2015 World Series Statistical breakdown – Strength of Schedule

SABR CartoonMany baseball fans love the game for so many reasons.  Some people like the drama, some people like the strategy.  Some people like the history or the action.  Some people love it for the statistical side of the game.  For me, I grew up playing Strat-O-Matic baseball.  I used to love to make out line-ups, draft teams, play head to head against others and track my progress.  I was 13 years old and I knew how to calculate On base percentage, Slugging percentage, ERA.  I could score a game and determine how many unearned runs a pitcher gave up or figure out a quality start from how to determine a save.  No, we did not have WAR or UZR in those days.  But for me, I just love the analytical side of the game and we bring this into the way we coach and run the Renegades.  For now, Let’s have some fun looking at a stat we first introduced last year to the league….Strength of Schedule.

 

Strength of Schedule

As we did last year, we have tried to come up with a method to measure the strength of each team’s schedule.  This can be a telling story on how hard a World Series schedule each team has.  The way the league seeds teams is by looking at their finish in the prior year’s world series.  Keep in mind, this is all that is done to seed.  If a roster is completely overhauled – the team does not move up or down the rankings.  Here is where it gets ugly.  If a team did not attend the previous year’s series, they are seeded in the order that they got their registration fee into the league.  All of these teams are placed at the bottom of the brackets with no insight into who is on those teams.  This can produce a ton of problems for teams trying to play for a seed.  In 2015 there was 24 teams BUT only 16 teams returned from the 2014 World Series.  This meant we had 8 teams playing in the World Series that were not seeded.  Let’s name those teams in the order they were seeded by their registration fees

  • #17 New Jersey Titans – A team made up of players who left the NJ Lightning to start their own team
  • #18 Arizona Phenom – a team made up mostly from players who left the Southwest Slammers including players from the Stockton Stingrays
  • #19 Indy Knights – a team made up of players from the Indy Thunder, Wichita Sonics and Cleveland Scrappers
  • #20 Canada – a brand new team making their first ever World Series appearance without a single player having NBBA World Series experience on their roster.  Their only NBBA game experience came against the Seattle South Kings Sluggers (a team who had never made a World Series)
  • #21 Rochester –  A brand new team formed because Rochester was the host city.  Not one player had any NBBA experience and they had never played a game against an NBBA opponent
  • #22 Taiwan Lightning – Their first time playing in the World Series – at least one player had played with the Taiwan Home run in the 2013 World Series – Poe Huang.  They had experience playing against the Taiwan Homerun
  • #23 Taiwan Homerun – The 2013 World Series champions were unable to come in 2014 due to finances.  They also won the Series in 2012
  • #24 BCS Outlaws – Making their first ever NBBA World Series, though they had experience playing locally against other Texas teams.  Three of their players were former players of the Austin Blackhawks

With all of this movement, many of the teams that were seeded lost many of their starters.  This list is extensive and includes

  • #8 Southwest Slammers – Lost two starters in Pete Trejo  (tied for 2nd on their team in runs scored in 2014) and Chris Padilla as well as 4 of their bench players.  Keep in mind, The Slammers only had 10 people play in a game for them in the 2014 World Series- so 60% of their roster was gone..and they maintained an 8 seed
  • #9 Indy thunder – They gained 3 players from the Chicago Comets in Eric and Tyler Rodriguez as well as Corey White.  Three guys who would end up starting for them in 2015.  When you looked at their 2014 roster only 3 of their 11 players returned for the 2015 season.  They lost their two best defensive players (Dave Benney and Stanley Griffin) and top run scorer (Ed Brown)
  • #12 NJ Lightning – 7 of the 9 players on their roster left the team to start the NJ Titans (who by the way were ranked 17th).  They rebuilt their entire team with rookies surrounded by only 3 players with experience
  • #14 Lonestar – They picked up Richie Flores from Austin and Marlon Stover from NC – and both of these guys started for them

As you can clearly see the way the teams are seeded really makes no sense and because of this…Teams have a hard time playing to improve their seed.  For example a Team trying to play for a seed can run into issues.  An easy example is the Indy Thunder.  Who was their first opponent on day one of the brackets – The Taiwan Homerun.  What did this do to the Thunder – it forced them to play Long Island in their second game…And most importantly it put them on a track to have to play 3 games a day every day of the World Series.  These things are not right and ruin the spirit of the World Series.  Let’s face it…going into the World Series there were really on three teams who had a true legitimate chance to win,  Austin, Taiwan and RHI.  The Bayou City Heat were a long shot….and everyone else had almost no chance based on these rosters.  This means the other teams are pretty much just playing for a seed.  A seed they may not have any control over if their bracket has a team mis-seeded in it.

