Many 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|
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!