Memorial Day weekend is one of the lightest weekends for computer use and blog reading outside of the Christmas-to-New Years period. As the three of us are going to be either away or outside for much of the weekend, blogging will be lighter than normal. But we’ll be back on Monday night with our regular slate of 35 posts a week. In the meantime, enjoy the great weather and the long weekend. Go Yanks.
Since Saint Phil graduated to the majors, we felt it was time to freshen things up around here at RAB. If you take a gander over to the left, you’ll notice that the famedÂ “Hughes Watch” is gone, and in it’s place is the “Joba Watch.” Follow along as I chronicle the adventures of everyone’s favorite Native American with a Star Wars themed name as he crusades up the minor league ladder and into your living room. Well, not literally in your living room of course, but on your TV.
If you don’t know who Joba Chamberlain is, then a) what the hell are you waiting for, and b) you should find out.
Ben, Joe and IÂ launched River Ave. Blues a little over 2 months ago with the idea of buildingÂ a comprehensive,Â all-in-one Yankee blog that covered every aspect of the team, from game events toÂ front office decisions to minor league action. Heck, we’ve evenÂ posted some info that we justÂ thought you’dÂ find interesting, even if it had little or nothing to do with our beloved Bronx Bombers.Â Â Â
Unlike most new blogs, we came into this endeavor with a solid readership base already intact, thanks to our past blogging lives.Â However, over the last month or so we’ve seen our traffic increase steadily and pretty substantially, which was capped off yesterday with our best traffic day ever, as we grabbed over 2,000 unique hits (2,011 to be exact) and nearly 7,000 page views in all. As of this writing, we’ve already received over 830 unique hits and 2,750 page views today alone.
We want to thank you for helping this site grow to where it is now, and for helping it get to where it’s heading. We greatly appreciate your interest, and we only hope to make RAB even more interesting, informative and entertaining in the future.
As always, you can contact us at riveraveblues (at) gmail (dot) com. Feel free to drop us a line with any questions or comments you have, or to let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see more (or less) of on this site.
Thank you again, and GO YANKEES!!!
Ben, Joe & MikeÂ
Over the course of this season, and hopefully many more to come, we at River Ave. Blues (and by “we” I mean Ben and me; Mike doesn’t believe in this VooDoo bullshit) will be using various statistics to back up our arguments. While stats don’t always tell the whole story, they’re very useful in helping illustrate a point. If I read a mediot extolling the virtues of, say, Miguel Cairo, I like to look at his statistics and say, “uh, dude, this guy makes a ton of outs.” Or something along those lines.
However, the traditional statistics — Batting Average, Home Runs, Runs Batted In — don’t tell the whole story. In fact, using only those three stats can be very misleading when talking about a player’s value. Yes, it would be nice if Player A drove in 110 runs this season, but his ability to do so hinges on the work of the hitters around him — particularly those ahead of him. Who knows: they could have plugged in a better player at that lineup spot and he might have had 130 RBI.
What those traditional stats lack is context. For a simple and more full explanation of traditional stats, I urge you to read Dayn Perry’s explanation at Baseball Prospectus (this article, along with the one linked later on, is free).
Okay, done? Good. Now let’s take a look at some of the stats you will see here on River Ave. Blues this season. This will be permanently linked in the menu bar of this site.
Who’s ready for some Opening Day baseball? We at River Ave. Blues sure as hell are. There is nothing more pleasing than knowing that we’ve just begun seven months of baseball.
Hopefully, this nerdy and math-related concept won’t ruin the mood. Anyone familiar with my old blog, The Sporting Brews, is also familiar with Win Expectancy (or Win Probability Added [WPA], which is how I’m referring to it this season, because WPA is a better acronym than WE). For those of you unfamiliar, I’ll give the short short version.
In any given situation during the game, a team has a certain probability of winning. This is determined by the inning, score, runners on base, and outs. The probability of winning in each situation is determined by using historical data. That is, it looks at all games in MLB history in which any situation occurred and finds out what percentage of the time the home team won. For example, if the Yankees are up 1-0 in the top of the fourth, with Tampa Bay having runners on first and third with no outs, the WPA calculator goes back and searches for all games where the home team was up by one run in the fourth with runners on first and third with no outs. It then spits out the percentage of the time the home team wins. That would be the Yankees WPA at that given moment.
Individual players are debited and credited WPA, too. If Carl Pavano surrenders a home run in that situation, his WPA score changes based on the difference between the aforementioned WPA (up one run, fourth inning, first and third, no outs — 51.1%, incidentally) and the WPA that resulted from the play (27.8 percent): -23.3. If, say, Pavano induces a DP, but the runner scores, the WPA would change from 51.1% to 58.5%, meaning Carl would be credited 7.4%.
That may seem strange to some of you. After all, Tampa Bay just tied the score. How is it that the home team has a better chance of winning the game when they no longer have the lead? I could go into minute details, like the fact that they just took away two of Tampa Bay’s precious 27 outs, as well as two out of their super-precious three at a time. And I could mention how since 1977 that the home team has won 54 percent of the time, and that increases to 59 percent if they set the visiting team down without scoring in the first. But let’s cut to the chase.
There have been 8,109 games since 1977 in which the visiting team was batting in the fourth with two outs, the bases empty, and the score tied. Of those, the home team won 4,765, hence the 58.8 percent chance that the home team wins.
Yes, I understand that WPA isn’t a flawless system, as it doesn’t take into consideration who is at bat, who is on the mound, and who are the specific men on base. However, it does offer us an excellent historical perspective as to what the chances are during each game situation that your team wins. It’s also accompanied by a graph, sometimes filled with pictures or a bit of snark:
The graph, of course, tracks the Yankees chances of winning throughout the game. At this point, unfortunately, I don’t have the Excel savvy to mark each inning. I’ll work on it, though. Plus, I normally point out the bigger plays within the graph.
Questions? I know there must be questions out there. If so, leave ’em in the comments section, or e-mail me: RABJosephP (at) gmail (dot) com.
Beginning late tonight/early Saturday morning, River Ave. Blues will be down for a little while as the site undergoes some upgrades in advance of the Opening Day. Hopefully, nothing will go wrong, and we’ll be up and running quickly. But don’t panic if the site’s not here. We’ll be back quickly.
All done. And you didn’t notice a thing. Except for maybe the bunting.