Talking baseball with Tableau
by Matt Booher
Spent some thinking about the Indians chances this season and decided to put together a data visualization to try and explain how the AL Central might finish this year. The viz uses data from Fangraphs – primarily the 2011 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), 2012 Projected WAR, and games played data to determine factors influencing the division race.
Clearly, its the Tigers division to lose. They have two of the best position players in the division in Miguel Cabrera (7.3 WAR in 2011/6.9 projected WAR in 2012) and Prince Fielder (5.5/5.4)and best starting pitcher in Justin Verlander (7.0). The remaining starting pitching will be strong enough to sustain Detroit over the long season. Staying healthy will always be a concern, but the Tigers have enough depth.
The Indians look ready to settle into second place and consolidate for a run next season. If Jason Kipnis (0.8/3.5 in 36 games in 2011) and Shin-Soo Choo (1.4/4.6 in 85 games) stay healthy and productive for extended parts of the season, the Indians have a lineup capable of rivaling the Tigers in terms of overall production. And while the Tribe lacks an ace like Verlander, they do have solid starting pitching.
The Royals appear poised on the verge of mediocrity, and for the downtrodden franchise, an improvement over where they’ve been in the past. They have a legitimate stud in Alex Gordon (6.9/5.5) and an emerging core of positional talent ready to take the next step. Pitching remains a huge concern.
Chicago has enough firepower to keep out of the AL Central basement. Alexi Ramirez (4.9/4.5) and Paul Konerko (3.1/3.5) will lead the offense. If Adam Dunn can become marginally productive and avoid last season’s -2.9 WAR, the White Sox have will compete enough to keep things interesting. The pitching staff lacks an classic ace but will send out a solid arm daily.
Despite the new stadium and promised revenue increases Minnesota stands ready to take a few steps back. Joe Mauer (1.6/5.4 in 82 games) and Justin Morneau (-0.3/2.3 in 69 games) can’t stay healthy and the rest of the roster consists of a slew of slightly above replacement players. The pitching looks OK, but not capable of carrying a weak offense.
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Minnesota Twins