Quality of opponent

I’m doing some work on using the opponent’s WPct to rate them as to their “quality”. IOW, Pitcher “A” has thrown against a team that was 25-5 and another that was 24-6, while pitcher “B” threw against one team that was 15-15 and another that was 10-20. I know there’s more to a team’s “quality” than their WPct, but for my purposes its all I need. So, using those numbers, pitcher “A” threw against teams that were of a higher “quality”.

Now the question becomes, should that WPct be computed using the opponent’s WPct before or after the game? IOW, if a team is 10-10 prior to the game and loses, should their WPct for the pitcher’s purposes be .500 or .476?


I would use the record at the start of the game. Great idea, by the way.

Personally, I would compute the WPct after the game.
Wouldn’t you rather have a broader range of games?
(not that one game makes much difference- but in some instances it can)

What do you mean by “using the opponent’s WPct to rate them as to their “quality””?
Are you trying to determine this for that team’s records,
or for the opposing pitcher’s records?

[quote=“CardsWin”]Personally, I would compute the WPct after the game.
Wouldn’t you rather have a broader range of games?
(not that one game makes much difference- but in some instances it can)[/quote]

You guys have shown exactly why I’ve been asking myself the question. LOL!

It really doesn’t mean a great deal I suppose, no matter which way I end up doing it, but I’m a pitcher’s dad, and that of course means I generally look at things trying to make the pitchers look as good as possible. :wink:

That doesn’t at all mean I’d ever cheat or purposely mark something incorrectly, but it does mean if there are two ways to show something, I’d usually choose the one making the pitchers look better.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a successful pitcher, which almost all of the HS pitchers I’ve scored for have been. If you’re pitching against a team that’s 10-10 before the game and 10-11 after, when you look at what’s going on, one way that team would .500 and the other .476. Of course that makes the teams look worse and the more games you win, the worse the teams you played against look.

Let’s say you’re being compared to another kid in the league who happened to pitch against the same teams, but while you went 5-0, he went 0-5. Looking after the games would show him as pitching against more difficult opponents, and to me that’s simply not giving credit properly.

You can see what happened when I ran it using the records after the games were played by looking at http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/oppstrpit.pdf

When ranking teams either within a state or nationally, the main factor is “strength of schedule”, and that’s determined by the opponent’s record in almost every case. I’m sure there are lots of “better” ways to do it, but unfortunately they’d be so mystical to the general public, they’d seldom be accepted. So, I’m afraid a poor man’s strength of schedule will have to be W/L record for me.

When I decided to try to do this and decided to use opponent’s WPct, at 1st it seemed like a piece of cake. Add up the total opp wins and divide it by the total games the opps played. Well, that was big flop because a pitcher throwing a third of an inning against a great team would get more credit than one throwing 20 innings against just a good team, and it made no difference whether he pitched perfectly or got bombed. So I tried to look for a way to “normalize” what was happening.

What I did was get the WPct for every game pitched in, then multiplied it by the number of innings pitched to give it some weight, Then I added up all those and divided by the total number of games pitched in to get a “Difficulty of Opponents” value.

I’m only interested in doing this for our team’s pitchers at the moment.

We really don’t need to get into all sorts of abstruse statistics to figure out the “quality” of an opposintg team. All we need to do is look at how those teams fared against certain pitchers. And very often the result is not at all pretty.
Several years ago I wrote an article for SABR’s “Baseball Research Journal”, called “Aspects of Nemesis”, in which I examined the phenomenon of “killer” pitchers. All through the history of the game we have seen them—certain pitchers with an uncanny degree of success against certain teams, beginning with Jack Pfister in 1908; he got the label “Jack the Giant Killer” because he beat the New York Giants three times in one week. Let’s look at perhaps the most extreme instance of this.
Ed Lopat once said that every pitcher has a favorite patsy, and that the Cleveland Indians were always his. He came up to the Chicago White Sox in 1944, and immediately he zeroed in on the Tribe; in his second start of that season he beat them 2-1, and he ran up eight more wins against them before they finally beat him—by the horrendous score of 3-2. When the Yankees acquired him in a trade (which probably still has the Chisox scratching their heads and wondering how he got away from them) he had compiled an 18-2 record against the Tribe:: no wonder that he became the one pitcher they feared more than any other in the American League. He didn’t stop there, and by the time he finally retired from active playing in 1955 he was 40-13 against them.
Lopat was one of the greatest strategic pitchers in the history of the game, a control pitcher par excellence who didn’t have a fast ball to speak of but who did have everything else—including, perhaps the kitchen sink. His control was such that sportswriters used to say that he was wild if he walked more than two batters in a game—usually it was none or, at the most, one. And it turned out that he wasn’t the only one who socked it to the Indians; teammate Vic Raschi, who won 21 games three years running during the Yankees’ incredible five-year run of championships, had a 22-8 record against the Indians, so the two pitchers—one a finesse pitcher, the other pure power with perhaps the deadliest slider in the game—compiled a 62-21 lifetime record against the Indians.
So you see, it really doesn’t have anything to do with quality of the opposing team, but with how certain teams fare against certain pitchers. A team can be going great guns against other teams—but against a particular pitcher they go 0-for-whatever because they can’t hit that particular kind of pitching. 8)

To some degree Zita, I agree. But in general I don’t. Now if every game the situation was almost the same, playing at home, having the exact same hitters and pitchers in the exact same spots in the lineup, I think your argument would carry more weight. But 1st of all, we’re not talking about ML teams, at least I’m not.

In HS, its very seldom 1 pitcher will throw more than 9 games against the same opponent, and even then it would take place over at least 3 years, and the makeup of those teams would very likely be very different because every year at least a few of the best players from each team will have graduated.

In MLB there’s not nearly as much change, plus a starting pitcher might throw against the same team once in every series which could be 5 or six times a season.

Okay, scorekeeper. I’m speaking from the major league viewpoint, and you’re not. So let’s agree to disagree. 8)

This goes to show something I try very hard to make sure I point out when addressing an audience made up of players from all different levels. The lower the level, the fewer things can or should be compared to MLB.

From the rules to the coaching expertise, to the player expertise, to the umpire expertise, to number of games, to the reason for playing, it’s a difference of night and day.

Even comparing teams pre-expansion to today’s teams is more than difficult. FI, when Eddie Lopat played MLB, his teams played a max of only 7 other teams during the regular season, 22 times each, then 1 team in post season. That’s a far cry from what the teams play today.

But for some reason lots of people attempt to equate what goes on in LLB, HSB, CB or MiLB with MLB, or assume the different levels are interchangeable, but they aren’t. So its not that I disagree with you, its just that I don’t share you’re your perspective. :wink: