Projecting the Best Offense in 2015

There are many different ways to try to evaluate the best offense in baseball. You could look at home runs, batting average, wOBA and a number of other statistics to determine the best offense but the best way is to look at runs scored. There a number of factors that go into run scoring and sometimes it can be very difficult to predict. With that in mind I attempted to develop a regression equation to help predict how many runs each team will score this season to find out which offense will be the best and worst this season.

After looking into a number of different factors like strikeout and walk numbers as well as power figures like home runs and ISO but what I found was that based off the runs scored data for every team from 2005-2014 two stats have a major influence on run scoring. Those statistics were wOBA and BsR. This was the equation that was developed:

RS= -880.8800+4986.4640(wOBA)+0.8824(BsR)
Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
(Intercept) -880.8800   28.4712 -30.939 < 2e-16 ***
wOBA       4986.4640   88.3322 56.451 < 2e-16 ***
BsR           0.8824     0.1232   7.164 6.21e-12 ***

Signif. codes: 0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1
Residual standard error: 22.64 on 297 degrees of freedom
Multiple R-squared: 0.9186,           Adjusted R-squared: 0.918
F-statistic: 1676 on 2 and 297 DF, p-value: < 2.2e-16

As it can be seen by the equation wOBA has a significant impact on run scoring for a team which makes sense because wOBA is an all-around statistic that looks at all parts of offense including ability to draw walks and adds additional weight to extra base hits. Ability to run the bases better as measured by the BsR do not have as significant of an impact on run scoring but it still does factor in over the course of the season. Using this model and the projections found on Fangraphs’ depth chart page for each team I have predicted the number of the runs each team will score this season.

Team wOBA BsR xR
Rockies 0.342 -2 823
Red Sox 0.333 -6.3 774
Nationals 0.329 1.7 761
Blue Jays 0.329 0.1 760
Cubs 0.326 -2.6 742
Tigers 0.326 -2.7 742
Pirates 0.324 3.9 738
Brewers 0.325 -2.7 737
Dodgers 0.325 -3.7 736
Cardinals 0.324 -2.9 732
Angels 0.322 -1.6 723
Rangers 0.32 -1.2 714
Orioles 0.319 -0.6 709
Indians 0.318 2.6 707
Astros 0.318 2.2 707
Marlins 0.318 0.9 706
White Sox 0.318 -2.1 703
Yankees 0.317 -0.1 700
Mariners 0.316 -1.9 693
D-Backs 0.315 1.1 691
Mets 0.315 0.2 690
Reds 0.313 0 680
Twins 0.313 -0.4 680
Athletics 0.312 2.8 677
Royals 0.311 7.1 676
Giants 0.311 -2 668
Padres 0.309 0.7 661
Rays 0.307 0.2 650
Braves 0.305 -1.3 639
Phillies 0.304 0 635

This list ordered by the expected number of runs scored according to the model thinks the Rockies are going to far and above lead the MLB in runs this season. This is due to the Fangraphs’ projections really loving them as evidenced by their wOBA projection of .342. Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox, Nationals, and Blue Jays find themselves near the top of the list. All of these teams are predicted to have powerhouse offenses and should find themselves topping the runs scored list come October. The bottom of the list features three teams in full rebuild mode with the Phillies, Braves, and Rays bringing up the rear. The Padres also find themselves at the bottom of this list. They have had a splashy offseason upgrading their outfield but they still have major offensive question marks in the infield with Jedd Gyorko, Alexei Amarista, and Will Middlebrooks. As this projection shows, the Padres are not really a finished prodect and while A.J. Preller has made some big time moves his team is in no way guaranteed to make the playoffs.

Like all projections things will not go exactly as planned as injuries and unexpected breakouts can easily cause this to change but this list is a good prediction for what offenses will be among the best in 2015.

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