FanPost

We don’t (necessarily) have to wait ‘til next year

After watching Paulino and the bullpen waste another fine game from the offense, I asked myself what would this team be like with league average back ends of the rotation and/or bullpen. With the offense playing like this do we actually have to wait until next year or could some incremental improvements be made to put the Sox in contention this year?

Before rosterbating to figure out who might be cut, called up, or traded for, I wanted to check and see if the offense is sustainable. SSS (South Side Sox) loves the SSS (small sample size) caveat and I wanted to make sure that these twelve games weren’t fools gold.

I checked the game logs for each AL team last year and analyzed overall and 12-game run production. Somewhat surprisingly, the teams that scored the most runs weren’t necessarily the ones that had the most post-season success. (Baltimore and LAA both finished 3rd in their divisions despite scoring the 5th and 6th most runs in the AL respectively.) More surprisingly, the teams that had the hottest 12-game stretches (rather than the scoring the most runs on the year) were more likely to be in and succeed in the playoffs.

And the data is nearly bimodal* in terms of evaluating post-season contention on the basis of whether or not a team had a hot run. In 2013, teams either scored at least 75 runs in a 12-game stretch at some point in the season and were in contention, or they did not and they were not.

This is not to say that run scoring in a 12-game stretch is more important than runs scored on the season (and it completely ignores the value of run prevention), but this seems like a reasonable way to account for the small sample size to determine whether or not the current offensive production is at least somewhat sustainable.

On the flip side of the sustainability coin, you have guys like Flowers and Ramirez playing out of their minds (and they will inevitably regress) and the first part of this run included Garcia’s contributions. But the counter-counter argument is that Semien is inexplicably still in the 2-hole, de Aza is underperforming and Abreu may not have peaked yet.

I’m not going to go all Pollyanna and say we’re going to win a title, but if this offense is still chugging along in a month or so, I hope Hahn makes the adjustments needed to the back end of the pitching staff to give the fans something to cheer for.

*Toronto’s a bit of an outlier in having a good offense on a bad team (or more appropriately an average team in a tough division), and NYY had a nice run in August but were otherwise pretty bad offensively.

All data summarized from www.baseball-reference.com game logs for 2013 AL teams.

Sorted by maximum runs scored in a 12-game stretch and then by number of 12-game stretches with more than 75 runs.

Count Max Total Runs Finish
Boston 15 93 853 Won World Series
Detroit 10 84 796 Lost ALCS
Texas 7 84 730 Game 163
Oakland 6 84 767 Lost ALDS
Cleveland 5 84 745 Lost AL WC
Tampa 4 78 700 Lost ALDS
Toronto 2 78 712 5th AL East
NYY 2 76 650 3rd AL East
LAA 0 75 733 3rd AL West
Minnesota 0 74 614 4th AL Central
Seattle 0 74 624 4th AL West
Baltimore 0 68 745 3rd AL East
Kansas City 0 66 648 3rd AL Central
Houston 0 66 610 5th AL West
CWS 0 62 598 5th AL Central

Sorted by total runs scored

Count Max Total Runs Finish
Boston 15 93 853 Won World Series
Detroit 10 84 796 Lost ALCS
Oakland 6 84 767 Lost ALDS
Cleveland 5 84 745 Lost AL WC
Baltimore 0 68 745 3rd AL East
LAA 0 75 733 3rd AL West
Texas 7 84 730 Game 163
Toronto 2 78 712 5th AL East
Tampa 4 78 700 Lost ALDS
NYY 2 76 650 3rd AL East
Kansas City 0 66 648 3rd AL Central
Seattle 0 74 624 4th AL West
Minnesota 0 74 614 4th AL Central
Houston 0 66 610 5th AL West
CWS 0 62 598 5th AL Central

SouthSideSox is a community driven site. As such, users are able to express their thoughts and opinions in a FanPost, such as this one, which represents the views of this particular fan, but not necessarily the entire community or SouthSideSox editors.

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