More Birds, A New Statistic and Why Brandon Crawford Will Lead the Giants to Another World Series Victory
By my wife, special guest blogger (Note: my wife prefers a pseudonym for those that don’t already know her since she actually has a job. She will henceforth be referred to as Diana Prince – extra credit if you know from where the name originates)
Look at this page. It lists all the American and National League baseball teams. I want to call your attention to a few things. There are only three bird teams in major league baseball — the Orioles, the Blue Jays and the Cardinals. They are all going to suck this year. Look at their team logos. We already know birds are weak, but these teams want to make sure you know they aren’t tough. I would hate to be a cute, smiling Oriole facing a Diamondback in the World Series. I don’t think I’d even show up.
I know it goes without saying that I live in a New York-oriented household, but let me point out one other team – the Boston Red Sox. I’m not sure if that team logo is supposed to look like a children’s book illustration, an old-fashioned Christmas stocking, or a representation of an actual sports franchise. Embarrassing.
Moneyball, Trading Bases, WAR, OPS+, BABIP, PECOTA – whatever. If we triangulate how these teams choose to represent themselves (i.e., sweet little bird perched on a bat), the coolness of the city they call home, and – oh yeah – the caliber of the players, we should be able to accurately predict what the 2013 baseball season will look like.
But given the length of the baseball season, I think we need one more data point to ensure accuracy. So, I’ve come up with my own sabermetric to add to the seemingly endless list of new statistics being highlighted by Baseball Prospectus every day.
It’s called Beauty Above Replacement, or BAR, named after BARry Zito, of course. BAR measures a player’s looks and overall hotness as compared to a AAA level replacement. I thought about naming my stat after all-time BAR Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter, but that’s too easy, and he loses points for dating Mariah Carey (though it was pre-crazy). Barry, with his yoga in the outfield, surfing and guitar playing, is much more my style. And, frankly, who doesn’t love a redemption story.
To fully calculate BAR, a player receives a BAR rating from 0 to 5 which is added to his WAR score to give us an overall, true measurement of his ability on the playing field (he he). So, when we take Zito’s 2012 Fangraph’s WAR of 0.8 (yuck) and add in his 5 BAR, you’re not at all surprised by his Game 5 LCS performance against the St. Louis Cardinals. Add in Buster Posey’s 12 bWAR (8 WAR + 4 BAR) and my absolute breakout candidate this year, Brandon Crawford’s bWAR of 7++ (2 WAR + 5++ BAR) and you can clearly see why the San Francisco Giants not only won the series in 2012, but are my prediction to win it all in 2013. My husband always talks about teams needing to be strong up the middle.
Oh, and for all of you people out there that are going to deride my BAR system as shallow, I say this: it can’t be worse than all the so-called experts out there that picked the Orioles and A’s to finish in last place in 2012. With Nick Markakis, Jake Arrieta, JJ Hardy and Adam Jones (just to name a few), my calculations would have put the Orioles (despite their bird mascot) at least fighting for the wild card that they ultimately got.
And unfortunately for my poor husband, with the loss of Nick Swisher (4.5 BAR) and his .361 lifetime on-base percentage, Russell Martin (3.2 BAR) and A-Rod (questionable ethics hurts his overall 4.3 BAR), it looks like the Yankees are going to miss the playoffs for only the second time since 1995. They were fools not to sign Johnny Damon when he came begging for a job – at least he can hit in the clutch (yeah, talking to you Mr. Cano and your lifetime .222 post-season batting average).
I don’t have time to share my complete predictions for the 2013 season, but trust me, I’ll do better than Baseball Prospectus.
World Series: Tampa Bay vs. Giants.
Giants win in six.
Brandon Crawford wins WS MVP.
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