FanPost

First 40: Looking Back and Ahead

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Kip, after his walk off 3-run blast on Friday night, is demonstrating what we are all feeling.

via www.morningjournal.com


Before I begin, let me preface this by saying that this is my first FanPost. I'm still getting a little used to how to edit everything so bear with me if it doesn't look as pretty as it should.

The Tribe, as everyone knows, has really taken off this year. The hitting has been stellar, the bullpen has been rock solid, and the rotation, which had the huge question mark as we began in April, has proven to be dominant at best and serviceable at worst. But how does the Tribe this year stack up against the Tribe in previous years? Someone mentioned that we had hit the "40 poll" in the game thread today, and it got me thinking: why not analyze the Tribe's first 40 games in a few key seasons? For this particular analysis, I have chosen four years. They are:

1997: World Series run

2007: ALCS run

2012: Previous Year

2013: Current Year

Courtesy of baseballmusings.com, here are some offensive stats to get us going. Keep in mind that all of these stats, unless otherwise noted, are dealing only with the first 40 games of each season (the data wasn't updated for today's game):

AB Hits RBI BB K BA OBP Slug%
1997 1399 397 222 192 232 0.284 0.372 0.497
2007 1392 374 215 168 311 0.269 0.353 0.424
2012 1369 337 168 181 258 0.246 0.339 0.384
2013 1372 361 190 137 325 0.263 0.333 0.457

I think it's safe to say that no one expects to hit the numbers that the '97 Tribe put up. It's also safe to say that everyone is hoping that we can stay away from the 2012 version of the Indians. But the interesting part is the comparison to 2007. The 2007 Tribe wasn't the golden standard that we saw in '97 (hell, I didn't even see that golden standard. I was 4 at the time), but they were a damn good team. Cleveland 2013 is also a damn good team. Expanding the stats of both 2007 and 2013, here are the results:

AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SF BB IBB HBP K BA OBP Slug%
2007 1392 374 67 7 45 215 12 168 16 21 311 0.269 0.353 0.424
2013 1372 361 83 9 55 190 14 137 5 14 325 0.263 0.333 0.457

There are a lot of comparable things about the 2007 Tribe and the 2013 Tribe. But the key things are the differences. Today's Tribe is playing the game a lot differently: mainly, they are a much more powerful team than in 2007. 16 more doubles, 9 more triples, and 10 extra home runs are helping bring the overall slugging up by over 30 points. Runs are being generated by hitting the ball and hitting it hard. It seems elementary, but it could turn out to be the key to making this team a serious contender. Looking back to 2007, here are the full season offensive stats.

AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SF BB IBB HBP K BA OBP Slug%
2007 5604 1504 305 27 178 784 59 590 56 80 1202 0.268 0.343 0.428

After 40 games, the 2007 Tribe's stats accounted for:

24.8% of total At-Bats

24.9% of total Hits

22.0% of total doubles

25.9% of total triples

25.3% of total home runs

27.4% of total RBIs

20.3% of total Sac Flies

28.5% of total BBs

28.6% of total IBB

26.3% of total HBP

25.9% of total Ks

So what happens if the 2013 Tribe has the exact same ratio of offensive statistics as the 2007 Tribe? We get this:

AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SF BB IBB HBP K BA OBP Slug%
2013 5532 1450 377 35 217 693 69 481 17 53 1255 0.262 0.325 0.461

Side by side, here are the two tables:

AB Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SF BB IBB HBP K BA OBP Slug%
2007 5604 1504 305 27 178 784 59 590 56 80 1202 0.268 0.343 0.428
2013 5532 1450 377 35 217 693 69 481 17 53 1255 0.262 0.325 0.461

What do we take from this? Well, since it's all speculation and extrapolation, potentially nothing. But the main point is this: the Indians, compared to 2007, will most likely have less hits than the 2007 incarnation. But that doesn't mean too much when you look at the overall averages (only a 6 point difference). The OBP is a little lower than we would all like it to be, but I think that was to be expected; with guys like Stubbs and Reynolds, it makes a lot of sense that we will have more strikeouts.

However, I think all of that is insignificant in the long run because of the improved slugging this season. They may get less hits, but the hits they DO get are going to be much harder hit balls than in 2007. At both the 40 game mark (which we have solid numbers for) AND the extrapolated stats for the end of the season, this year's version of the Tribe is slugging a whole 33 points higher than in 2007. At the 40 game mark, we have 28 more XBH than in 2007. Continue that trend over the full season, we end with a whopping 119 more XBH than in 2007. This could be huge in the long run, considering the speed on our team. Runners on first can potentially score 119 more times, pending we have one of our many speedsters on the base paths.

I'm not sure exactly what all of these statistics will end up correlating to in the end. But if the first 40 games of 2013 are any indication, we are in for a solid ride.

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