With all of this in mind, Let’s look at the Strength of Schedule of the teams that played in the 2015 World Series.  The math is simple.  What we do is look at the final ranking of each team and add those rankings up.  Then we divide that sum by the total amount of games played.  This comes up with a figure that represents the average seed of the team they faced.  So for example, The Boston Renegades played 9 games against the following teams Indy Knights (12) + Arizona Phenom (20) + NJ Lightning (17) + Tyler (15) + Colorado (6) + Indy Knights (12) + Indy Thunder (8) + Bayou City Heat (4) + Colorado (6).  This equates to a score of 100 and we divide that by 9 games to get 11.11.  This means the average seed of a Renegade Opponent would be ranked 11th in the league

Please note this Strength of schedule score does not take into account the amount of games played.  A team playing 9-10 games is forced to play 3 games on multiple days of the World Series- and this can take a huge toll on a team.  This year, the Taiwan Home Run were forced to play 12 games…which is likely an NBBA record (though that is unofficial).  Only one team played 12 games while four teams played 10 games, six teams played 9 games and 13 teams played 8 games.  This is a wide variance of games played.  With teams all carrying different size rosters, that can have an impact on teams staying healthy through the week

SOS Rank WS finish Team Games Record SOS
1 2 Taiwan HR 12 9-3 5.58
2 3 RHI 8 6-2 6.75
3 1 Austin 9 8-1 8.00
4 6 Colorado 8 5-3 8.25
5 10 Minnesota 8 4-4 9.88
6 9 Southwest 10 6-4 10.20
7 7 Chicago 8 6-2 10.50
8 5 Boston 9 7-2 11.11
9 13 Lonestar 9 4-5 11.56
10 11 Taiwan Light 10 5-5 11.80
11 8 Indy Thunder 10 6-4 12.00
12 4 Bayou City 8 6-2 12.00
13 14 Atlanta 9 4-5 12.22
14 16 NJ Titans 9 3-6 13.11
15 19 BCS 8 2-6 13.25
16 12 Indy Knights 10 5-5 13.60
17 23 Columbus 8 1-7 14.25
18 15 Tyler 9 5-4 14.56
19 20 Arizona 8 2-6 14.75
T-20 18 Canada 8 2-6 15.13
T-20 17 NJ Lightning 8 3-5 15.13
22 21 Long Island 8 4-4 17.00
23 24 Rochester 8 0-8 17.13
24 22 Athens 8 2-6 17.50

In 2014 using this algorithm, the Renegades played the toughest schedule…This year we played just the 8th toughest schedule…as we did not play a top team till the 3rd day of the World Series,  The seven wins the Renegades had in a World Series were the best in team history and the 3rd highest total of all team at the series.  The Renegades did not play any of the top 3 teams in 2015.

One important thing to keep in mind is the discrepancy in the amount of games played.  The Taiwan Home Run played 12 games in 5 days and had the toughest average opponent with a 5.58.  This means their average opponent was ranked between 5th and 6th in the league.  They played the #1 Austin Blackhawks three times and also played the #3 RHI Extreme twice and #4 Bayou City Heat.  They were also forced to play 3 games on the day of the Championship game because they had to play RHI on Saturday morning for the right to be in the championship game. (that game was schedule to be played on Friday – but due to the length of the game vs Bayou City was moved to Saturday morning.)  Some key findings from looking at SOS (Strength of Schedule) include

