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Renegades Announce 2017 Game and Practice Schedule!

It’s that time of year again!  The Boston Renegades start their 16th year of play in the National Beep Ball Association.  We enter the year ranked 2nd in the World after shocking the league finishing the season 13-2 with the only two losses coming to the Champion, Indy Thunder.  In fact, in the past two seasons, the Renegades are 26-4.  It should be an excting season as Boston expects to play its most games since the 2010 season.

June 3:  Lincroft, New Jersey at  Christian Brothers Academy High School located at 850 Newman Springs Road (route 520)

Boston travels to Lincroft for the second time in team history.  In 2015, Boston swept three games there defeating Long Island, the New Jersey Lightning and the PA Wofpack.  Games will begin around 9:00 am and last through roughly 4:30.  There will be six teams in attendance but we will only play three of those teams.  There will be a Random draw in May of who we will play.  Below is a look at how we have fared against the opponents who are in attendance

Team Boston Wins Boston Losses
Long Island 19 11
NJ Lightning 12 2
NJ Titans 1 0
Philly Fire 22 4
Rochester Pioneers 0 0

June 10-11:  Bolingbrok, Illinois at  Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Center located at 200 Lindsey Lane Bolingbrook, IL

Boston Returns to Chicago for the first time since 2013.  Outside of the World Series, this is the biggest event in the league.  Eight teams will be competing over 2 days.  Each team is guaranteed to play four games each.  Three games on Saturday and one game on Sunday. This will be the Renegades 9th trip to Chicago.  The team has not fared well here in the past with a 10-22 record overall.  However, most of these games were played when the Renegades were a newer, inexperienced team.  Will things be different?  We will find out in May who our opponents are. You can be sure these teams will be looking to put a target on our back.  In 2016, Boston walked off twice on Colorado and beat Chicago for the first time in history.   The Indy Thunder also faced us twice in 2016 beating us to win the national championship  Below is a look at our 7 possible opponents and our lifetime record against them with their 2016 National Ranking

Team Boston Wins Boston Losses National Rank out of 20
Austin, Tx 2 4 6th
Chicago Comets 1 10 8th
Cleveland 6 5 Not Ranked
Colorado 5 8 3rd
Indy Edge 0 0 7th
Indy Thunder 4 11 1st
Minnesota 4 0 9th

July 8:  Woburn, Ma at Joyce Middle School located at 55 Locust Street, Woburn

This will be the biggest beep baseball tournament in the history of New England.  Never before has there been 6 teams converged in New England to battle it out for the Beast of the East trophy.  This event will be a continuation of the games played in Lincroft, in early June.  The format is to play the two games against opponents whom we did not play in New Jersey.  This will give every team 5 games.  From there the top seed will face off against the two seed.  Three will play four. Five will play six.  Last year, we had five teams competing but this season, we added the Rochester Pioneers to the mix.  Below shows how these teams fared in Beast of the East competition and the World Series last year.

Team  Wins  Losses National Rank out of 20
Boston 13 2 2nd
Long Island 3 3 Not Ranked
Philly Fire 2 3 Not Ranked
NJ Titans 6 6 13th
NJ Lightning 0 5 Not Ranked
Rochester Pioneers 2 5 19th

The Renegades have been practicing since March and will be back in Watertown, their home since the 2006 season.  For more information on the practice schedule, please see our schedule page.  Also, we will be announcing some local charity games where the Renegades will take on sighted opponents.  Make sure to come out to Woburn this year and see some Beep Ball action!

2016 NBBA World Series Statistical breakdown – Strength of Schedule

SABR Cartoon

For the past two years, we have written about the NBBA World Series statistical breakdown of Strength of Schedule.  The Renegades have an analytical side.  We break down much of the game into stats.  It helps us baseline, set goals and improve.  In 2014, we brought the concept of Strength of Schedule to the forefront.  At first, a few teams thought it was non sense.  Reality is its food for thought.  As the league continues to grow, we need to help it improve.  This past season may have been one of the most exciting beepball seasons ever.  As in March madness, people fill out their brackets to see who they think will win.  How many people would have picked the Indy Thunder over the Renegades in the championship game?  Bet you didn’t have that filled out!  The more discussion and thought we put into theses things, the better our league will become.  With teamwork, communication, marketing and public relations will come great opportunity.  Let’s move this league into the next level of competitive sports and get organized.

