24 March 2010

Hit The Ground / Running


What is this progression? The telescopic length of my staff (in metres), while reviewing your quintessential American drama? Or perhaps the number of seconds four self described "moderates" can attend to Glenn Beck before onset of migraine induced nausea?

No, no. These are obligatory American "jokes", to start off with, as in the style of Jon Stewart and The Hardball Times. Now I will become serious, as they do, to great effect. The enigmatic numbers are GO/AO ratios, which as reasonably schooled Americans agree, represent the ratio of ground ball outs versus outs in the air, for either a team or individual. In this instance, the progression represents Diamondback team ratios for 2007, 2008, 2009 - and finally, for spring ball 2010.

The 0.95 figure from 2007 was the lowest such ratio in the National League. Only veteran wormburner Orlando Hudson posted an individual ratio greater than one, as most everyone else got under the ball - and the squad managed just 4.4 runs per game.

In 2008 (4.44 rpg), Hudson was again the only regular above 1.oo, but younger players gradually approached that figure, raising the team GO/AO to 1.02 - still second lowest in the NL. In 2009 (4.44 rpg), Hudson was gone, but the team ratio again rose slightly - to 1.06 - as three regulars broke the 1.oo barrier:

Gerardo Parra 1.93
Miguel Montero 1.23
Justin Upton 1.23

Once again, that 1.06 team figure represented the second lowest GO/AO ratio in the NL. Finally, in this year's Cactus exhibitions, through last weekend, Arizona had tallied a robust six runs per game and also saw a dramatic GO/AO increase to 1.63! Since then, the offense has stalled and the GO/AO has likewise plummeted. If nothing else, there appears to be a direct correlation between runs and GO/AO for this Diamondback collective.

I emphasize this collective, because it's unclear - indeed untrue - that teams with alot of fly ball outs automatically dont score runs. The 2009 Phillies, for example, led the league in runs and hit a higher % of air outs than anyone. But over the past few seasons, Arizona's core of players have established a rather tenacious and ongoing correlation between popping up and not scoring a whole lot of runs.


Diamondhacks said...

Thx for the contribution. On an individual level, GO/AO seems pretty self evident; CY and Byrnes pop up a ton and cost the team runs. But it's interesting to look at teamwide, and across teams (ie Phillies).

I guess there's two ways to raise team GO/AO. Hit the ball on the ground more (LA), or have an addtl 30fly balls leave the yard(PHI) - that'll create runs and raise GO/AO considerably.

btw, way to warm things up with those intro jokes.

Anonymous said...

Interesting look. Despite knowing better than to infer ANYTHING from spring stats other than "his arm is still attached", he "he's in the best shape of his life", in looking at the individual numbers, among the top 10 on the team in GO/AO, only Jackson, (#5) and Upton (#10) are everyday starters.

Most of the other guys will be in the minors or receive limited playing time, unless there are a lot of injuries. The notable person on the list would be Abreu. He hits a lot of groundballs, always has. If he received considerable playing time, than that would move the needle.

However I think if one wanted to try to discern where the direction this might go from 2009 total, you might want to focus on the two new additions most likely to get significant PA's, namely Johnson and Laroche. Johnson's career GO/AO is 1.03 and Laroche's is 1.07, although Laroche seemed to be trending more towards a FB hitter the last few years.

If I had to guess, which this most assuredly is, I'd say likely things will end up pretty close to 2009.