The Giants And High-Leverage Dominance

Title: The Giants And High-Leverage Dominance
Date: June 6, 2014
Original Source: Fangraphs
Synopsis: This article looked at the dominance of the San Francisco Giants in high-leverage situations and suggested it wasn’t sustainable (it wasn’t).

The San Francisco Giants entered play Thursday with the best record in baseball at 38-21, a game ahead of their cross-bay rivals in Oakland and a full 3.5 games better than any other National League team. Given their recent history of World Series success, maybe this doesn’t stand out to you. If you know the team and have been following along, however, this seems more than a little surprising, because the Giants certainly don’t seem like the best team in baseball.

That’s not to disparage them – they’re a good team, to be sure, and their Pythagorean win-loss record of 36-23 doesn’t indicate that they’ve been benefitted too much from run distribution.

But that’s just based on run differential, and there’s certainly a lot of variance and good fortune that can go into how teams produce runs. For the Giants, well, being the clutchiest bunch of clutches who ever clutched is certainly helping.

The Colorado Rockies blog Purple Row wrote a bit about how the Giants have over-performed in high-leverage situations in the early parts of the season, a team-wide “skill” that doesn’t appear to be very repeatable outside of St. Louis. Chalking high-leverage performance up strictly to luck probably isn’t the best approach, but the degree to which San Francisco has outperformed every other National League team in high leverage situations at the dish is striking:

Team PA wOBA wRC+ BABIP BB% K% OPS
Orioles 252 0.364 129 0.362 9.9% 19.4% 0.838
Indians 287 0.361 137 0.330 8.4% 16.0% 0.834
Mariners 199 0.358 127 0.354 8.0% 22.6% 0.834
Athletics 289 0.347 123 0.296 10.7% 16.3% 0.804
Blue Jays 148 0.344 119 0.333 8.1% 20.9% 0.789
Giants 269 0.344 121 0.325 10.8% 20.1% 0.821
Tigers 179 0.343 117 0.300 10.1% 18.4% 0.796
White Sox 262 0.342 115 0.314 9.9% 26.0% 0.799
Marlins 275 0.341 117 0.337 12.7% 20.7% 0.781
Rockies 225 0.332 93 0.254 9.8% 20.4% 0.770
Reds 253 0.323 96 0.271 8.7% 19.8% 0.747
Twins 254 0.321 104 0.253 13.4% 22.4% 0.744
Pirates 312 0.321 106 0.302 8.7% 20.2% 0.725
Brewers 243 0.321 98 0.318 8.6% 23.0% 0.744
Royals 258 0.318 96 0.307 7.8% 20.5% 0.730
Rangers 207 0.313 88 0.299 11.1% 16.4% 0.730
Phillies 282 0.308 91 0.314 8.9% 20.6% 0.717
Diamondbacks 234 0.307 89 0.300 6.4% 19.7% 0.714
Yankees 217 0.305 89 0.322 9.2% 15.7% 0.695
Padres 222 0.301 92 0.228 11.3% 21.2% 0.683
Red Sox 340 0.297 84 0.286 13.5% 23.5% 0.675
Rays 280 0.295 89 0.271 10.4% 15.0% 0.669
Braves 243 0.295 84 0.312 7.4% 24.3% 0.680
Cardinals 276 0.278 77 0.250 9.1% 19.9% 0.629
Astros 200 0.271 68 0.266 7.0% 25.5% 0.601
Mets 317 0.265 67 0.262 11.4% 25.9% 0.606
Nationals 274 0.262 61 0.262 10.9% 23.7% 0.596
Dodgers 237 0.256 61 0.236 8.9% 21.5% 0.585
Cubs 257 0.246 48 0.226 10.9% 23.3% 0.553
Angels 223 0.239 50 0.220 9.9% 18.8% 0.545

Continue reading at Fangraphs.

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