Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Betting on McCracken 

One of the hardest things I've had to do as the Mariner Optimist is to defend the trade of Greg Colbrunn to the Diamondbacks for Quinton McCracken. Like most of you, I do not like the trade, but also feel that the M's must have had their reasons. Maybe they thought they could more easily find a lefty-mashing 1B off the bench than they could a 4th outfielder they felt comfortable with. I think that Bob Melvin had his hand in this trade and felt he could rejuvenate McCracken to find his 825 OPS of 2002, more than he could help Colbrunn recover from the injuries that preventing him from helping the Mariners in 2003.

Trent at Mariners Rumblings and Grumblings (webarelyknewyougregcolbrunn.blogspot.com)decided to call bullspit on my optimism, and we ended up proposing a bet on who will have the better season, McCracken or Colbrunn. The stakes were non-monetary. Simply stated, at the end of the season, the loser had to either make a post praising (if I won) or damning (if I lose) Bill Bavasi and the moves he made this offseason. The biggest question was how to compare their seasons, and Trent came up with using Bill James' Runs Created stat.

I have to admit I've never calculated Runs Created before, but found this link that explains the complex calculation.

There are 3 component equations to Runs Created. Each is weighted by how much each event correlates with runs being scored. Additionally, each event (walk, hit, steal, etc.) is weighted within each equation based on how much it correlates with scoring runs. Here are the component equations:

A = Hits + Walks + Hit by Pitches - Caught Stealing - grounded into double plays

B = ((Walks - Intentional Walks + Hit by Pitches) * .24) + (Stolen Bases * .62) + ((Sacrifice Hits + Sacrifice Flies) * .5) + Total Bases - (Strikeouts * .03)

C = At Bats + Walks + Hit by Pitches + Sacrifice Hits + Sacrifice Flies

And here is the final equation for Runs Created:

((((C * 2.4) + A) * ((C * 3) + B))/(C * 9)) - (C * .9)

Additional adjustments are made when statistics with men in scoring position are available: divide a player's (or team's) total home runs by the number of at bats. Multiply that number by the number of at bats with men on base to find the expected home runs in that situation. Subtract the expected total from the real total and add that result to the raw runs created result.

Then multiply a player's (or team's) batting average by the number of at bats with runners on second or third (RISP) to determine the expected hits in that situation. Subtract the expected number from the actual number and again add the result to the raw runs created total.

Round the final result to the nearest integer. (whew!)
I've seen other links with different versions of the calculation, so I may need Trent to confirm the calculation. Not an easy stat to measure during the course of the season, but I'll probably be tracking some semblance of the Colbrunn/McCracken performance on the sidebar. Wish luck to Q!

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