 

2016 Roster Changes

As we did the past two years, 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.  Currently, the way the league seeds teams is to look 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 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.  We discussed that 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 who were not seeded.  This was less of an issue in 2016 because the World Series contracted a bit to 20 teams.  Though before the World Series started there was already drama in the seeding. Have a seat and grab your popcorn as we look at some of the drama…

  • #17 Indy Edge – There was a lot of drama in Indy in the off season.  The RHI E-xtreme lost their sponsor and had to rename their team.  There was some shuffling around but 6 players on the roster from 2015 returned.  With the Indy shuffle, they also picked up some players from the Indy Thunder and the Indy Knights. The Edge also picked up two players from the New Jersey Lightning  So, the NBBA seeding policy looks at this as a new team name though they had just one new player in the league.  By the time they got to the World Series, they did have a rookie pitcher (who did great)..but to start the year, they were planning to go with the Indy Knights pitcher who took the Knights to a .375 batting average in 2015.  This was no #17 seed?
  • #18 San Antonio Jets – What do you get when you take the starting pitcher off the recent two time World Champs (Kevin Sibson), surround him with two of their young starting players (Zac Arambula and Axel Cox), add in a player who had won a title for them (Richie Flores), sprinkle in two long time players with a lot of success in the league (Dave Benney and Jason Ackiss).  Then add in some of the most exicting rookies in the league with Ricky Ruzika and the Almanza cousins.  You get a powerhouse offense.  Some people were saying they would be contending for a championship…but they were seeded 18th!
  • #19 Iowa Reapers – Ok…Iowa probably deserved this seed or something close to it.  They had won two games in the 2014 World Series against the Athens Timberwolves.  They did not play in 2015’s World Series.  With the mindset of seeding new teams at the bottom of the league…this felt ok.
  • #20 Seattle South King Sluggers – This truly felt right for them.  Seattle had never played in a World Series before and this was a big step for them.  Not one of their players on the roster had ever played in a World Series.  This was the true meaning of a new team.

Every year, teams seem to shuffle their rosters and 2016 was no exception.  Here are the rosters with the most turnover

  • #1 Austin Blackhawks – Austin remained the number one seed despite losing their pitcher and two starters.  Arumbala and Cox represented 31% of the runs scored in 2015.  All of these three left for the start of the Jets.  Austin replaced Kevin with Tim Hibner at pitcher (Tim won a few World Series with the Dawgs) and many consider him one of the top pitchers in the game.  Austin also recruited Chance Cranford, a former world Champion with the Dawgs).  But to give the Blackhawks a one seed with this team may have been a stretch because they simply lacked the depth and speed they had in the past.
  • #3 Bayou City Heat – They lost a .500 hitter in John Kibodeaux and their leader in defensive stops, Greg Gontaryk.  In their place, they picked up three players from the Colorado Storm and two players from the Long Island Bombers.  This is a lot of turnover for a top team
  • #4 Colorado Storm – Colorado Entered this tournament without two starters from the previous year in Doug Biggins and Mike Malloy as well as the loss of John Parker.  This trio represented 28% of the Storm’s 2015 offense and 39% of it’s defensive stops not made by the human Vacuum, Ethan Johnston.  Colorado returned Chad Sumner which helped the cause but he could not replace the results of three players by himself.
  • #6 Indy Thunder – With the demise of the Extreme, they picked up a few of their players.  This included Clint Woodard (who was 2nd on the RHI E-xtreme in defensive stops in 2015), Kyle Lewis (who hit .,533 in limited time with the Extreme) and Ed Brown(who hit .649 and led the Knights in runs).  But they also had picked up a few very exciting rookies that had been lighting up local tournaments in Gerald Dycus and Zach Buhler.  It should also be noted that Darnell Booker took a different role which allowed one of the top pitchers in the game to pitch.  this pitcher had won a title with the Kansas All-stars and his name is Jarred Woodard.  This team looked stacked going into the Series but remained a 6 seed.  If Vegas had odds on a champion, it was a sure money bet the Thunder had the best odds.
  • #9 Lone Star Road Runners – They lost their team leader in defensive stops (Richie Flores).  Flores also gave them 12 runs of offense in 2015.  Lone star also lost PJ Navarro and Marlon Stover.  This is a whopping 57% of their offensive production from the 2015 team.  With this loss and lack of proven replacements, they should have been knocked down a few seeds.