  • The Taiwan Home run were the only team to play 12 games and they almost won the title
  • Austin went 8-1 and had a very tough schedule as they played the 3rd toughest schedule at the Series – Earning this title
  • This year the surprise team was the Minnesota Millers.  The Millers placed 10th but had the 5th hardest schedule as they had to face both Austin and RHI.  SOS may be misleading a little here as they only played 8 games and just two of them were against top 6 teams.  The key was they played a lot of middle seeded teams to keep the average low such as Atlanta (14), Lonestar (13) Indy Knights (12) and two upper level squads in the Indy Thunder (8) and the Southwest Slammers (9)
  • The Bayou City Heat who finished 4th had a somewhat cupcake schedule – the 12th hardest in the league.  Their first three games were against three teams that finished at the very bottom of the league, 24 (Rochester), 22 (Athens) and 21 (Long Island).  These games provided no competition for them and made up 38% of their schedule
  • The Columbus Midnight Stars won just one game and finished 23rd but their strength of schedule was 17th in the league.  They were forced to play the #8 (Indy Thunder) and the #6 (Colorado Storm) teams on the first day of the World Series
  • The Long Island Bombers imploded.  They are a veteran team who plays many games within the East Coast.  They entered the tournament as the 10 seed and finished as the 21 seed.  What is more surprising is they had one of the easiest schedules and still finished 21st.  They started off by beating the 22 and 24 seeds (Athens and Rochester ) then had to play the #4 Bayou City Heat..the toughest opponent they would face all week.  Things got worse for them as they lost on day 1 of double elimination in their first game to the 13 seed Lone Star Roadrunners – and then because of all of the mis -seeding, they were forced to play the Indy Thunder (#8) and lost to them to be eliminated on day 1 of the World Series.  This forced them to play for the 21st place.  Let’s be clear, Long Island IS NOT the 3rd worst team in the league.  They got hosed by the lack of proper seeding for the brackets.  Even though they never played Taiwan, they were impacted by that mis-seed more than any other team in the league.
  • The Colorado Storm had a tough schedule – as they were forced to play only one team ranked higher than 11th and played 50% of their games against top 5 teams
  • The Southwest Slammers  finished 9th but had the 6th hardest schedule…Possibly the 2nd hardest schedule if you account for the fact they were one of 5 teams to play more than 9 games.  The Slammers had to play the #2 Taiwan Home Run and #3 RHI Extreme on day 1 of the Series and later got to play the #6 Colorado Storm and #7 Chicago Comets in double elimination

What makes the NBBA unique is that many games are played throughout the year.  Sadly, there is not an easy way (and cost effective way) for the league to track the progress of the teams.  Maybe with experience and finances this could change in the future.  For now, we have to play with the World Series stats.  Its the only thing we have for the Beep baseball Seam heads who like stats.  We come together for one glorious week to play ball.  From this week, we get some data to play with.  In 2015, we walked away with Austin winning the title.  We saw amazing guts and strength from a Taiwan Home Run team that was forced to play 12 games in 5 days.  We saw a few teams have their hopes dashed by the way the dance was seeded (Indy Thunder and Long Island).  We saw the largest NBBA World Series in league history.  And we witnessed a banner year from the Boston Renegades!

2015 World Series Statistical breakdown – Batting Average

SABR CartoonYes, its been a long time since the World Series ended…but don’t we need a league hot stove?  Besides, it takes a while to look at the stats for 24 teams and compile them, since they are not in the easiest format to consume.  There are a few key things we all know by now.  Austin won…again.  Rochester joined the league for the first time and did not win a game.   Batting Averages were insanely high this year.  Games were taking a very long time because the offense was up across the board.  Sometimes scores felt more like an NFL game than an NBBA game.  Let’s dive into the sexy part of the game….offense!

