For those unfamiliar with the concept--and how could that be? Do you not read every word posted on this blog?--RATBOP is my attempt to boil down all the disparate assessments of starting pitching into one handy-dandy, OPS-like number. There are two components. At the front end we have Running Around The Bases, and compile it thusly: multiply the PAs your starter has faced by 4 (in the AL as a whole, that gives you, through Friday's games, 61,516 adjusted PAs). Then multiply Earned Runs Allowed by 4 (AL adjusted total is 6424), add to that Total Bases Allowed (AL: 5595), HBP and Bases on Balls (AL: 1338), Net Stolen Bases (SBminus CS; AL total, 135). From that total, subtract GIDP (AL: 300). This gives you your total bases traversed (13,192 so far in the AL). Subtract those bases travelled from the adjusted PA, which gives you Bases Prevented, and express that as a percentage: in the AL, starters have thus a .786 bases prevented average. Drop the decimal point and set aside to cool.
The back end, OP, is Outs Percentage, and simply the ratio of innings pitched to the maximum number possible (9 innings times the number of starts). In the AL, starters have toed the rubber 618 times for a maximum of 5562 innings; they've pitched 3614 innings, giving them a .650 percentage. Drop the decimal and add to the RATB, mixing well. Voila: a league average RATBOP so far this year of 1436.
I'll throw in the expected Wins and Losses as well. An expected win is a start with a Game Score of 55 or better; the AL is 203-85 this year, a .705 percentage. An xL is a Game Score of 45 and under; the AL is 42-163, a .205 percentage. An expected no decision is a Game Score between 46 and 54, and the AL is 66-59, .528, in those starts this year.
DETROIT leads the ALC with a team 1506 RATBOP, and they're at 25-5, with 7 no decisions, in the xWL world. Individually: Scherzer 1588, 7-0. Verlander 1566, 5-1. Porcello 1526, 5-2. Smyly 1391, 3-2. Sanchez, coming back soon, 1325, 3-0. Robbie Ray, Sanchez's temporary replacement, 1537, 2-0.
Detroit's scoring 4.78 runs a game and giving up 3.54. Unless they all get sick from a bad batch of post-game pizza and miss the months of July, August and September, they're going to win the division by 20 games.
KANSAS CITY: 1496 RATBOP, 23-12-6 xWL. Shields 1584, 6-2. Vargas 1550, 6-2. Ventura 1514, 6-1. Guthrie 1474, 3-4. Duffy 1422, 1-0. Chen, out with a bad back, 1229, 1-3. The team scores and allows 3.83 runs per game. They're likely to up that run production some, as Butler, Gordon, Aoki and Moustakas are underperforming their career norms considerably, but given some regression out of Vargas and Ventura, breaking even by season's end seems likely.
CHICAGO: 1372 RATBOP, 15-15-12 xWL. They've already used nine starters. Sale's at 1624, 3-0, but is going to come back from injury slowly, apparently. Quintana 1467, 3-1; Danks 1423, 4-2. And a whole mess of guys like Rienzo and Noesi in the 1100s and 1200s and 1300s. You don't really care about the details, do you? The team is scoring a lot, nearly five runs a game, but that will come down. They're also giving up even more. That won't change.
MINNESOTA is at 1371, 14-21-5. Hughes turned in four straight xWs after a bad start and is at 1455, 4-4; Kyle Gibson 1428, 5-3; Nolasco 1427, 3-4; Correia 1286, 2-5. The team is scoring 4.72, a number that should go down with regression, and allowing 4.97, a number that should remain static. There are a lot of good young players here, but a winning record seems dubious indeed.
CLEVELAND: 1406, 16-19-7. Kluber 1534, 5-3. Masterson 1460, 4-4. McAllister 1306, 3-4. Ousted starters Carrasco (1305, 0-3) and Salazar (1295, 2-5) are replaced by Tomlin (1553, 1-0) and Bauer (1547, 1-0).
Our heroes are scoring 4.17 and allowing 4.52. More runs will come if Santana, Bourn and Swisher regress to career norms; fewer runs will score agin us if Tomlin and Bauer do not regress to career norms, but rather continue to pitch well, while the defense isn't so damnably offensive.
I'm not holding my breath about any of that.