Which teams were impacted by the improper seeding?

With the break up of the RHI E-xtreme, Taiwan not returning and Austin losing players, it felt like for the first time in years there was a lot of parity in the league.  In past years, the blatant mis-seeding had wrecked havoc on a few teams.  The Indy Thunder and Long Island Bombers were last years victim of the mis-seeding    This year in the end, the teams most impacted by the seeding were the Austin Blackhawks, the Minnesota Millers and the Southwest Slammers.

Why?  Austin had to face San Antonio as their 2nd round opponent.   If you believed they deserved the #1 seed, they should not have been playing the Jets this early in the dance.  For the first time in years, Austin found its way to the loser’s bracket on Thursday morning.  Minnesota and Southwest were two teams impacted in a different way.  Both these teams earned a two seed in their bracket based on last year’s play.  However, they both got bumped to the three seed after pool play was over because the Edge and Jets earned the two seed over them.  At face value, this seems fare…BUT.  One could argue that Minnesota and the Slammers earned their two seed more than the Lonestar Roadrunners and Atlanta Eclipse.  The end result of this mis-seeding forced both the Slammers and Millers to have to play 10 games (no other team played more than 9 games).  Their 1-2 records on day one forced them to play at 9:00am on Tuesday.  With proper seeding, this would not have happened to them.  In the end it may not have made a huge difference but it did force both these teams to play three games on three consecutive days  in a row.  This is a grueling sport to be forced to do this.  It would take its toll on most teams in this league.

Let’s get to the Strength of Schedule stats

With all of this in mind, let’s look at the Strength of Schedule of the teams that played in the 2016 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 San Antonio Jets (5) + BCS Outlaws (16) + Minnesota Millers (9) + Southwest (11) + Chicago (8)+ Colorado (3) + Indy Thunder (1) +  Colorado (3) + Indy Thunder (1).  This equates to a score of 57 and we divide that by 9 games to get 6.3.  This means the average seed of a Renegade Opponent would be ranked 6th 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.  Last year, the Taiwan Home Run were so mis-seeded they had to play what was possibly a World Series record of 12 games.  This year six teams played 7 games. six teams played 8 games, six teams played 9 games and The Southwest Slammers and Minnesota Millers were forced to play 10 games each.

SOS Rank WS finish Team Games Record SOS
1 2 Boston 9 7-2 6.33
2 3 Colorado 9 6-3 6.78
3 5 San Antonio 9 5-3 7.00
4 7 Indy Edge 8 6-2 8.00
T-5th 8 Chicago 8 4-4 9.50
T-5th 1 Indy Thunder 8 8-0 9.50
7 6 Austin 9 6-3 9.67
8 12 Lone Star 8 3-5 9.75
9 4 Bayou City 9 7-2 9.89
10 13 NJ Titans 7 3-4 10.29
11 10 Atlanta 8 4-4 10.38
12 11 Southwest 10 5-5 10.50
13 9 Minnesota 10 6-4 10.80
14 16 BCS 9 2-7 10.89
15 14 Tyler 7 2-5 11.71
16 15 Arizona 9 3-6 11.89
17 17 Iowa 7 2-5 12.29
18 18 Seattle 7 1-6 12.43
19 20 Athens 7 0-7 13.71
20 19 Rochester 7 2-5 13.86

As the Renegades climb the NBBA ladder, Boston has now played the toughest schedule in two of the past three years at the World Series (8th hardest in 2015).  That says a lot for how far this team has come in its ability to manage a tournament and improve its play on the field.

Unlike last year where the quantity of games played was so varied (mostly due to the mis-seeding). Beyond the Millers and Slammers all teams played between 7-9 games.    Some key findings from looking at SOS (Strength of Schedule) include:

  • The Renegades made the title game and their only losses on the year came against the Indy Thunder.  They had quality wins over San Antonio, Chicago and Colorado, twice.
  • Colorado had a very tough road as well.  Even tougher when you recall they lost three players from their 2015 roster.  Two of their three losses came at the hands of the Renegades.  The other was on day one, to the Indy Edge.
  • Once again, the Bayou City Heat had an easy schedule. Four of their 9 games were against teams who finished 12th or higher.  They entered the dance seeded 2nd and finished in the 4 spot.  The best seed they played was Colorado and they lost to them twice.  They had “easy” wins over Iowa (17th), NJ Titans (13th) and Lone star, twice- (12th).
  • Minnesota which had a very tough year in 2015 had an easier time this year if you look strictly at strength of schedule.  Though they played 10 games, 7 of them were against opponents who finished 10th or higher.
  • The Indy Edge, which entered as a 17 seed, finished 7th but had the 4th hardest road to get there.  It would be expected their road would be hard based on the fact they were mis-seeded.  They actually beat the three seed (Colorado) in the round robin.  However, they lost to the Thunder (1) and Austin (6) – the former champs to knock them out of contention.  They were a scary team to have to face for sure.
  • The Indy Thunder had an easy first two days as their first four opponents finished 20th, 19th, 8th and 13th

In Conclusion

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…YET.  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.   In 2016, we saw a lot of parity in the league. To start the year, we saw two top teams break apart as Austin and RHI had some significant changes.  We also witnessed for the first time since 198o, two teams who had never been in a title game face off against each other with the Thunder beating the Renegades.  As we look toward 2017, we hope we can make some changes to the way we seed.  Heck, we can expect the Taiwan Home Run to be back..are we really going to seed them 21st again?  I hope we have learned from this and the fact it hurts other teams just as much as it hurts them.  Lets work toward seeding things correctly.  And yes, this writer has a proposal for that.  However, thats a story for another time

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!

2014 World Series Breakdown

The Boston Renegades recently spoke in front of an organization called SABR (Society for American Baseball Research).  Many readers may know them from SABR Metrics.  Die hard baseball fans will know Bill James and his influence on the game.  We listened to them talk about wins above average amongst other topics and this got us to thinking about some analysis on the 2014 World Series.

Statistics do not tell the whole story of the tournament because not everyone plays an equal schedule and not everyone played the same amount of games.   There are plenty of blow out games played during the week (and some of these game do not even play the a full six innings as a team can mercy rule a team and only hit for one inning of a game).  Some teams play very weak schedules while other teams have a tougher ride.  The strength of schedule will have an impact on the overall stats and the seeding at the end of the week.  Boston had its best World Series ever but there are some interesting things to be seen when we dig into the stats

Batting Average

The League average was .276 BUT only 7 of the 19 teams hit above the average.  The teams closest to the league average were the Southwest Slammers (.258), Indianapolis thunder (.253) and Renegades (.306).  Austin was .306  points above the average mark and Athens was .306 below the average mark.  These teams finished 1st and last respectively.  In 2015, the ranking of batting average was strongly correlated to the actual finish in the World Series.  The team that bucked that trend the most was the Minnesota Millers who had the 12th best Batting average at .232 but finished 7th in the final seeding.

Batting Avg rank Final WS finish Team At bats Runs Avg
1 1 Austin 165 96 .582
2 2 RHI 233 107 .459
3 4 Bayou City 213 87 .408
4 3 Colorado 281 110 .391
5 5 Chicago 213 78 .366
6 8 Carolina 201 65 .323
7 6 Boston 216 66 .306
8 9 Southwest 190 49 .258
9 10 Indianapolis 166 42 .253
10 13 Wichita 198 47 .237
11 11 Long Island 180 42 .233
12 7 Minnesota 203 47 .232
13 12 Tyler 157 34 .217
14 14 New Jersey 175 35 .200
15 16 Lonestar 182 26 .143
16 17 Columbus 165 21 .127
17 15 Atlanta 153 19 .124
18 18 Iowa 155 15 .097
19 19 Athens 143 3 .021
League Avg .276

Strike outs

Putting the ball into play is important.  There is no such thing as a routine ground ball to short stop in the game of beep baseball.  The teams with the higher averages do strike out less.  Some interesting things here include