Batting Average

This year, the league batting average was .373.  For comparison, this was almost 100 points higher than the 2014 World Series when the league hit .276.  Did the offense suddenly improve?  Likely not, it was due to the fields we played on.  Some of the fields in New York played hard and the grass was not thick enough to slow the balls down.  A weak hit could roll long distances on some fields.  The fields were the reason for some of the high scores.  Good fields with thick grass not only feature the defense more but they are actually safer for our athletes.  Hard fields can result in four hour games in 90 degree heat which can take its toll.  Especially playing 3 games per day.  The most extreme of games was played this season between the Taiwan Home Run and the Bayou City Heat with Taiwan winning 43-37.  These two teams average…AVERAGED more than 20 runs a game on offense for the week.  In the 2015 World Series, only 9 of the 24 teams hit over the league average of .373 (defined as a weighted average by adding all of the at bats and all of the hits together and doing the proper math.  The simple average of averaging that team batting averages and dividing by the 24 teams was a less impressive .347). In fact, 10 teams hit under .300 for the week.  It is not an offensive league right now, but the higher seeded teams scored many more runs and therefor had many more at bats. For example, The Taiwan Home Run had 416 at bats in the 12 games they played while the Rochester Red Wings (in their first year) played 8 games and only had 150 at bats.  In fact, the Home Run scored more runs than 13 teams had at-bats, think about that for a moment.  This is a tribute to how good the Home Run really are.  Playing that many games may be a league record in a week.  There is no way they deserved to play that schedule.  This is a problem with the way the league seeds the tournament that needs to be addressed (more to come on this is in a future post).  The league batting average is being skewed toward the upper teams as the top 8 teams accounted for 40% of the at-bats in the World Series.  What does this mean?  It means the top 8 teams (which also had the top 8 batting averages) separated themselves from the rest of the league.  The Boston Renegades were among these teams.  The following chart ranks the teams by batting average (and shows where they finished in the World Series.

WS Finish Team AB Runs Runs per game Avg
4 Bayou City 279 177 22.1 .634
2 Taiwan HR 416 241 20.1 .579
1 Austin 275 149 16.6 .542
5 BOSTON 271 145 16.1 .535
3 RHI 221 118 14.8 .534
7 Chicago 236 110 13.8 .466
6 Colorado 211 91 11.4 .431
8 Indy thunder 286 118 11.8 .413
12 Indy Knights 264 99 9.9 .375
9 Southwest 247 86 8.6 .348
10 Minnesota 193 67 8.4 .347
21 Long Island 200 68 8.5 .340
11 Taiwan Light 253 81 8.1 .320
15 Tyler 223 67 7.4 .300
20 Arizona 202 60 7.5 .297
13 Lonestar 222 63 7.0 .284
14 Atlanta 210 54 6.0 .257
17 NJ Lightning 197 50 6.3 .254
16 NJ Titans 212 53 5.9 .250
22 Athens 175 37 4.6 .211
23 Columbus 180 36 4.5 .200
18 Canada 170 32 4.0 .188
19 BCS 170 31 3.9 .182
24 Rochester 150 6 0.8 .040

The hard work that Boston has put in made a huge difference to it’s stats.  The inflated batting average was not just due to the fields we played on, it was due to the hard work.  We tried some new coaching techniques.  Our players worked to make changes and looked to improve their skills and knowledge of their swing.  We added a third pitcher to the team in Jamie Dickerson.  Ron Cochran worked on things to make him a better pitcher in the league.   All of these things paid off.

While many rosters changed in the league from one year to the next, the Renegades did not witness much turnover.  Each and every Renegade player saw major increases in their numbers.  In fact, the renegades had the largest increase in batting average in the league from 2014 to 2015.  Yes, adding Christian Thaxton and his .719 average helped…But seeing major increases from most everyone also played a role.  Rob Dias entered his second season and his average rose .157 points.  Larry Haile saw an increase of .189 points.  Joe Quintanilla saw a .500 point swing in his stats as he hit .500 following a .000 performance in 2014.  The real surprise for the Renegades was Guy Zuccarello.  Guy increased his average by .400 points from .143 to .543.  So, yes, Thaxton’s .719 average helped but there were so many others on this team who had major improvements in their average from year to year.  Let’s take a look at the 16 teams who played in the past two World Series.  The following chart shows their averages for each season.  It also shows the change in batting average between the two seasons and ranks the teams in descending order of this delta.

Rank Team 2014 2015 Delta
1 Boston .306 .535 .229
2 Bayou City .408 .634 .226
3 Athens .021 .211 .190
4 Indy Thunder .253 .413 .160
5 Lonestar .143 .284 .141
6 Atlanta .124 .257 .133
7 Minnesota .232 .347 .115
8 Long Island .233 .340 .107
9 Chicago .366 .466 .100
10 Southwest .258 .348 .090
11 Tyler .217 .300 .083
12 RHI .459 .534 .075
13 Columbus .127 .200 .073
14 NJ Lightning .200 .254 .054
15 Colorado .391 .431 .040
16 Austin .582 .542 -.040
16 team avg .284 .373 .089

Look who is at the top….the Boston Renegades!  Let’s hear it for the coaches!  Let’s hear it for the hard work the players put in!  We had a great year and we did it our way.  We did it in a somewhat unique way for this league.  The Boston way is growing it’s own talent and working on continuous improvement with the players and coaches.  This chart shows some amazing things for the Boston Renegades.  Boston was one of two teams that witnessed a .200 point increase in the team average.  The other team was the Bayou City Heat , owners of the highest 2015 World Series average at .634 (the only team to hit greater than .600).

