Saturday, November 24, 2012

Off-Season Talent Flow Revisited

Last season we did a little table that showed the "Major" (Type A and B) talent flows, expressed as numerical totals, between divisions.

As a reminder to the vets and intro to the newcomers, here's what we did:

We assigned a value of 1 to the Type B's, a value of 2 to the Type A's, and a value of 4 to the Type Super-A's (just a thing I made up for this little game).  If a team lost a Type A, that was -2 for that division.

So we just added up all the A and B free agents and Type A and B players (estimated) moving in trades, by division.

A year later we can ask, "Did that mean anything...did it predict changes in wins and losses to any degree?"

Well, let's see:

OK, we're looking for a couple of things here.  Does each column have both pluses or both minuses for each row?  If so, the pre-season A and B talent flows are predicting changes in wins in the division pretty well.

Looks like it predicted the direction of wins correctly in 6 of 8 divisions.  AL East and AL West broke counter to the prediction.

The other question is whether big talent flow changes meant big changes in wins.  It did in the AL South (+7 talent flow, +28 wins) and NL East (-6 talent flow, -37 wins), but missed on the AL West (-6 talent flow, +6 wins).  And the NL South and NL West had big jumps in wins without significant talent inflows.

Obviously, we're not picking up all the talent movement - we ignoring the vast bulk of free agents and trades, all the rookie promotions, and everything that happens after the start of the season.

We're just tracking the big-name, pre-season movement.  And while it's not a great predictor, it at least gives some indication of which divisions are going to improve win totals.

With that in mind, here's this season's pre-season talent flow table:

So prediction here is a big slide for the NL South and AL East, and better win totals for the rest of the NL, AL North and AL West.  AL South is close but slightly negative.

What's striking this year is all the activity in the NL East...lots of coming and going and a lot of players changing teams within the division.

Type Super-A's for this were Caballero, Adams, Torrealba and Casey.  Gutierrez obviously would have been a Super-A, but since he didn't change teams I didn't include him.

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