Houston Astros: Constructing a Champion

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HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04: Manager A.J. Hinch
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04: Manager A.J. Hinch /
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HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 02: General manager Jeff Luhnow, right, talkss with James Hoyt, left, and A.J. Reed at Minute Maid Park on August 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

So, now you have the team. How do you make the formulas work?

With the team now built how do you plug in the formulas and create wins? A huge part of sabermetrics are formulas. There are formulas to determine wins, runs created, and efficient defense. Baseball is no longer just spending money on big names and big bats. You can now manufacture wins based on talent and science. That’s huge for teams with small payrolls.

Some of the formulas are as follows.

BABIP – Batting Average on Balls in Play

For instance, manager A.J. Hinch’s infamous “shift.” It’s no secret that the Astros have a soft spot for the shift. While a costly risk, the reward is much greater. In BABIP, you anticipate balls being hit and adjust your fielders to move or “shift” towards the most likely area that ball will be placed. You create more groundball outs, double plays and fly balls out that way.

Teams study their opponents vs. their pitcher vs. their fielders and adjust. The over-shift could be costly as the opposing batter will attempt to drive the ball through the opening where he creates a base hit but when it works, its genius.

RC – Runs Created

First off, you win baseball games with runs. The Astros had 896 runs in 2017 the most runs, and a clear 38 runs ahead of the Yankees who finished in second place with 858.

Batting average isn’t a good enough measurement in this day and age. We need a more mathematical approach. This measures how many runs a player creates. The formula is easy; it’s hits plus walks multiplied by the total bases divided by the at-bats plus walks. RC= (H + BB) x TB / (AB + BB).

WAR (WARP) – Wins above replacement player.

What WAR actually represents is the number of wins this player contributed above what a replacement level hitter, fielder, and pitcher would have done. Well, how is this calculated? You calculate a player’s stats like home runs, walks, strikeouts, stolen bases, BABIP, games played, and their position played and the value scale of their defensive ranking and base-running ability. I won’t bore you with the formula, but you can see it here and try it out for yourself on FanSided’s Believeland Ball.

This will also calculate how many wins a player contributes to the team and their value in millions for payroll purposes. It’s amazing how you can predict and analyze how many wins a player can essentially get you for the team in a single season. The Astros had the highest WAR of any team this year with 50.2. Their batting provided 29.9 WAR, and the pitching delivered 20.2 WAR.

There are many more formulas, metrics, and calculations to determine anything and everything a team needs to know or wants to know about their opponents.

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