Both the Bayou City Heat and Boston Renegades got contributions from players who came back to the team who had not played in 2014.  Boston returned Shayne Cantan (who hit .375) and Bayou City returned John Kibodeaux (who hit .500).  Boston also recruited a new rookie that made the all-star team in Christian Thaxton (.719).   Newer players like Rob Dias for Boston and Joseph Fleeks for Bayou City saw big jumps in their average (Fleeks went from .091 to .690). Both these teams topped the league in improvements.  Both these teams did it without adding offensive players from other rosters in this time period (Bayou City did recruit Greg Gontaryk to play defense for them)

Let’s look at all the other teams who played in both the 2014 and 2015 World Series.  The rank next to the team name below relates to the rank in the delta of their batting average year over year where 16 had the least improvement (Boston was tops and Bayou was 2nd).

In a way to have some fun, Let’s bucket all of the other teams into categories.  This is in no way meant to be disrespectful.  Its just me having some fun.  Running a team in this league is hard work.  It’s so hard to coach, fundraise, recruit and make everyone happy.  Keep this in mind, the visual impaired community is small enough that its hard to field a roster at times…especially a home grown roster.  That said, it’s more impressive that some teams have had some success doing this.

Building a program from within – These guys join Boston as Home grown teams whom are improving

  • #6 Atlanta who witnessed a .124 point increase.  – Greg Hoggle, their pitcher decreased his K rate from 57% to 49% which always helps the average.  They saw some steady improvement from most players but got a big lift from the emergence of their rookie, Dontrey Hunt who hit .393
  • #7 Minnesota whom witnessed a .115 point increase – Their improvement in batting average can be tied to the improvement of Evan Van Duyne whose average jumped from .276 to .645 and Josh Xiong who moved from .259 to .406.  Both these guys are home grown and the Millers have a 100% home grown roster.

Going further into the league, things are not as impressive.  In fact, teams are not at the same level as Bayou City and Boston at improving.  We are grouping these teams into a few buckets.  These labels are just to have some fun…They are in no way meant to be disrespectful

One Direction – Not talking about the boy band…but the direction you can go when you struggle in a season….The only way you can go is up

  • #3 Athens ranked third in improvement by raising their Average .190 points…but they only had one way to go – up.  They scored just 3 runs in the 2014 World Series.

Free Agent impact – Team’s improvement is related to the impact of signing players from other teams

  • #4 The Indy Thunder were impressive in their own part, ranking 4th in improvement….but they did things different than Boston and Bayou City.  They improved as a team..but 5 of their 6 starters changed from 2014 to 2105..as three of those players moved to the Thunder from the Chicago Comets, where they learned to play ball – (the Rodriguez brothers and Corey White).  Even though the Thunder improved, they did so by picking up players from another team’s system.  In sum, their line up was not home grown and their improvement was the result of recruiting players from another team…as many of the Indy Thunder starters left to start the Indy Knights
  • #5 Lonestar ranked 5th in improvement – They saw some of their home grown players improve dramatically such as PJ Navarro (.378), Pedro Garcia (.324), Drew Bennet (.286) – But they also picked up two players from other teams.  Joining them were Richie Flores (from Austin who hit .333) and Marlon stover from NC (who hit .500).  Their rise in batting average was weighted toward the addition of Flores and Stover.

