SkyKing162's Baseblog

A fan of the Yankees, Red Sox, and large sample sizes.

Ok, the quick answer to the question posed in the last entry is .55 runs. The difference between the third best defense-neutral pitching staff (Florida) and the third worst (San Diego) is 1.1 runs. Assuming the average team in in the middle of the two (it's not), that gives a .55 run difference between an average pitching staff and the best/worst. Of course, this doesn't deal with park effects, either, but it shouldn't be TOO far off. Thus, if you had a choice between having average fielders and a kick-ass pitching staff or kick-ass fielders and an average pitching staff, you'd choose the pitchers, but not by as much as I had thought. About 58% percent of the difference between teams' defenses should be attributed to pitching, and 42% to fielding. Assuming offense is 50% and defense is 50% of baseball, that means positions players as a group show more variability than pitching staffs as a group (71% of the difference is attributable to hitters). Of course, it's not often the best hitters are also the best fielders.

And, of course credit distribution can change when you take into account the fact that Curt Schilling does a lot more on his own than Kirk Rueter does. A crappy defensive team with Schilling on the mound has a good chance of winning (with the credit mostly going to Curt Schilling), while the same team with Rueter on the mound has a good chance of losing (with the blame mostly going to the fielders).

And there's definitely a distinction between distribution of credit and differences between the best and worst fielding and pitching teams.

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