Ranking the Phillies World Series Teams Using Isolated Slugging

Hey, pretty neat fanpost/review by Patrick here. Doing a few edits for presentation purposes. -ed.

For an organization that has existed for 127 years, successful seasons have been far and in between. Only seven clubs in Phillies history have won the National League pennant, and just two went on to win the World Series.

My short-term research aim is to use sabermetrical research, formulas, and statistics to definitively identify the best Phillies club of the seven that reached the World Series.

For those unfamiliar, sabermetrics is defined as the analysis of baseball through objective evidence. Created by baseball writer and historian Bill James during the early 1980s, the ideology behind sabermetrics is to undermine the concept of subjective judgment.

My data set includes the seven clubs in franchise history that reached the World Series (1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993, 2008, and 2009).

Because of variations in the sport (i.e. number of teams, number of games, proliferation of the homerun, etc.) there is no simple way to compare these clubs across eras. To maintain fairness I’ll be using the mathematical concept of relativity and normalization to rate and rank the clubs.

The results of this study will culminate in the publishing of a text ranking not just the World Series teams, but every club in Phillies history. I’ll eventually do the same with the Philadelphia Athletics and compare those clubs to the Phillies.

Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be publishing snippets of my findings here and on The Philadelphia Baseball Review.  

I'm currently conducting a study using sabermetrics to definitively define the best club in Phillies history. My data set includes the seven clubs that reached the World Series. This research is simply one piece of a much larger project that will ultimately rank every professional baseball club ever to play in Philadelphia.

Over the course of the next few weeks I'll be publishing snippets of my findings on The Review.

This week I'm taking a look at how the seven clubs rank in Isolated Power.

Isolated Power (ISO) is defined as the difference between slugging percentage (SLG) and batting average (BA). The statistic can be thought of as a measure of power "beyond first base."

Isolated Power is considered a truer measure of power than SLG because the latter includes bases gained on singles. Subtracting BA removes the first base of every hit from consideration.

Two variations of the formula exist:

STANDARD (STAN) ISO = (2B + (3B*2) + (HR*3)) / AB
PECOTA (PEC) ISO = (2B + 3B + (HR*3)) / AB

For the purpose of this study I found the ISO for each club using both formulas. I then found the mean and used that as the point of measurement.

I then did the same for the National League for each respective year by using the league average listed on Baseball Reference.

After I had the means for the team and league I divided the club point of measurement into the league's point of measurement to find a normalized number. This number is what is used to rank each of the clubs in ISO.

As you can tell from the chart, the 2009 Phillies ranked highest of the seven clubs in ISO, followed by 2008, 1915, 1980, 1993, 1980, and 1950 respectively.

To take things a step further and to offer a visualization I took the normalized number from each club, divided it by the best normalization number (2009 Phillies), and multiplied by 100 to find a percentage. This percentage number should give you a better understanding of how good a club was in comparison to the others in ISO.


BY Patrick Gordon

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