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A statistical look at Guiel and D’Antona (and Aoki)

by on May.25, 2010 @ 6:51 pm, under NPB

At the 45 game mark, the Swallows last year were 26-19-0, a far cry from where they are this year.  The media and the team appear to believe that Aaron Guiel and Jamie D'Antona are, at the very least, partially to blame for the Swallows' problems this year.

Let's take a look at some numbers:

Player Year AB R H HR RBI AVG
D'Antona 2009 155 15 38 8 23 .245
2010 151 16 34 8 29 .225
Guiel 2009 133 18 38 7 28 .286
2010 139 18 28 12 23 .201
Aoki 2009 167 22 40 4 21 .240
2010 175 21 54 5 18 .309

These are the cumulative stats for D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki through 45 games.  Let's organize those numbers a little differently.

Player Year AB R H HR RBI AVG
D+G+A 2009 455 55 116 19 72 .255
2010 465 55 116 25 70 .249

These are the totals for D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki through 45 games, combined.

Strange.  So the team is doing a lot worse this year, than last year, despite the fact that they're getting about the same amount of production from these three players.

So then what's the problem?  Here are the numbers for the rest of the offense, minus D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki.

Total 2009 1002 111 285 13 88 .264
2010 1022 87 234 12 66 .229

The offense, minus D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki, has scored 24 fewer runs through 45 games.  That explains about 2 wins.

Which means the problem isn't as much offense, as it is the pitching.

Team Year RS RA
Total 2009 166 147
2010 142 197

The pitching staff has allowed 50 more runs this year, than it did last year.  How does that translate in wins and losses?  Here are the pythagorean projections:

Actual Expected
2009 26 19 0 578 25 20 0 555 1
2010 13 31 1 295 16 28 1 355 3

What does this show us?  For one, is shows us that the Swallows could have 3 more wins.  Throw in the 2 wins based on the offenses without D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki, and the 5 or so wins based on the 50 run differential in RA, and you have about 10 wins.  And that just about works out to the differences between this year and last.

Here's the breakdown of the "fault" based on the numbers above:

The offense, minus D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki, is about 20%.

Luck is at about 30%.

And the rest is all pitching.

Which actually makes sense, since starting pitching has been a fairly big problem for the Swallows this season.

So what the Swallows need right now, more than a bat, is actually better starting pitching.  And that's something that will probably get better over time, without even making any moves, for the following reasons:

Masanori Ishikawa will start winning again.

Having Shohei Tateyama back in the rotation should provide some stability.

Plus you have Yoshinori Sato making adjustments at Ni-gun.  He could turn out to be a big boost for the rotation later on during the year.

10 comments on “A statistical look at Guiel and D’Antona (and Aoki)

  1. Christopher Pellegrinni


    Fantastic post–very interesting stuff.

    As Eric commented in a recent post here, Guiel and D’Antona have been “thrown under the bus” by the team and the media.

    This seems to happen to all of the non-Japanese that get hired by NPB teams to swing a big bat, and even if Guiel and D’Antona get their OBP’s over .450 for the next two months straight, they’ll be saddled with the brunt of the blame for any ensuing losses that coincide with a multi-game quiet streak at the plate.

    It’s just an occupational hazard I guess.

    Love the way that you’ve laid the stats out in this post. Maybe it would be a good idea to translate this one into Japanese as well so that the media has some actual data (sabremetrics) to chew on for once.

    Christopher Pellegrini

  2. Eric

    Gen, thanks for the data. To take you one step further and introduce some basic sabermetric evaluation into the equation…

    Based on the old-fashioned conventional stats (BA, HR, RBI) that you posted here, it would seem as though Aoki is having a much better season this year than last, while both Guiel and D’Antona have fallen off fairly drastically. Aoki’s HR and RBI totals are about the same, while his average has jumped an impressive 69 points over last year’s. Meanwhile, poor Guiel’s average has taken a massive 85 point drop.

