Scioscia specifically talked about why he thinks his club has
outperformed its expected winning percentage based on a formula
created by stats maven Bill James called a club's Pythagorean
expectation, which estimates what a team's record should have been
based on the number of runs they scored and allowed.
It's been a consistent trend for the Angels to outperform their run
differential as they finished five games better than expected in 2009,
12 games better in '08, four games better in '07, five games better
in '06, two games better in '05 and one game better in '04.
Of course, it could just be luck -- the Angels underperformed their
expected win total by a combined six games in his first four seasons
at the helm -- but Scioscia pointed to two reasons why he thinks his
club has done much better than the formula suggests -- his club's
bullpen and baserunning prowess.
It stands to reason that if a team can consistently hold tight leads
with a top bullpen, then it could affect a team's run differential as a
close win, of course, is worth just as much as blowout in the standings.
"If you're able to get leads and hold leads -- which, throughout our
tenure here, we've had some arms that can hold leads -- then you're gonna
hold onto those tight games," Scioscia said. "If you go back a few
years ago, we played something like 80-some games where we had a
two-run differential, and that was as much attributed to our bullpen
than anything else."
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Whether his club's baserunning prowess has anything to do with
its propensity to outperform its estimated winning
percentage is up for debate, but at the very least it's clear that it does benefit from "running with reckless abandon," as Scioscia
The Angels have led the Majors in going from first to third on a
single in each of the past four seasons and have ranked in the top
five in that category in every season since 2001. Baserunning has
plenty of offensive value, as getting the extra base often leads to
more runs scored.
Scioscia said it's a stat he pays attention to, and he mentioned he is
interested by other more advanced offensive stats but neglected to say
And as for the recent developments in advanced defensive stats such as
UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) and John Dewan's Plus/Minus, Scioscia still
isn't quite buying the numbers yet.
"On the defensive end, I haven't seen any stats that really trigger
anything where I go, 'Wow, that's really exciting'" Scioscia said. "I
know they're doing range factors and all that, but I haven't any way to
do that other than good old-fashioned scouting -- looking at hands,
range, prep step and first step to balls. Stuff that our coaches pay
attention to like positioning."
So it's clear that while Scioscia doesn't quite embrace many of the
new advanced statistics out there, he's at least aware of them and in
some cases interested by some of the offensive statistics available.
"Some of the offensive numbers are intriguing," Scioscia said. "[But]
we pay a lot more attention to how much we go first to third than what
our XYZ over 2 ratio is."