Team selection for 2008 ABL expansion

At the ABL Winter Meetings on the 16th I needed to select a team to bring into the league. Going in, I figured it would be between Boston & Philly. Here’s how I decided.

Fifteen players can be selected, so I made up lists of nine position players (eight from each non-pitching position plus a “DH”), three starters, and three relievers. Minimum requirements for the ABL are 175 ABs (125 for catchers), 70 IPs for starters, and 30 IP for relievers.

I used OPS+ to rate the hitters. For pitchers I started with WHIP, then added some arbitrary factors to get something that roughly mirrors OPS+, that is, higher is better and average is 100. I came up with (2.25-WHIP)*110. (It’s listed as “WHIP+” in the tables below.) I weighted starters twice as much as relievers, based on innings pitched (six-inning starts). I then averaged the position players and pitchers separately to get team hitting and pitching ratings. The lists for Philly & Boston are shown below.

philly_boston.png

Of course, you choose the wrong guys here, and the method suffers. Notably absent are Beckett & Schilling, who are already in the ABL. Philly has no one in the ABL.

I did not consider fielding.

In addition to Boston & Philly, I ran the numbers for a few other teams to see how they compared. The graph below shows the results.

expansion_graph.png

So Philly & Boston come out equal. That was no help at all!

So the decision was down to hitting vs. pitching. I chose hitting. Also, Philly looks to have a very balanced lineup, and Utley & Rollins are a superior middle infield. The biggest temtations of Boston were Papelbon & Okajima, both of whom have sick numbers. Big Papi & Ramirez are pretty good too!

Go Phillies! Go Perfectos!

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