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The NL Wild Card by NRAA

As the title suggests, I decided to take a look at the teams competing for the NL Wild Card. The manner in which I have elected to do that is as such: I took the eight regulars from each team and determined their NRAA*. There is, I must admit, some uncertainty on my part who some of the starters are at this point and I would greatly appreciate it if you, the reader, could point out the errors in the comments. Obviously, there are a number of problems with this method. The most glaring is the omission of pitching. Perhaps that will be the subject of a future article. Without further ado:

Philadelphia            
Player EQRAA Rate Games NRAA NRAA/G NRAA/162
Bob Abreu 28.3 97 128 19.12 0.191 30.98
Chase Utley 19.4 98 113 15.15 0.151 24.55
Kenny Lofton 2.9 111 83 14.43 0.144 23.38
Pat Burrell 20.5 97 120 14.1 0.141 22.85
Ryan Howard 3 100 55 5.49 0.055 8.89
Mike Lieberthal -6 99 93 -7.39 -0.074 -11.98
David Bell -18.1 106 116 -9.61 -0.096 -15.57
Jimmy Rollins -14 96 124 -15.29 -0.153 -24.77
             
      Total 36 0.359 58.33
             
Houston            
Player EQRAA Rate Games NRAA NRAA/G NRAA/162
Morgan Ensberg 35.5 110 125 38.39 0.384 62.19
Lance Berkman 23.4 93 97 17.14 0.171 27.77
Willy Taveras -5.6 110 123 5.42 0.054 8.78
Craig Biggio 7 99 122 4.7 0.047 7.62
Brad Ausmus -7.1 106 101 -1 -0.01 -1.62
Jason Lane 4.4 93 111 -3 -0.03 -4.86
Adam Everett -15.1 106 121 -6.5 -0.065 -10.54
Chris Burke -10.2 100 85 -11.97 -0.12 -19.4
             
      Total 43.18 0.431 69.94
             
Florida            
Player EQRAA Rate Games NRAA NRAA/G NRAA/162
Miguel Cabrera 48.5 100 124 39.09 0.391 63.33
Luis Castillo 9.5 113 98 22.69 0.227 36.75
Carlos Delgado 38.5 87 109 22.34 0.223 36.2
Juan Encarnacion 16.3 95 110 9.82 0.098 15.91
Paul LoDuca 6.3 97 105 3.02 0.03 4.9
Mike Lowell -13.1 110 118 -1.06 -0.011 -1.72
Alex Gonzalez -3.4 99 116 -3.94 -0.039 -6.38
Juan Pierre -7.5 100 126 -5.97 -0.06 -9.68
             
      Total 85.99 0.859 139.31
             
NY Mets            
Player EQRAA Rate Games NRAA NRAA/G NRAA/162
Cliff Floyd 23 109 117 28.64 0.286 46.4
David Wright 31.5 98 124 23.43 0.234 37.95
Miguel Cairo -6.7 114 78 5.41 0.054 8.77
Carlos Beltran 2.8 102 115 4.39 0.044 7.11
Victor Diaz 7.3 91 55 4.29 0.043 6.95
Ramon Castro 2.4 100 70 3.45 0.034 5.59
Marlon Anderson -2.9 106 95 2.97 0.03 4.8
Jose Reyes -5.2 94 125 -10.16 -0.102 -16.45
             
      Total 62.42 0.623 101.12
             
Washington            
Player EQRAA Rate Games NRAA NRAA/G NRAA/162
Nick Johnson 26.8 109 101 35.54 0.355 57.58
Brian Schneider 7.2 110 98 17.3 0.173 28.03
Jose Guillen 22.1 94 117 12.92 0.129 20.93
Ryan Church 10.1 100 89 11.33 0.113 18.35
Vinny Castilla -1 104 116 3.13 0.031 5.06
Jose Vidro 4 97 70 2.76 0.028 4.48
Preston Wilson 5.1 87 107 -8.27 -0.083 -13.39
Christian Guzman -30.9 94 110 -34.11 -0.341 -55.26
             
      Total 40.6 0.405 65.78


The Florida Marlins and to a lesser extent the New York Mets have separated from the field in terms of NRAA. Florida's NRAA per 100 games is better than that per 162 of Phillies, Astros and Nationals. That Florida is in third place in the Wild Card standings in spite of that is truly staggering. After all, when you think of the Florida Marlins, the first two words that come to mind aren't "terrible pitching." How they have managed to end up where they are is worth looking into at another time.

More amazing than Florida's misfortune relative to their apparent excellence is Philadelphia's position as leader of the pack relative to their apparent mediocrity. How it came to pass that a team employing both Jimmy Rollins and David Bell as every day players is on the cusp of a playoff berth is somewhat beyond me. Furthermore, it isn't as though Philadelphia's pitching rotation is of a similar composition to that of the Braves of the 1990's. I would look for them to fall from their perch atop the Wild Card standings and soon.

Both of these unusual occurrences pale in comparison to the fact that Christian Guzman is an everyday player for a team with playoff aspirations. I am at a complete loss for words. Negative Fifty Five Point Two Six. Wow. The Nationals are so weak at shortstop, they wish they had Jimmy Rollins. That's how bad it is in D.C. That being said, the Nationals are actually quite good aside from Guzman... and Preston Wilson. That was a great trade. What were they thinking?

The Houston Astros don't throw out a particularly impressive starting eight with the exception of Ensberg, but their appearance near the top of the Wild Card standings can be pretty easily attributed to their excellent starting rotation. Case in point: Roger Clemens pitched a complete game and allowed two runs. His ERA went up. Roy Oswalt's not half bad, either.

Back to the Mets, who I mentioned at the beginning. When you consider the Mets' prowess in the field and at the plate coupled (even if we are talking about three things) with a starting rotation that features Pedro Martinez, you have to like their chances as the season winds down.

To summarize briefly, I like the Marlins to take the Wild Card, but I wouldn't discount the Mets or Astros. As for the Nationals and Phillies, there's always next year.

*I employ a significantly different process for calculating NRAA, but it is essentially the same statistic. EQRAA and Rate are used in place of MLV and Rate2, what with their superiority and all.