Dissecting the Angels: Fun with Numbers

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Flickr user Irargerich
Baseball is known for--amongst other things--its passionate fans, players with quirky nicknames and managers that wear the same outfit as its players. Nothing exemplifies baseball, however, as much as the stat. No outfield-running drunken fan, player who goes by "Chipper" or cup wearing old Manager even comes close.

America's pastime is stat heaven.


It all started innocently enough. Things like at-bats, batting average and a pitchers' earned run average were useful indicators of the success or failure of a player. Baseball fans had only those basic stats to help them until about the '80s when someone figured we needed more.

Today we are inundated with abbreviation-overload: BABIP, BsR, TOB, OBA and RRA are a sampling of new stats used to track the effectiveness of a player. Funny thing is, we all still knew Johnny Bench was a great player without knowing his BABIP or BsR.

Stats, however, do have a place.

Baseball comes down to pitching, fielding and hitting. Teams that do all three well tend to win games. So, without digging too deep into baseball's love affair with abbreviations, the following is a look at how the Halos look from a stats perspective.

Disclaimer: If you have young children, are an expectant mother or have issues with a weak stomach, you may want to look away.

Pitching
This has always been known as the Angels' strong suit. This year was supposedly no different. So, what do the numbers say?

  • E.R.A. (Earned Run Average): The number of earned runs allowed by a team over a nine inning game. The smaller the better.
    • Angels rank 12th out of 14 American League teams coming at 4.65 earned runs. The league average is 4.16.
  • B.A.A. (Batting Average Against): What the opposing team is hitting against your teams pitchers. The smaller the better.
    • Angels rank 13th out of 14 American League teams with a .275 B.A.A. The league average is .257.

Conclusion
  • Angels pitchers give up a lot of hits and runs.

Fielding
Defense wasn't sexy until Ozzie Smith. The former Padre and Cardinals shortstop made plays that no human had a right to make. Team executives began to understand that a sprawling catch of what should have been a line drive to center with the bases loaded--Smith then flipped the ball to second for an inning-ending double play--was worth something.

Early in his career, Smith couldn't hit a baseball to save his life... but he was valuable not by knocking in runs, but by keeping the other team from doing it.

Defense wins games. So, how do the 2010 Angels stack up?

  • Errors: A play that should have been made resulting in an out, that was instead mishandled, resulting in a base-runner. Smaller is better.
    • Angels rank 10th with 29 errors. League average is 25.
  • F.P.C.T. (Fielding Percentage): The chances that a play will be made without error. The higher the better.
    • Angels rank 10th at .982. League average is .984.
  • Conclusion
    • Angels, defensively speaking, are poor at best.

Okay, so this isn't a team of Nolan Ryans and Ozzie Smiths, they can hit, right?

Batting
  • Runs - 8th at 174
  • Hits - 11th at 345
  • Doubles - 5th with 76
  • Triples - 14th (last) with 1
  • Homeruns - 5th with 41
  • RBI's - 8th with 167
  • Batting Average - 11th at .248
  • O.B.P. (On Base Percentage): The chances a player gets on base by any means. The higher the better.
    • Angels come in dead last at .309. League average is .330.
Conclusion
    • The Angels hitters don't scare anyone.

Remember that story about the emperor who hired the best weavers in all the land to make him some "new clothes"?

Like the emperor's ding-a-ling, the Angels' flaws are not only showing, they are on display for all to see.

This is a team in dire need of a shake up; stats don't lie.

[UPDATE]

Just for kicks, a few more.

SLG (Slugging Percentage) - the total bases (1 for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a triple and 4 for a homerun) that a player generates divided by his total number of opportunities, or at-bats. The higher the SLG% for a hitter, the better. For a pitching staff the opposite is true.

Angel hitters - .392, good for 9th in the AL. The league average is .403.
Angel pitchers - .458, 12th out of 14 teams in the AL.

Conclusion
Sorry, they still stink.

It would be nice, and helpful to the Angels, if there was a defensive category for the "wow" play. The type Ozzie Smith used to make with regularity. Whether it's a routine grounder or one that requires a run back to the outfield grass and a throw from his knees, it's just recorded as an out. That's not fair.

We need a W.P.O. category. The WPO, "Wow" put-out, would be easy to score, anytime the official scorer hears an audible "WOW!" from the crowd or press row, that put-out is tagged as a WPO. The Halos, thanks in large part to Erick Aybar, would no doubt be in the top five of that category.



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