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OCTOBER 1, 2004
Angels Should Win 2004 World Series
By Steve Lombardi, NetShrine.com

It's October - and that means it's time to begin pondering who will win the World Series in 2004.  Related, the scrawling on this scorecard decided to look at the teams who have won the last nine World Series - to see what types of teams they were, as compared to the "League Average" team.  (And, of course, as usual, major props to the fabulous Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia for helping us work up the numbers here.)

First, let us review the offense of the World Series winners since 1995:

TEAM

YEAR RCAA AVG HR OBA SLG SO

Braves

1995 -53 -0.015 31 -0.006 0.001 1

Yankees

1996 -4 0.011 -32 0.01 -0.009 -86

Marlins

1997 15 -0.004 -20 0.013 -0.018 -5

Yankees

1998 168 0.017 30 0.025 0.029 2

Yankees

1999 170 0.007 7 0.019 0.014 -6

Yankees

2000 7 0.002 16 0.006 0.007 20

Diamondbacks

2001 34 0.007 24 0.011 0.019 -79

Angels

2002 89 0.018 -25 0.009 0.008 -215

Marlins

2003 59 0.006 -12 0.003 0.005 -80

AVG 54 0.005 2 0.010 0.006 -50

Batting Average, Homeruns, On Base Average, Slugging Percentage, and Strikeout totals above are versus the League Average.

The first obvious point is that these champs, for the most part, created more runs than average.  The 1995 Braves were an exception.  The 1996 and 2000 Yankees were close to average.  But, on average, the World Series winner over the last 9 years, during the regular season, had 54 RCAA.

What is interesting is that, on average, the last 9 champions were not necessarily great homerun hitting or slugging teams.  If you remove the 1998 Yankees from the mix, this is even more so evident.  Overall, on average, the champions over the last nine seasons were teams that were just about average (during the regular season) in homeruns and slugging percentage.

On the other hand, outside of the 1995 Braves and the 1997 Marlins, teams that won the World Series since 1995 have been teams with above average batting averages.  Additionally, the teams that have won were, again, on average as compared to their league, for the most part, teams that made good contact (as they did not strikeout often).

Contradictory to what many might assume, drawing walks was not a strength of many of the last nine champs.  The 1995 Braves were below league average in on base average.  Further, if you subtract batting average from on base average, you will note that the 2002 Angels, 2003 Marlins, and 1996 Yankees were not teams that walked all that often (compared to their league).

What about pitching? Here are the stats:

TEAM

YEAR RSAA ERA SO BR/9 IP SO/BB SV

Braves

1995 134 0.74 135 1.19 0.5 0

Yankees

1996 60 0.35 141 0.57 0.23 12

Marlins

1997 40 0.38 81 0 -0.13 -1

Yankees

1998 102 0.83 46 1.54 0.46 9

Yankees

1999 40 0.71 114 0.98 0.24 9

Yankees

2000 54 0.16 48 0.53 0.13 1

Diamondbacks

2001 122 0.48 163 1.14 0.71 -3

Angels

2002 100 0.78 -11 1.04 0.04 14

Marlins

2003 -10 0.24 65 0.45 0.19 -5

AVG 71 0.52 87 0.83 0.26 4

Earned Run Average, Strikeouts, Base runners per 9 IP, Command Ratio, and Saves are versus the League Average.

The first obvious point is that these champs, for the most part, saved more runs than average.  The exception is the 2003 Marlins - but, it could be possible that most of that negative RSAA for the Marlins last year was the residual of bad early season pitching.

It is also clear that teams that won the World Series since 1995 have been teams with above average ability to limit base runners and earned runs.  The winners have also been teams, on average, with pitching staffs that control the strike zone (see SO/BB) and who can overpower hitters (see SO).  Again, this is for the majority - and is not a rule.  The 1997 Marlins and 2002 Angels were the weakest in the above chart in terms of command.  And, the 2002 Angels were not a great "strikeout" staff  - nor were the 1998 or 2000 Yankees (although New York was still above average).

The saves column in the above chart is interesting.  Outside of the recent Yankee champions and the 2002 Angels, there have been recent world champions with "closers" who were just about average, or a notch below.  Then again, the recent Yankee champs and the 2002 Angels represent more than half of the last nine world championships.  Therefore, at least, it would seem that an above average closer is part of a championship team.

In summary, looking at the last nine World Series champions, the scrawling on this scorecard reads that recent champs were teams who:

Now, if you look at all the teams (as of this morning) who are still eligible for post-season slots, the Anaheim Angels are the team that best fits the description detailed in the above four bullets.  Therefore, should they make the post-season, the Angels should be the favorite to win the World Series in 2004 - according to the scrawling on this scorecard.

In about four wonderful weeks, we will see if this prediction was good.  Enjoy the games.


Steve Lombardi is the Creator & Curator of NetShrine.com.  Scrawling On The Scorecard appears regularly during the baseball season and sporadically during the off-season.  Steve can be contacted at sots@netshrine.com

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