Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Are Giants Good ... Or Just Lucky?


Rob Neyer has noticed that the Giants are winning despite being outscored and asks the question: are the Giants good or just lucky?

Here is his answer:
Here's the thing, though. For all the Giants' "knowing how to win" and their sterling pitching staff, they did outscore their regular-season opponents last season by 114 runs. In fact, their run differential was typical of a 94-win team (they actually won 92 games). The year before that, with the same manager and many of the same players (or pitchers, anyway), they won 88 games with the run differential of an 86-win team.

So we've got two full seasons, over the course of which the Giants won exactly as many games as you would expect, considering their runs scored and allowed. What tells us more about the fundamental nature of the San Francisco Giants: 324 games in 2009 and '10 -- not to mention all of baseball's history -- or 67 games in 2011?

I'll go with the former, because that's the sort of person that I am.
I can't blame him for reaching that conclusion, either. The Giants certainly have been fortunate this season. One of the things about baseball is that close games leave more of a chance that bad teams will beat you. It's pretty rare for a good team to be blown out by a bad team. Over the course of a year, the record in close games will be around .500, but they will have a much better record in games where the margin is 5+ runs.

The Giants are the opposite of this, this season they are just 3-6 in so called "blow outs."

The other thing that is concerning for the future is they're being outscored at home by 12 runs and should be more like 14-17 at home instead of their current 19-12.

While I agree with Neyer that the Giants have been playing over their expected winning percentage, I think what they have currently shown on offense will not continue forever. Even the 2009 Giants averaged over four runs per game and they had seven players accumulate more than 200 at-bats while producing a wRC+ below 90.

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