do as a group. This is more than raw numbers; it requires you project things like situational hitting. You have to project pitching and defense too. You have to project how the teams that you will play against too.

        Just look at the Dodgers. They have been +72, +115 and +74 in the past 3 years. There was a 36% decrease in their run differential advantage between ’14 and ’15. Now, they have one big plus in the lineup in Seager, but a big loss in Greinke and they are going to regain all that they lost year over year between ’14 and ’15 in the face of what is likely to be big improvements in SF and Ari?

        Seems unlikely

  10. Well the mlb.tv app works so far in day 1

    Of course I turn on the Reds Indians game, and first thing I see is Scott Schebler hit a HR

  11. Does Carl Crawford have any specific teams he can’t be traded to in his contract? If so, what teams? Does anyone know? Maybe MM does.

    1. Carl Crawford can’t be traded to ANY team!

      Not that it’s in his contract, it’s just that no one will take him.

      They will wait for the Dodgers to DFA him and get him at the minimum… and they might have to think about that for a while.

      Andre Ethier’s value isn’t much higher, but it is higher.

  12. I posted this earlier, but it was near the top, so here it is again:

    Badger says the Dodgers are rebuilding and won’t win until 2018 or when Kershaw is gone but also criticizes their acquisitions of Utley, Kendrick and others. He says he would start Kike at 2B and put De Leon in the rotation since they wouldn’t trade De Leon for Hamels.

    So, he wants rebuilding, but the Dodgers signed these guys to win NOW and in 2018! If they had just went with prospects, they would have a leg up on 2018, but they also are trying to win now. It’s weak arguments like that which make me want to use the “M” word. Damn!

    They could have spent a lot less and built for the future. Me? I would have done just that, but FAZ is trying to pacify the irrational fans.

    If it were me, I would have traded Gonzo, Ethier, CC (DFA), not sign Kazmir or Madea or Blanton,not re-signed Ellis and went with this lineup:

    1. Johnson 2B
    2. Turner 3B
    3. Seager SS
    4. Puig RF
    5. Grandal C
    6. Van Slyke 1B
    7. Pederson CF
    8. Thompson LF

    Bench: Hernandez, Barnes, Guerrero, Hererra

    Rotation:

    1. Kershaw
    2. Ryu
    3. De Leon
    4. Urias
    5. Anderson
    6. McCarthy

    Pen: The usual!

    The Dodgers could have saved $50 to $60 million this year and just built for the future. That group might have been able to play .500 ball, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! They signed all those players so that they have a chance at winning now, you bunch of….. OK, this rant is over! I can’t lose any more points on my IQ and I get dumber reading this stuff!

  13. W%=[(Runs Scored)^2]/[(Runs Scored)^2 + (Runs Allowed)^2]

    So if a team scores 600 runs but allows 600 runs that is 360000/ 720000 = 50% = 81 wins.
    But that also means 600/162 = 3.7 runs per game both scored and allowed. I would say 3.7 runs allowed is a little too much, but scoring 3.7 runs per game sounds horrible and no wonder you are a 500 team.
    .
    Now if a team scores 700 runs but allows 600 runs that is 490000/850000 = 57.6% = 93 wins. What an increase.
    .
    But that means 700/162 = 4.3 runs per game scored.
    .
    So according to this scoring less that one run per game more than you allowed (4.3 – 3.7) gives you 12 more wins.
    .
    Assuming this Pythagorean formula is pretty close to accurate (and I have no idea if it is) it does show how close 90 win teams can be to 81 win teams. And how small mistakes can turn a good team into a 500 team.
    .
    Move the runner over? Fundamental defense? Run the bases correctly? Hit the cut off man?

  14. Jon Weisman previews Brett Anderson and how this is the first winter he hasn’t been in rehab for some surgery in quite some time. He has focused on getting stronger and lest we forget – he’s only 28! A I have said before, I expect him to be better this year… and he was pretty good last year – 3.69 ERA. You could sure do worse than with him as a #5!

    http://dodgers.mlblogs.com/2016/03/01/normal-spring-most-welcome-for-brett-anderson/

    I also think that if he does well, he could be traded depending upon what else is going on.

    1. He was better during the first half last year. Those overall stats also reflect the fact that he faded a little at the end of last year. Now that he isn’t injured, he can focus on building endurance and pitching deeper into a season.

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