At Fangraphs, which is a website devoted to more advanced baseball analysis than your average website, a writer asked his loyal readers to assess the front office of the team the reader most closely follows. Readers were instructed to rate their teams’ front office with these thoughts in mind:
· Consider the methods of player acquisition, drafts, trades, free agent signings
· Consider how the front office might work with an average payroll
· Relative to the other front offices in baseball, how does your team’s front office compare?
· Would your front office build a successful team given an ordinary roster and an ordinary budget?
The post at Fangraphs can be found here:
Here are the current AL West standings:
Houston Astros 49-38, .563 --
Los Angeles Angels 46-38, .548 1.5
Texas Rangers 41-44, .482 7.0
Seattle Mariners 39-46, .459 9.0
Oakland Athletics 39-48, .448 11.0
For comparison’s sake, here are the projected standings by pre-season predictions from eight different sources, including Sports Illustrated, Fangraphs, Baseball-Prospectus, Sporting News, and others.
Seattle Mariners 89-73, .549 --
Los Angeles Angels 88-74, .543 1.0
Oakland Athletics 84-78, .519 5.0
Houston Astros 75-87, .463 14.0
Texas Rangers 75-87, .463 14.0
Here is the difference in winning percentage for each team in the division compared to their pre-season projection:
Houston Astros: +.100
Texas Rangers: +.019
Los Angeles Angels: +.005
Oakland Athletics: -.071
Seattle Mariners: -.090
The Rangers have been a bit better than expected based on their actual record, but their run differential of -24 suggests they’ve played above their heads. They’ve had injuries to most of their projected starting rotation, so it’s impressive that they are as close to .500 as they are.
The Angels are playing just about as well as the expert’s expected. They trail the Astros more because of how well the Astros played than because they’ve fallen short of expectations. Down by just 1 ½ games, the Angels are still very much in the race for the division title.
The Mariners are one game better than the Athletics but their -47 run differential is the second-worst mark in the American League. They could easily have a much worse record than they currently have. The main problem with the Mariners has been an ugly offense. Their 294 runs scored is the second-lowest total in baseball; only the Chicago White Sox have scored fewer.
There are only threeteams in the AL with a better run differential than the Oakland A’s and yet the A’s have the worst record in the league. A big part of their ugly record is a 7-22 mark in one-run games. Most teams gravitate towards a .500 record in one-run games, so for the A’s to be 15 games below .500 in one-run games explains much of their poor actual record. If they were 14-15 in one-run games instead of 7-22, they would be just three games back of the Astros and solidly in the wild card race.
So what do the fans of these teams think of their respective front offices? Well, as you can imagine, the Houston fans are very happy. They really like their front office, with 91% of the fans rating the Houston front office as Very Good or Pretty Good. The team has put together a good young team that is competitive earlier than expected.
Down in Oakland, despite their current last-place standing, 89% of the fans rank the A’s front office as above average. The A’s seem to be constantly in flux because of their limited payroll. They don’t spend with the big boys, so before their good, young players get expensive they are often traded away for younger, cheaper players. In this past off-season, Josh Donaldson was one such player. Donaldson is having a terrific year with the Blue Jays. Despite their payroll restrictions and ugly ballpark situation, the A’s have often been competitive under the guidance of GM Billy Beane.
Most Rangers’ fans peg their front office as being average, with 53% of the fans putting them in that category. The Rangers had a good run of success a few years ago, but injuries have taken a toll over the past few years and they aren’t the team they once were.
Fans of the Seattle Mariners DO NOT LIKE their front office. “Pretty Bad” was the rating most often handed out by M’s fans, followed by 24% for “Very Bad” and 21% for “Average.” Just 2% of M’s fans gave the Front Office an above-average rating and votes for Very Good didn’t even get to the 1% mark.