August is typically one of my busier months with the CPA practice. Combine that with being a full time dad half the time, my writing time has diminished. It basically goes in spurts. Anyway, I took a break and decided to go to Fangraphs to look at the Tigers Win Probability Added figures. For those of you who don’t what WPA is, it’s basically the amount you have added to your team’s chances of winning. Looking at yesterday’s game as an example, the big hit was Austin Jackson’s two run home run. That took the Tigers from a 57.8% chance of winning the game to an 83.3% chance of winning hence that one hit game Austin Jackson a .255 pop. While it doesn’t totally give a player a clutch score, it does provide how valuable that players hits are.
Some basic weaknesses behind WPA is it gives a lot of credit to high leverage hits. So a grand slam in the first inning isn’t as valuable as a grand slam in the ninth when you’re down by three runs. Four runs is four runs. Also, if your teams wins, your overall WPA for the game is going to be .500. If you lose, it’s -.500. So the players are winning teams are going to have a higher WPA then their counterparts on losing teams.
Austin Jackson’s overall game WPA was .204. That two run home run was big, but it was his only hit. Max Scherzer’s start was worth more and he had a .331. Joaquin Benoit’s shutout inning was worth more then Jose Valverde mostly because Benoit was pitching with a one run lead while Valverde was pitching with a three run lead.
If you look at the Tigers leaderboard, you find some interesting things. Miguel Cabrera tops the list and that’s not a surprise. In fact his 4.38 WPA is the fourth best in all of baseball amongst hitters. Alex Avila is second and Victor Martinez is third.
Justin Verlander sports a 4.10 WPA. That’s second in all of baseball just behind Jered Weaver. Unfortunately no other starter has a positive WPA. Jose Valverde is second with 2.60 and Al Alburquerque is third with 1.21. The bottom three are Rick Porcello, Phil Coke and Brad Penny (who’s dead last). The bottom three on the hitting side are Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez and Ryan Raburn (who’s at the bottom of the list).
So just something to check out when you’re board. They have a cool iPhone application and you can also check out their site and they update the games in real time.