Archive for January, 2013

Introducing BERA: Another ERA Estimator to Confuse You All

Coming up with BERA… like its [almost] namesake might say, it was 90% mental, and the other half was physical.  OK, maybe he’d say something more along the lines of “what the hell is this…” but that’s beside the point.    By BERA, I mean BABIP-estimating ERA (or something like that… maybe one of you can come up with something fancier).  It’s an ERA estimator that’s along the lines of SIERA, only it’s simpler, and—dare I say—better.

You know, I started out not knowing where I was going, so I was worried I might not get there.  As you may recall, I’ve been pondering pitcher BABIPs for a little while here (see article 1 and article 2), and whereas my focus thus far had been on explaining big-picture, long-term BABIP stuff in terms of batted ball data, one question that remained was how well this info could be used to predict future BABIPs.  After monkeying around with answering that question, though, I saw that SIERA’s BABIP component could be improved upon, so I set to work in coming up with BERA.  In doing so, I definitely piggybacked off of FIP and a little of what SIERA had already done.  You can observe a lot just by watching, you know.   I’m also a believer in “less is more” (except for when it comes to the size of my articles, obviously), so I tried to go for the best compromise of simplicity and accuracy that I could.

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Is Rebuilding Worth It?

Every year the least competitive MLB teams decide whether they will commit to “going for it” the next season, or take a step back and wait for some of their cost-controlled young players to develop into big league contributors, then invest money in the team at that time a year or two down the road.  If the situation is dire, the media and baseball executives alike will start kicking the tires on an organization needing an all-out rebuild.  In this case, teams trade away every expensive, though often productive, veteran for young prospects that can hopefully help form a more competitive and sustainable team in a few years in part due to a higher production to salary ratio.  A judgment is made that investing money into the major league portion of the organization will not yield worthwhile results in the upcoming seasons, leading to declining attendance and television ratings.  That money would be better spent on the draft and developing the players acquired through trades of the more expensive players on the team.  These often publicly announced plans usually have estimated times to completion ranging from 3-5 years, often coinciding with a new baseball executive’s contract length within a year or two.  I set out to measure the results of this strategy as it applies to total revenue, as well as how it works out in terms of return on investment.

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