"On Paper" Playoff Standings
This Week's Feature: The Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies have surged of late, getting back into the playoff picture in the East and, this week, pulling ahead of the Rockies into the lead for the NL wild card.
When you think of a Phillies team over the past several years, most of us tend to think offense. This year's squad is certainly a good offensive team, but they rank "just" 6th in the league in park-adjusted wOBA (0.326), with comparable OBP and SLG ranks, and average baserunning. Of course, they might rank better, were it not for a number of key injuries: each of their star infielders have been on the DL at some point this season.
Fielding-wise, we rate the Phillies as above-average. There is disagreement among the metrics on this. UZR has them at -9 runs this season, whereas DRS has them at +6 runs and our in-house team stat based on FIP and base runs has them as outstanding at +28 runs. Combining these statistics, along with the excellent catching of Carlos Ruiz (who is having a fabulous season, both at bat and behind the dish) and company gives us an estimate of 12 runs above average: 6th in the league. This seems in keeping with their reputation, so I'm confident that this number is reasonably close.
Their pitching received a significant boost this season with the addition of the perennially-superb Roy Halladay. The result of his efforts, as well as quietly very good performance by Cole Hamels and the supporting cast of Joe Blanton and the recently-arrived Roy Oswalt, is the 3rd-best team xFIP in the National League. It's worth noting that their team FIP (4.11), while close to their xFIP (3.99), ranks them substantially lower (12th) despite a correction for the permissiveness of Citizen Bank Park to home runs in the FIP calculation. As we use both FIP and xFIP to estimate pitcher performance, the Phillies don't look as good in our rankings as they might have earlier this season when we only used xFIP.
Overall, this looks like a team that is pretty good at everything--they hit well, they field well, and they pitch well. They may not be the best at anything, but this is a well-rounded team that can beat you in multiple ways. And remember, they've had significant injuries for almost the entire year: ignoring catchers, they've had their starting position players all in the lineup at the same time just four times since April 14th. With Utley back, and Howard due back soon, this could be the team to beat for the NL wild card--and they might well challenge the Braves for the East.
Under the Hood
Converting Runs to Wins
RS = Actual Runs Scored, after a park adjustment
eRS = Estimated Runs Scored, after park adjustment (see table below)
RA = Actual Runs Allowed, after a park adjustment
eRA = Estimated Runs Allowed, after park adjustments (see table below)
W% = Actual Winning Percentage
pW% = PythagenPat Winning Percentage, based on actual runs scored and run allowed totals
cW% = Component Winning Percentage, using estimated runs scored and estimated runs allowed totals. If you don't like the league adjustments or strength of schedule adjustments, click in the header and sort by this column to get an "unsullied" ranking.
SoS = Strength of Schedule. This is an iterative weighted average of the component-based winning percentages of a team's opponents. Described in this post.
cW%s = Schedule-adjusted Component Winning Percentage. Calculated by applying SoS to cW% with the log5 method, as described in this post.
xTW = Extrapolated wins. Based on current real wins to date, and extrapolated wins over the rest of the season. Extrapolations are based on an average of cW% and cW%s, as justified in this post.
LgQ = League Quality. The AL has superior talent to the NL (justification here and here, and modified most recently here). The number shown is an estimated true talent level (in winning percentage) of the two leagues were they to be able to play one other for a large number of games. It's based on the last two years of interleague, with a small adjustment toward 0.500 to account for the fact that the leagues do play one another and thus have already had a small effect on one another's performance.
TPI = Team Performance Index, a hypothetical winning % based on cW%s, after adjustment for league quality. Think of this as the W% we'd expect teams to have if they were all in one big league and were allowed to play 10,000 games vs. every team.
Team Offenses and Defenses
RS = Actual Runs Scored
eRS = Estimated Runs Scored: HitRns + EqBRR
wOBA = The Book's statistic, but park adjusted, and using data from both HitRns and EqBRR
OBP = On Base Percentage (Times on Base / Plate Appearances)
SLG = Slugging Percentage (Total Bases / At Bats)
HitRns = Base Runs-estimated runs scored, ignoring all base running, using the equation in this post.
EqBRR = Dan Fox's composite baserunning statistics from Baseball Prospectus, minus stolen bases since they are included in wRC.
RA = Actual Runs Allowed, after park adjustment
eRA = Estimated Runs Allowed: PitRns - Field
ERA = Straight-up Earned Run Average
FIP* = Fielding-Independent Runs, based strictly on K-, BB-, and HR-rates. HR/FB rates are park adjusted using these park factors.
xFIP = Expected Fielding-Independent Runs from FanGraphs. Like FIP, but with HR/Outfield Fly Ball rates regressed completely to league average. xFIP is as predictive as any other DIPS-like stat.
PitRns = Pitching Runs Allowed, the expected runs allowed based on the average of FIP and xFIP. Described in this post.
Field = Described in this post. It is essentially an average of team UZR, DRS (minus rSB since I calculate catcher fielding separately), and BsRFld. BsRFld is just difference between FIP-based runs allowed and park-adjusted Base Runs, and is a less direct approach of measuring fielding. The fielding number also includes a catcher fielding statistic, based on SB's, CS's, WP's, PB's, E's, and this year catcher interference. The catching methods are essentially those described here. But I'm using B-Ref data this year, and so there are slight tweaks to the methodology, generally in ways that should lead to greater accuracy. If you want to know, feel free to ask!
BABIP = Batting Average on Balls In Play. Fluctuates at the team level with fielding, although park effects and chance events can have effects as well.