Counting Rocks: When it counts

The past 30 days, the Rockies rank as follows in offensive production:

Batting Avg: .270 (7th MLB, 3rd NL)

OBP: .351 (2nd MLB, 1st NL)

SLG: .447 (7th MLB, 3rd NL)

OPS: .797 (3rd MLB, 1st NL)

wOBA: .349 (2nd MLB, 1st NL)

Runs: 123 (7th MLB, 3rd NL)

RBI: 123 (funny how that works) (5th MLB, 2nd NL)

BABIP: .317 (4th MLB, 3rd NL)

 

The past 30 days, the Rockies rank as follows in defensive production:

ERA: 5.12 (27th MLB, 15th NL)

WHIP: 1.38 (20th MLB, 10th NL)

FIP: 4.11 (11th MLB, 8th NL)

xFIP: 3.93 (7th MLB, 6th NL)

Runs Allowed: 136 (26th MLB, 14th NL)

Earned Runs Allowed: 126 (26th MLB, 15th NL)

BABIP against: .318 (21st MLB, 9th NL)

This all being said, the clear problem right now is the PITCHING. We all want to freak out about how Stewart strikes out to end the game and oh no woe is us trade the bum let's get some more clutch hitters - well, it looks like the hitting really isn't the problem. Seriously, color me surprised. Yeah, more situational hitting would be nice, but when your team is ranking like 2nd overall in all them hitting metrics, it just sounds like everyone's timing is off.


Lots more past the jump, so keep reading.

This brings up another point. We want to vilify Stewart (or Giambi or whoever, this isn't the "LEAVE IAN ALONE! LEAVE HIM ALONE /tears /blanket /mascara" article), but I personally think it's ridiculous that we can't hold any sort of lead for any amount of time and constantly force the bats to be in those situations, where all we need is just one more clutch hit! How about a clutch punchout? How about the defense not booting two consecutive plays to leadoff an inning so that one single that does get through doesn't suddenly mean we've lost the lead yet again?

So, we've identified the overall "problem" this past month as the pitching. Check out Fangraphs for the pitching stats the past 30 days (spoiler: Ubaldo Jimenez has been the worst starter, Joe Beimel the worst reliever). But the fact of it is, the offense has been IN THE POSITION to counter the awful pitching by means of just one more clutch hit or just one more baserunner or whatever. We can't just let them off the hook for pitching. While we can't expect the bats to ALWAYS be super clutch and wearing capes and rescuing cats from trees and stopping the evil Dr. Strandemall, SOME of these timely heroics would be Grreeaaaaattttt.

Just for kicks, I'm going to introduce a new metric that isn't really a "day to day" conversation kind of metric like OPS or FIP or wOBA. It's called "Little Things". What it does is takes WPA (which, if you remember, is the metric that basically measures the probability of winning from play-to-play and rewards players for the percent chance of winning that their play added to the overall cause), neutralizes the context (a 9th inning home run will be more valuable than a 1st inning home run, so neutralizing the context basically makes the homer in the 1st and the homer in the 9th equally valuable), and subtracts the linear-weighted run production above average (wRAA).

For those of you who felt their eyes gloss over at that, what I just said was "This new metric, ‘The Little Things', takes the value of timely hitting and stuff and subtracts raw run production".

What this metric brings us is an idea of how well teams have been doing things right or in a timely fashion on top of their raw production. Basically, this points out the teams that get 9 hits and 2 runs on a regular basis, who hit the giant home run when they're already down (or up) by 6. Who essentially produces when it doesn't really matter. (For the record, production always matters.) Low numbers are bad. High numbers are good.

Check this table:

Team

WPA/LI

wRAA

winRAA

Little Things

Dodgers

-0.26

-19

-1.9

1.64

Padres

2.24

8

0.8

1.44

Cardinals

1.85

8

0.8

1.05

White Sox

2.22

14

1.4

0.82

Reds

1.05

6

0.6

0.45

Braves

0.38

0

0

0.38

Astros

-0.2

-5

-0.5

0.3

Brewers

1.59

13

1.3

0.29

Yankees

1.76

16

1.6

0.16

Indians

-0.05

-1

-0.1

0.05

Mets

-3.54

-35

-3.5

-0.04

Marlins

-1.78

-17

-1.7

-0.08

Mariners

-4.12

-40

-4

-0.12

Pirates

-1.49

-10

-1

-0.49

Nationals

-1.01

-4

-0.4

-0.61

Cubs

0.44

11

1.1

-0.66

Diamondbacks

-0.77

-1

-0.1

-0.67

Giants

-0.63

1

0.1

-0.73

Athletics

-1.13

-2

-0.2

-0.93

Phillies

-1.1

-1

-0.1

-1

Tigers

-1.67

-5

-0.5

-1.17

Rays

0.31

15

1.5

-1.19

Red Sox

-1.49

-2

-0.2

-1.29

Orioles

-1.45

-1

-0.1

-1.35

Angels

-3.1

-16

-1.6

-1.5

Royals

-2.25

-6

-0.6

-1.65

Rockies

0.19

20

2

-1.81

Rangers

-1.7

2

0.2

-1.9

Twins

1.94

41

4.1

-2.16

Blue Jays

-0.34

19

1.9

-2.24

 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Rockies are the worst team in the NL, and by a long shot, at making runs happen when we need them to, to the tune of nearly 2 entire wins lost to this. This is basically the advanced stats agreeing with the whole "not hitting when it counts" perception that has swept over the team the past 30 days.

Just so we have someone specific to scapegoat, here's another chart:

Name

WPA/LI

wRAA

winRAA

Little Things

Melvin Mora

0.21

1.3

0.13

0.08

Jonathan Herrera

0.07

0.2

0.02

0.05

Jason Giambi

0.52

5.1

0.51

0.01

Brad Eldred

0.02

0.2

0.02

0

Chris Iannetta

0.29

3

0.3

-0.01

Brad Hawpe

-0.2

-1.8

-0.18

-0.02

Miguel Olivo

0.32

4.6

0.46

-0.14

Clint Barmes

-0.08

1.4

0.14

-0.22

Ian Stewart

0.25

4.7

0.47

-0.22

Dexter Fowler

-0.08

1.6

0.16

-0.24

Carlos Gonzalez

0.26

5.4

0.54

-0.28

Ryan Spilborghs

-0.06

3

0.3

-0.36

Seth Smith

0.1

5.6

0.56

-0.46

 

Oof, not looking very good for the dynamic duo. This also lends credence to the "Mora/Herrera/Giambi" bandwagon. Good to see that Eldred made it to the park. Downhill from there.

It's funny to see that Smith has been our strongest bat, yet seemingly never when we REALLY need him. Well, not NEVER, but not nearly as "big hit" as Olivo or Giambi. Again, productive is productive, so I play him, but it's just something to think about.

Now remember, don't take this "Little Things" metric TOO seriously. As with anything involving WPA, it's a good indicator, but not necessarily gospel.

So, after all that, solutions? I don't have one. I don't see a trade fixing the season, we have the guys here to do it. They just need to do it.

Really, that's all I have for today. Guys, go do work.

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