Thursday, June 23, 2011

Poor Offense Shouldn't Doom Giants

The Giants offense isn't good. Some might even say historically bad. So does that mean that they are doomed and no chance at post season immortality?

As much as the pessimist in me wants to say yes the data just doesn't seem to support that finding.

Obsessive Giants Compulsive in a post last night brought to our attention some very interesting research done previously by Baseball Prospectus. Here are some of his very interesting nuggets but read the whole thing because there is lots of good stuff there:

  • There is literally no relationship between regular-season offense and postseason success in our data set; the correlation is 0.0014 - in other words, it doesn't exist.
  • Since 1972, there have been 27 teams that made the postseason in spite of having below-average offenses. Of these, seven won the World Series. All of these seven had excellent pitching staffs. It's hard to make the playoffs with a below-average offense unless you have an excellent pitching staff.
  • Conversely, 20 teams have made the post-season with below-average run prevention. None of them won the World Series, and only two even played for the championship. 16 of 20 lost their first playoff series.
So a great offense may really help at getting you to the post season but without good pitching your chances of taking home the trophy are much smaller. This meshes well with the research published by Rory Paap at the Hardball Times. He found that World Series winners almost always have great pitching and that having a good offense is nice but will rarely bring you home the Commissioner's Trophy.

So as much at it is painful to watch this team's anemic offense on a nightly basis, Sabean and company have put their money into the place where should the Giants make the playoffs it will give them the best chance to win. I would love to see a move to make the offense better but not at the expense of hurting the Giants excellent pitching staff.

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