  • Austin scored on 63% of the balls they put into play
  • RHI and Bayou City are the only other teams to score on more than 50% of the balls they put into play
  • Carolina finished 8th in the series but had the third lowest strike out ratio in the league at just 13.4%
  • Indianapolis was 4th in strike out ratio at just 14.5% but only hit .296 on balls hit into play
  • 4 teams struck out more than 50% of the time (3 of them from Georgia)
  • Boston hit just .386 on balls hit into play, which was below the league average
Strike out rank Final WS finish Team At bats K’s K Rate Batting avg Balls in play
1 1 Austin 165 13 7.9% .632
2 2 RHI 233 27 11.6% .519
3 8 Carolina 201 27 13.4% .374
4 10 Indianapolis 166 24 14.5% .296
5 3 Colorado 281 45 16.0% .466
6 5 Chicago 213 39 18.3% .448
7 4 Bayou City 213 40 18.8% .503
8 6 Boston 216 45 20.8% .386
9 13 Wichita 198 55 27.8%. .329
10 11 Long Island 180 62 34.4% .356
11 14 New Jersey 175 61 34.9% .307
12 7 Minnesota 203 74 36.5% .364
13 9 Southwest 190 71 37.4% .412
14 12 Tyler 157 60 38.2% .351
15 16 Lonestar 182 85 46.7% .268
16 19 Iowa 155 80 51.6% .200
17 15 Atlanta 153 88 57.5% .292
18 17 Columbus 165 104 63.0% .344
19 19 Athens 143 102 71.3% .073
League Avg 30.7% .398

Fielding Percentage

They say defense wins championships.  That is true, but the defensive stats do not hold up well to that theory and maybe its time for the league to devise a new way to categorize defense.  Though the games were played on slow grass for most of the week the scores were lower.  Also with the invention of the 12 run mercy rule strong offensive teams can’t score loads of runs on weak defenses because they are limited in the amount of plate appearances they have.   That said the defensive rankings do not strongly correlate to the final finish of the team.

The 2nd ranked defense this year was Iowa as they stopped 67.4% of the balls hit into play.  The key thing to note is that Iowa played the 2nd easiest schedule and did not have to face many power house offenses.  This greatly skews the defensive rankings.   Columbus ranked 5th in defense and finished 17th overall as well.  It should be noted that only one team was more than 9% away from the league average, the Tyler Tigers.   Tyler had one of the toughest schedules in the league and this ranking reflects the teams they had to play.  This is also why the defensive rankings are not as telling.  The RHI Extreme ranked 12th in fielding but finished 2nd overall.  Their road to the championship game forced them to face the best offense in the league, twice in Austin.

Boston ranked second in the league in defensive stops allowed.  Both Boston and Colorado were the only teams to make over 100 stops during the week.  Of course part of that is that Boston played 9 games while Colorado played 10 games over the time period.  A combination of games played and who the opponent is will make a difference to these stats.  It would be interesting to determine a new way to measure defense that can take the opponent into account or that looks at how effective the different layers of defense are.  What is meant by this layering idea is that many teams struggle to make plays in the deeper layers of the defense.  For Example, Atlanta’s Isaiah Wilcox made 44 of his teams 71 stops.  How many balls made it by Isaiah and how well did the other layers perform?

 

Fielding Rank Final WS Finish Team Chances Stops Fielding %
1 1 Austin 122 85 69.7%
2 18 Iowa 86 58 67.4%
3 3 Colorado 174 114 65.5%
4 8 Carolina 132 86 65.2%
5 17 Columbus 103 67 65.0%
6 5 Chicago 119 77 64.7%
7 11 Long Island 133 86 64.7%
8 13 Wichita 139 89 64.0%
9 16 Lonestar 136 84 61.8%
10 10 Indianapolis 115 71 61.7%
11 7 Minnesota 150 90 60.0%
12 2 RHI 161 96 59.6%
13 6 Boston 172 101 58.7%
14 19 Athens 94 53 56.4%
15 15 Atlanta 127 71 55.9%
16 14 New Jersey 117 65 55.6%
17 4 Bayou City 149 80 53.7%
18 9 Southwest 136 73 53.7%
19 12 Tyler 122 52 42.6%
League Average 60.2%

 

Strength of Schedule

Here is an unofficial stat that we made up.  What it attempts to do is look at the final ranking of the teams each team played.  Remember in the world Series each team played 2-3 games on the first day in a round robin.  The round robin bracket this year had (as it always does) improper seedings based on previous year results.   Carolina would earn the 5 seed and on the round robin day of the tournament would play nobody lower than a 10 seed.  However the Bayou City heat would be seeded 2nd but would have to face a beefed up Colorado Storm team ranked 7th and whose roster would surely get them into a top 5 finish.