Roster trouble – It’s not easy to keep a team together.  Some teams get old and struggle to recruit new talent.  Other teams just struggle to get along and find a common goal.  These teams had too much turnover forcing their teams to rebuild in any way they could

  • #9 Chicago had a major roster overhaul as they lost three players to the Indy Thunder and they struggled a bit to field a roster of their own and had to pull in Jeff Dell from Cleveland.  Their increase was barely over the average increase of the league (.100 point increase for Chicago..and a .089 increase for the league)
  • #10 Southwest witnessed an increase of .090 points (just over the league average) but some of their players left to start the Arizona Phenom in 2015.  Their increase was attributed to bringing in players such as Scott Hogwood who led their team in hitting at .581
  • #14 NJ Lightning – Their improvement was 100% attributed to bringing in Kevin Barrett who pitches for Cleveland.  Regardless, they also did this with 4 of the 6 starters gone to the NJ Titans.  To even field a team after the rift that fractioned off another team considers a lot of praise

Don’t let the stats fool you – These teams saw increases, but it was likely due to the fast fields

  • #8 Long Island – Yes they saw a great improvement in their team average by .107 points but they played a weak schedule.  They played poorly and were impacted by the mis-seeding of the Taiwan Home Run and finished 21st in the league.  This weak schedule (which will be discussed in a different post had them face weaker defensive teams)  Also stars like Joe Dejesus saw his average drop from .355 in 2014 to .280 in 2015
  • #11 Tyler – though they saw an increase in their average and brought on rookie sensation, Derrick Floyd, their batting average increased slightly less than the league average – so their stats could be more of a result of the fast fields…though its important to note Ron Jordan moved from .345 to .649 for the Tigers
  • #13 Columbus – Like Athens, not much direction to go but up when the team hit .127 in 2014.  Its important to note their average increase was below the 16 team average

Studs – but not improving – Year over year the change they had was not there.  Maybe when your great, its hard to get better?

  • #12 RHI – A top team in both seasons, they picked up Dave Benney from the Indy Thunder (who hit .520).  Nick Silver saw his average jump .200 points to .686 as did Demile Wright (who hit .708).  Their stats may not look like they improved much but they had one of the toughest defensive schedules in the league
  • #15 Colorado – Colorado is doing some good stuff as they are working in a new pitcher and have two new rookies that are exciting in Mike Jackson (.300) and Mike Malloy (.286).  Their youth movement extends beyond their players as they are trying to bring a long a new pitcher (Cory Buckingham) who threw a bunch of innings  and is learning on the job.  They did not see the increase they would have if they let Johnny Walker pitch every game. Overall, their team is still too heavy on out of towners as roughly half of their starting line up resides outside of Colorado.
  • #16 Austin – The only team which saw a decline in their batting average from 2014.  How could that be?  They played a tougher schedule in 2015…having to play Taiwan twice.  Also some of their starters saw a decline in their godly stats – Lupe Perez battled injuries and saw his average drop from .778 to .588, Axel Cox dropped from .519 to .487.

So there you have it.  A look at Batting averages across the league.  Come on back to our web site to check on future articles about the Strength of schedule each team had as well as a look at who the NBBA Rookie All-stars were in 2015!

The Renegade Report Podcast visits with Jason Lenicheck

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our fourth installment of the Renegade report features Tim Syphers talking with Jason “Ace” Lenicheck a long time coach on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game for the Renegades.  Ace started with the Renegades in the 2004 season and has been one of the masterminds in helping improve the play on the field and the coaching off it.  Ace started primarily as a hitting coach but over the years has morphed into a defensive caller as well as a hitting coach.  When he joined the Renegades he was the most experienced coach the team had and has helped the coaching staff grow over the years.  He may not be a household name in the NBBA as he has attended two world series (2014-2015) but he has been with the sport for what will be his 13th season in 2016!

In the first 3 episodes Tim has explored the game with

Episode 1 – Guy Zuccarello, a former defensive MVP of the World Series and one of the leaders of the Renegades

Episode 2 – Larry Haile, the All-time Renegade leader in runs scored and one of the most amazing visually impaired people you will ever meet

Episode 3 – Christian Thaxton, The rookie sensation from 2015 who took the league by storm and made an all-star team as a rookie
To get the podcast started, we have created an account on soundcloud and you can find the podcast here

Please follow Tim and his Journey to tell our stories!

Tim worked with us to develop this podcast to improve his radio skills and to help the team.  If you have a passion you want to pursue whether its journalism, fundraising, project management, design, Public relations…We have plenty of opportunities…just ask us at bostonrenegades@gmail.com and maybe we can partner with you!

 

To easily access our prior other podcasts you can listen here: