Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quick (Not Very In-Depth) Review Of 2010's Team

The 2010 WSU baseball team thanks the home crowd
after a game in Pullman at Bailey Brayton Field.

Going in to the 2010 season most fans and analysts had the same opinion of the Cougars: great defensive team with solid pitching whose offense will struggle to keep up with the rest of the hard-hitting Pac-10. I must admit this was also my view on the team, even through and after early non-conference play where the Cougs absolutely lit up scoreboards with crooked numbers.

I assumed the high averages and large numbers being posted by the Cougs lineup were a product of playing lesser level teams with pitching staffs and defenses that were not on-par with future conference opponents. Let's be nice and just say I was wrong, and leave it there. 

The 2010 Cougar team entered conference play and continued to hit, a lot. Now yes there was an exception to this; the 2010 team was not particularly strong in road games. Throwing bad starts and failing to make the hits they were roping in Pullman haunted this team most all of last season.

Then the Cougs would come home and doing things like, say, take two of a three game series versus No. 1 ranked Arizona State on mom's weekend (a series I unfortunately couldn't make it to). There was a good amount of talent on this team last season, and a good majority of it carried over into this season as well. Most notably would be the return of staff ace, Chad Arnold. After failing to come to contract terms with the Dodgers, Arnold will be returning for his senior season in 2011, further bolstering a WSU rotation that already looked to be strong. 

That's going to be it for this post, just a simple recap of how last year's team was viewed going into the season and what they were actually able to accomplish. After seeing their season end in the Fayetteville Super-Regionals last year, look for this team to be hungry for more this season.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why Counting Stats Just Don't Cut It

The casual baseball fan has a few stats they like to look at, this is mostly because they are easily understandable and readily available from well known sources. For batters, these sort of stats would be: batting average (AVG), homeruns (HR), runs batted in (RBI) and the various other hits (1B, 2B, 3B). For pitchers, these stats would be: wins (W), losses (L), earned run average (ERA) and strikeouts (K).

WSU starting pitcher, Chad Arnold.
Arnold, who was drafted in last years
MLB Amateur Draft, did not come to
terms with the Dodgers in time and
will return to WSU this Spring.
With the exception of AVG, a simple percentage stat, we call these statistics "counting stats". It's a fairly self-explanatory name, these stats are simply counted up along the course of a season and used to evaluate the worth of a certain player. Well, this post is designed to begin hacking away at the belief widely held that these counting stats are a sufficient means of evaluating a player.

Unfortunately one stat has to be the one to get attacked for the greater good. I'm sorry "wins" (W) but today, you go down.

For most casual fans, as well as a good amount of baseball writers and analysts, wins are seen as one of the two best gauges for measuring a pitchers value. I'll start out by describing how a pitcher goes about earning a "win."

According to MLB, the official definition for the winning pitcher is: the pitcher who last pitched prior to the half-inning when the winning team took the lead for the last time.

So, what does a pitcher need to do to earn a win? Be the pitcher who pitched last before his team took the lead, without ever losing that lead later in the game. (Also, as an attachment, there is a minimum requirement of 5 inning pitched for a pitcher to get a W)

Introduction to the WSU Baseball Blog

Welcome, everyone, to WSU Baseball Blog, an unofficial Washington State baseball blog.

Here I aim to deliver to you the most informative and timely news and insight regarding the WSU baseball team you can find.

At this point you might be wondering who I am. My name is Brett Gleason and I am a current student at WSU. In addition to my classes here, I write for The Daily Evergreen, WSU's school newspaper, and obsess over baseball.

In the past few years I have been converted from being a typical viewer of baseball into a statistics driven analyst of baseball. So as an early warning, this blog may or may not appeal to traditionalist baseball fans, although I will try my hardest to keep it friendly for all. 

Along the way here at the beginning I will be posting a few scattered articles on why this blog will be focusing more on "sabermetric" statistics instead of traditional counting stats and basic percentage statistics. I hope these will help you the reader better understand the game, as well as better understand my posts.

I'm going to be opening with two series: one on the statistics that will be used frequently in this blog, followed by a series profiling the individual players on the 2011 WSU Baseball team.

So, that's that for the introduction. Also be looking for a short "Get To Know The Author" post in the near future, just to get us all acquainted.