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Six Stats to Beat Tri-City

After two clutch wins to finish their three game series with Spokane, the Vancouver Canadians have (sort of) retaken control of their playoff destiny. With six games left to play against the ‘Tri’-City Dust Devils, let’s take a look at six stats that may help Vancouver in their attempt to three-peat in thirteen.

Before moving on, let’s clear up the playoff permutations and why I said the C’s have ‘sort of’ taken control of their playoff chances. With the season split into two halves, Spokane, who play their final six against first half winner Everett could overtake them for the second half flag if they win either five, or all, of the games. As Everett have won seven on the trot going into the series, I can’t see it happening, but hey, that’s why they play the games.

So, provided Spokane can’t overtake Everett, the Canadians enter the final six one game up on the Indians in the overall standings. If Everett win the second half as well, then it’s that record which gets the second playoff spot. Simple then, the C’s won the second half series with Spokane four games to two so can afford to lose one more game than the Indians and still find themselves in the playoffs.

On to the stats:

I banged on a lot earlier in the season about the C’s lack of power and the fact that their Isolated Slugging (ISO) percentage was at or near the bottom of the league. With their batting average and runs per game at the top of the league, the lack of extra base hits was papered over somewhat. As manager Clayton McCullough said during an in-game interview, ‘you can’t always just single teams to death.’ Too many variables come into play to score those runs.

It’s no secret as to why extra base hits create more runs and are valued more in advanced metrics such as wOBA and wRC+. When I raised the issue with hitting coach Dave Pano he ‘didn’t care about such stats’ as power generally comes as players mature and grow into their bodies.

With some very flimsy statistical shuffling, if you correlate age to power then the C’s, who had the oldest hitting team in the league, should not have had the least amount of power. Now? Dawel Lugo‘s promotion means the Hillsboro Hops have overtaken them as the oldest team, but Vancouver is still second last in ISO. The silver lining in all this? Tri-City are last.

The C’s have hit twenty more doubles and nine more home runs than the Dust Devils. Much of the C’s power has been provided by L.B. Dantzler, who leads the team, and league, in slugging percentage. It’s not even close either. With his .536 mark bettering next best Chaz Frank‘s by over .150 points. If the Canadians are going to press home their advantage in the ISO department, guys like Frank, Andy Fermin, David Harris, etc. are going to have to step up with a few extra base hits of their own.

Vancouver pitchers are currently second in the league in WHIP, only allowing 1.271 walks and hits per inning. Tri-City are mid table with a 1.307. However, Vancouver’s runs per game figure of 4.04 means they allow more of those base runners to convert, despite fact the Dust Devils allow more runs per game at 4.3. Still, the fact the C’s have allowed twenty-nine fewer earned runs gives them a definite edge in the pitching department.

If you look at just the five starters the C’s should use over the next six days the numbers skew even further in favour of Vancouver:

Kyle Anderson* 5 2 2.65 78.0 68 23 2 12 52 1.026 7.8 0.2 1.4 6.0 4.33
Jeremy Gabryszwski 5 2 2.66 71.0 63 21 0 9 38 1.014 8.0 0.0 1.1 4.8 4.22
Alonzo Gonzalez* 0 2 2.84 31.2 24 10 1 10 25 1.074 6.8 0.3 2.8 7.1 2.50
Tom Robson 2 0 1.11 32.1 24 4 0 10 26 1.052 6.7 0.0 2.8 7.2 2.60
Colton Turner* 3 5 2.95 61.0 51 20 4 16 37 1.098 7.5 0.6 2.4 5.5 2.31
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/28/2013.

According to my rough calculations it should be Gabryszwski who gets two of the six games. The Texan has been the most consistent starter for Vancouver all season. Without knowing who will be going for the Dust Devils, I think we can safely assume starting pitching will be an advantage for Vancouver.

That puts the C’s up in starting pitching and power.

Defensively? The C’s are number one in the league in fielding percentage but I don’t really put much stock in those numbers at this level. Something that may be worth looking at though is the respective caught stealing percentages. The C’s lie fourth at 29 percent while Tri-City bring up the rear at 23 percent. With the Dust Devils second in the league with seventy-six stolen bases, and unable to hit for much power, restricting their running game could be crucial.

The bullpen, I really don’t want to talk about the Canadians bullpen. Maybe I am being lazy. The ‘pen will play a large part given the strict pitch count Tom Robson, Gabryszwski, and Alonzo Gonzalez will be on. The innings logged by Scott Silverstein and Matt Dermody will be absolutely crucial.

Finally, the stat that could put the C’s over the top? 153,536 to 71,464. The Nat draws more than two to one than Gesa Stadium. The atmosphere at Scotiabank Field is second to none. Here’s hoping it helps bring the C’s home.

thanks for skewing the avg. age Dawel (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

thanks for skewing the avg. age Dawel (image courtesy of Charlie Caskey)

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