Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Nats' Mr. Unlucky

I've just received my copy of The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006 in the mail today. I intend to post a full review of the book later, but my first hour with it has been a lot of fun, and I ran across something of interest to Nats fans. There is an article about Projected OPS, or PrOPS, a stat that THT has developed based on play-by-play data. The theory behind it is elegant. Rather than look at the tradition scoring outcomes (single, double, triple etc.) to figure OPS, they look at the type of batted ball and give the batter credit for the average type of hit that results from such ball. The intent is to strip out the luck involved in batted balls -- the sharp liner hit right at a fielder, the bloop outfield single, the fly ball in the gap. By comparing PrOPS and actual OPS, you can get a sense of which players were unlucky and lucky that year. If a player's PrOPS was higher than actual OPS, he was unlucky, and vice-versa. It's a bit like Pythaogrean records for hitters.

The book provides the top 25 players in PrOPS differential, both those with higher PrOPS than actual and lower than actual. Who is the only National player to appear on either list?

Cristian Guzman, whose PrOPS was 0.645 and his actual OPS was 0.573, so he was one of the 25 most unlucky hitters last year. The article also demonstrated a correlation that indicated most players in that situation have higher actual OPS the next year. So it does appear true that our favorite whipping boy had a tough year, and should be a better hitter next year. Of course, even a 0.645 OPS is nothing to get too excited about, but it looks like we'll need to find as many silver linings for 2006 as we can.


At 11:56 AM, Blogger Nate said...

You can be sure this info will find its way into my Rese the Guuuz: Guzman in 2006! ad blitz, coming in Spring 2006.


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