    However, the sabermetrics tell us a different story. Let’s look at each player’s OPS, the commonly accepted sabermetric batting stat that combines a hitter’s ability to get on base with his ability to hit for power:

    Guiel .822
    Aoki .827
    D’Antona .718

    D’Antona’s .718 is quite pedestrian, particularly for a guy who’s meant to hit cleanup – he’s not having a fantastic season. Guiel’s sabermetric numbers, on the other hand, are pretty impressive. Even though he’s only hitting .201, he leads the team in both walks and HPB’s, which means his OPB is a respectable .347 (Aoki’s, for comparison, is .387; only Iihara’s .360 is comparable among the team’s regulars). Also, when Guiel does hit the ball, he’s hitting it hard. Of his 28 hits on the season, 12 have left the yard, giving him the team’s second-best slugging percentage at .475, behind only Takeuchi’s .514. The only other knock against him I can see is that he strikes out quite often, but that’s expected of foreign power hitters who swing for the fences every time (think Brazell for Hanshin or Sledge for Yokohama).

    By comparison, last year Guiel posted an exceptional OPS of .900, so his production has dropped somewhat. However, Aoki’s production has similarly dipped from a .942 in 2008 to a .844 in 2009, and now down to .822 so far this year. D’Antona has experienced the biggest drop, going from a respectable .813 last year to his current low.

    So, in short, the sabermetrics show us that D’Antona is indeed having an off year, but also that in spite of his unsightly batting average, Guiel is actually one of the two or three most effective hitters on that team, together with Aoki and possibly Hiroyasu Tanaka. The media and team scapegoating of Guiel, in particular, is absolutely atrocious, and completely unfounded once the advanced metrics are thoroughly examined.

    1. Gen Post author

      I actually wanted to use better metrics, like OPS, but that would have involved a bit more work (as in rounding up the necessary data and filtering through it).

      This was more about a quick look at basis measurements that could help explain why it isn’t necessary for the Swallows to make any moves for the time being.

      Maybe I’ll dive into it a bit more when I have more time on my hands.

    2. mark

      G & D are having fine and productive seasons based on the info give. Their HR and R totals are near or above last year.

      Their BA’s are down, but I will argue that BA is a far too over rated stat. Teh game is about scoring. Extra base hits and HR’s produce the greatest % of runs…thought I don’t have stats to support that here, but if anyone were to do the research this statement would be supprted.

      Gen, yes OPS would have been a good stat to have included.

  3. Ken D.

    Sorry I’m a bit late to this. Since Yakult have won 2 of their last 22, there’s nowhere to go but up. And from the way I hear you guys talk about the media (not living in Japan myself), they’ll likely blame the inevitable winning uptick on the players who have been “newly inspired due to the managerial change,” or some nonsense. Law of averages be damned, apparently.

    As an aside, Gen, for the OBP and SLG I like use the TBS site (yes, I am a broken record). It’s all laid out right there on the team stats pages. (For some reason I like to check their math, though it’s always correct). And since I only really get to watch the weekend day games, the Giants data page, for example, allows me to see exactly how unbelievably Ogasawara is crushing the ball or walking every single time he’s at bat. But I digress.

    For your sake I hope the Swallows can improve back to respectability. I somewhat like them as well. And on a personal note, do you think I cursed D’Antona just by being near him when we were walking outside of Jingu back in early April? :)

    1. Gen Post author

      “And on a personal note, do you think I cursed D’Antona just by being near him when we were walking outside of Jingu back in early April?”

      You know, I often wondered if that was the cause of his slump. ;)

      BTW: yeah, the TBS site is great, but only for this season, unless of course they have an online archive that I’m not aware. The problem for me wasn’t so much getting stats for the current season, but for last season (and at the 45 game point).

    2. Ken D.

      Yes, it was kind of silly for me to assume you had a database of full stats from previous seasons.

      I find myself wishing the official NPB site would put past players online so I don’t have to go chasing around for stats elsewhere.

      1. Gen Post author

        What I find odd is why Data Stadium only allows sites like Yahoo and TBS to store detailed data for one season. I’m guessing it’s because Data Stadium markets a product that provides that information (for a fee) and doesn’t want places like Yahoo and TBS dishing it out for free.

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