The first day of the double elimination brackets would pit many blow out games as top teams would play bottom teams in blow out or meaningless contests such as Austin beating Columbus 14-2 and Chicago beating Minnesota 11-1.  Once the double elimination ends many of the teams end up playing teams of their caliber in placement games.  For example four teams would make a 13-16 placement bracket and this  allows teams to play teams of similar records.

All of this leads to an imbalance in the stats because a team like Iowa which ranked 2nd defensively would have Chicago as their toughest opponent (they ranked 4th coming into the dance and finished 5th) while a team like Boston ended up playing the teams that would finish 1st, 2nd,3rd,5th,7th, 8th and 9th.  The worst seed Boston would face would finish 13th.

Strength of Schedule or SOS is calculated by adding up the final ranking of all the teams played and dividing that figure by the number of games played.  For an example Athens played Chicago (5th), Southwest (9th), Iowa twice (18th), Columbus twice (17th) and Wichita (13th) giving them a score of 97.  97 divided by 7 games gives them an average SOS of 13.86.  Or in easier terms, the average team Athens played finished with a seed of 13.86 in the World Series.  One thing SOS does not take into consideration is the quantity of games played.  Its much harder to play 9-10 games in a 4 day period than it is to play 7.  Playing 7 often means a team never had to play three games in a day while a team playing 9-10 games has to play three games twice in a week.

Being the head coach of the Renegades and scouting so many opponents throughout the week, we knew we had one of the toughest schedule when we faced a very tough Wichita team and they were supposed to be the weakest team in our bracket as an 18 seed.  Wichita would go on to have one of their best World Series and it was no surprise to us.  But many would be shocked to see the Renegades ending up with the toughest schedule and such a high finish in the Series (best ever).  This likely effected many of the Defensive stats for Boston as they played some of the best offenses in the league in Austin, RHI, Bayou City, Chicago and Carolina.

Another shock is the Tyler Tigers.  Tyler won just one game all week but faced some tough competition as they were forced to play Austin (1st) and Indianapolis (10th) on day one (they had a bye and did not have to play a 3rd game).  In a quirk of the schedule they would have to play Indianapolis again on the 1st day of double elimination and would beat them getting to play the 2 ranked RHI Extreme.  They would then have to face a tough Minnesota team (7th) in the losers bracket.  In the placement brackets they would play a tough Southwest Slammer team (9th) and the Long Island Bombers (11th).  A team that would finish 12th had to play both Austin and RHI.  Only two teams in the league would have to play the two teams that played in the championship game.  The Boston Renegades and the Tyler Tigers.

The Renegades can be very very proud of the season they had.  They faced so many obstacles from their head coach being hospitalized for three weeks and being unable to do his normal duties, to having a shortage of coaches through much of the season, to having 4 rookies play such an important part of their season and being forced to play the toughest schedule at the World Series.

SOS Rank Final WS Finish Team Record SOS Off Rank Def rank avg Field %
1 6 Boston 5-4 6.67 7 13 .306 58.7%
2 2 RHI 7-2 7.00 2 12 .459 59.6%
3 12 Tyler 1-6 7.14 13 19 .217 38.2%
4 4 Bayou City 5-3 7.38 3 17 .408 53.7%
5 1 Austin 7-0 7.71 1 1 .582 69.7%
6 3 Colorado 8-2 7.90 4 3 .391 65.5%
7 5 Chicago 6-2 8.88 5 6 .366 64.7%
8 7 Minnesota 5-4 9.11 12 11 .232 60.0%
9 15 Atlanta 2-5 9.71 17 15 .124 55.9%
10 10 Indianapolis 3-4 9.86 9 10 .253 61.7%
11 16 Lonestar 1-7 10.00 15 9 .143 61.8%
12 13 Wichita 4-5 10.22 10 8 .237 64.0%
13 11 Long Island 4-4 10.50 11 7 .233 64.7%
14 8 Carolina 5-3 10.63 6 4 .323 65.2%
15 9 Southwest 5-3 10.88 8 18 .258 53.7%
16 14 New Jersey 3-5 12.88 14 16 .200 55.6%
17 17 Columbus 3-5 13.00 16 5 .127 65.0%
18 18 Iowa 2-5 13.14 18 2 .097 67.4%
19 19 Athens 0-7 13.86 19 14 .021 56.4%