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Saturday, April 16, 2005
Win probability -- 4/15/2005

I tried to post this over at LookoutLanding, but I couldn't get the formatting right. Bear with me Sox fans, I'm going to put off ranting about Ozzie Guillen's ridiculous bullpen usage until tomorrow. It's not like there's many readers on the weekend anyways. The only thing worse than sitting inside on a beautiful weekend reading a poorly trafficked White Sox blog is sitting inside on a perfectly good Friday night writing a poorly trafficked White Sox blog.

Team    Player       Off   Pitch   Field     WPA

M's Boone 0.123 0.000 0.000 0.123
Ibanez 0.027 0.000 0.000 0.027
Thornton 0.000 0.019 0.000 0.019
Reed 0.010 0.000 0.000 0.010
Winn -0.009 0.000 0.000 -0.009
Nelson 0.000 -0.013 0.000 -0.013
Valdez -0.030 0.000 0.000 -0.030
Beltre -0.045 0.000 0.000 -0.045
Olivo -0.051 0.000 0.000 -0.051
Ichiro! -0.052 0.000 0.000 -0.052
Pinero 0.000 -0.129 0.000 -0.129
Dobbs -0.146 0.000 0.000 -0.146
Spezio -0.204 0.000 0.000 -0.204
M's Total -0.377 -0.123 0.000 -0.500

Sox Garland 0.000 0.308 0.000 0.308
Hermanson 0.000 0.268 0.000 0.268
Uribe 0.209 0.000 0.000 0.209
Rowand 0.058 0.000 0.000 0.058
Crede 0.057 0.000 0.000 0.057
Dye 0.047 0.000 0.000 0.047
Vizcaino 0.000 0.037 0.000 0.037
Timo! -0.030 0.000 0.000 -0.030
Everett -0.038 0.000 0.000 -0.038
Konerko -0.039 0.000 0.000 -0.039
Marte 0.000 -0.045 0.000 -0.045
Iguchi -0.069 0.000 0.000 -0.069
Pierzynsk -0.072 0.000 0.000 -0.072
Takatsu 0.000 -0.191 0.000 -0.191
Sox Total 0.123 0.377 0.000 0.500
As I've stated before, WPA often tells us exactly what we already knew intuitively. Garland had a perfect game into the 7th; he's obviously the player of the game. Jaun Uribe hit a key HR and had 4 RBI; he's gotta be the most valuable hitter. Well guess what, that's exactly what the data shows.

For the M's, Boone obviously had the best game, driving in all 4 runs. But you already knew that.

So why do I bother if it just tells us what we already know? Well first of all, the graph is a pretty damn cool representation of the game. Also, I've decided to log every game for the Sox this season, so why not share?

I'm sure some of you M's fans are asking yourself, "-.031, but what does that mean?" The simple answer is that player decreased his teams' chance of winning by 3.1% through his plays in the game. WPA isn't the next "it" metric, it's similar to clutch stats for hitters, in that it'll probably fluctuate from year to year. Nevertheless, I'm interested in comparing the White Sox season totals, so I'm going to continue to log games.

* * * * *

WPA can be useful for evaluating relievers, becuase they enter the game in high leverage situations. In conjuction with traditional stats, WPA can help paint a better picture of not just how a player performed, but in how tough of a situation he performed. In other words, it could show that a properly used middle reliever, one that was brought into tight games with men on base, actually effects the outcome of the game more than the closer who comes into face the last three batters with 3-run lead.