Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All-Star Break Charts — 3

The Team

A look at various team measures is cause for some concern. In fact, the mid-season indicators hint that the Bulls are not quite as good a team as their record shows them to be. That is, while they are 50-40 on the year, they could easily be 45-45.

The first clue was in the chart from the other day showing the runs scored-runs allowed situation. The “expectation” formula came up with 46-44 on the season, instead of the actual 50-40.

Let’s look at team pitching first.

This chart shows the trend of Bulls team ERA, which is now 4.06 and 6th in the IL. Obviously, the starting crew is quite a bit worse than the relievers. With an ERA of 3.17, Gwinnett is almost a full run better than the Bulls.

The look below at overall offense and defense shows the offensive trend (the green line) slipping below the defense/pitching trend line (the red line). But they are so close that a shift in either direction is possible. The chart is one more indicator that, so far, the Bulls are approaching being a .500 ball club. More than that, since this is a weighted measure, extra base hits could have pushed things up. The Bulls rank 8th in home run production, dead last in triples, and tied for fourth hitting doubles.

The last chart is a bit tricky to understand, but stick with me. It’s the most worrisome of all. If after every game you take the Bulls cumulative wOBA and subtract the cumulative Opponent’s wOBA you get this series of data points. That downward trend is not good. If it crosses zero the Bulls are surely in losing territory.

Nevertheless, the Bulls are in first place and in the only numbers that really matter, have won 10 more games than they have lost. They could stay there and go on into the playoffs.

What would make me less worried? Better starting pitching and a few more extra base hits would make a huge difference in these charts and, I'd bet, a much more robust won-loss record.

We should not forget that the Bulls have a couple of other things going for them. First is terrific management by Charlie Montoyo and crew. Second is that a couple of good young pitchers are lurking down in Montgomery and we may get to see them this year. Hitters down there? Not sure, but maybe Dan Johnson will shift gear for us before we lose Guyer and Jennings.

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