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Silly bean counters September 7, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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I came across the Beane Count, invented by ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer, by accident. My first thought: “That’s crap. Just summing ranks doesn’t accomplish anything.” My second thought: “How can I prove this?”

My third through nth thoughts involved my standard method of creating a needlessly complex spreadsheet using data culled from ESPN.com. The results were quite surprising.

I ran the usual 1.81 version of Wins Above Expectation numbers (Holy cow, Tampa and the Angels are way above!), and in addition I ran the Beane Count and checked how it correlated to the standings.

The Beane Count is the sum of ranks-in-league for home runs, walks, home runs allowed, and walks allowed (with lower obviously being better for the last two categories). The theory, according to Rob Neyer, is that teams that walk and hit home runs, and do not allow their opponents to walk or hit home runs, will do better on the whole than teams that fail to walk and hit homers, or allow their opponents to do the same.

According to the data (stored here in handy dandy PDF format), Beane Count actually correlates very strongly with league rank. In the American League, the correlation to actual wins is .658; in the NL, .736. The correlation to Pythagorean expected league rank was even stronger: .755 in the AL and a whopping .845 in the NL. I’m prepared to eat my words on this one: Beane Count is a solid stat, particularly when measured against highly predictive stats.

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