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  • Some NPB v MLB offense comparisons

    Posted by simon c on 2008 May 5日 Monday

    Just did some comparisons of NPB and MLB offenses for 2005-07. Just scratching the surface here, so nothing deep yet.

    R/G

    Year・年

    CL・セ

    PL・パ

    NPB

    AL・ア

    NL・ナ

    MLB

    平均試合

    2005

    4.40

    4.46

    4.43

    4.76

    4.45

    4.59

    得点

    2006

    4.12

    3.92

    4.03

    4.96

    4.76

    4.86

     

    2007

    4.11

    3.94

    4.03

    4.90

    4.71

    4.80

     

    OPS

    Year・年

    CL・セ

    PL・パ

    NPB

    AL・ア

    NL・ナ

    MLB

     

    2005

    0.739

    0.739

    0.739

    0.754

    0.744

    0.749

     

    2006

    0.712

    0.705

    0.709

    0.776

    0.761

    0.768

     

    2007

    0.724

    0.701

    0.713

    0.760

    0.756

    0.758

     

    Although Japanese baseball is known for its small ball from top to bottom (even though WBC was won with timely big bats), in 2005 NPB and MLB offenses exhibited very similar R/G and OPS numbers, then they diverged rather extremely after that (I don’t have NPB data for years before 2005, and wasn’t going to go beyond 3 years for analysis anyways, but it looks like a future project).

    So, what caused this diversion? Let’s take a look at a couple of typical small ball indicators.

    SH/G

    Year・年

    CL・セ

    PL・パ

    NPB

    AL・ア

    NL・ナ

    MLB

    試合平均

    2005

    0.64

    0.55

    0.60

    0.21

    0.44

    0.33

    犠打

    2006

    0.75

    0.81

    0.78

    0.20

    0.46

    0.34

     

    2007

    0.89

    0.81

    0.85

    0.22

    0.40

    0.31

     

    SB/G

    Year・年

    CL・セ

    PL・パ

    NPB

    AL・ア

    NL・ナ

    MLB

    試合平均

    2005

    0.42

    0.47

    0.44

    0.54

    0.52

    0.53

    盗塁

    2006

    0.44

    0.55

    0.49

    0.55

    0.59

    0.57

     

    2007

    0.42

    0.62

    0.52

    0.60

    0.60

    0.60

    So, Japan loves the sacrifice bunt, that’s obvious. On most teams of any level from little league to pro, if a runner gets on first, he’ll be bunted over. The theory here is that getting that 1st run in the game is paramount because it puts extra pressure on the opponent. When both teams employ this same tactic, you typically end up in a 1 or 2 run game where runs are scored one at a time.

    Interestingly, Japan loves smallball and it’s even self-proclaimed by the media and management, but MLB teams steal more bases than NPB teams. Perhaps the lower scoring game discourages base stealing because the cost of getting caught is greater. This is something else that can be looked into more depth later. Anyhow PL teams have been stealing more lately, like their MLB counterparts, but unlike their CL cousins whose steals have flatlined.

    And finally, a couple of random comparisons.

    AVG

    Year・年

    CL・セ

    PL・パ

    NPB

    AL・ア

    NL・ナ

    MLB

    打率

    2005

    0.270

    0.267

    0.268

    0.268

    0.262

    0.264

     

    2006

    0.263

    0.261

    0.262

    0.275

    0.264

    0.269

     

    2007

    0.265

    0.262

    0.263

    0.270

    0.266

    0.268

     

     

    BB/G

    Year・年

    CL・セ

    PL・パ

    NPB

    AL・ア

    NL・ナ

    MLB

    試合平均

    2005

    2.91

    2.82

    2.87

    3.01

    3.24

    3.13

    四球

    2006

    2.55

    2.81

    2.68

    3.20

    3.32

    3.26

     

    2007

    2.87

    2.61

    2.74

    3.31

    3.31

    3.31

    So, as expected, batting average doesn’t really correlate to  run scoring. The difference in walks shows up as part of the difference in OPS. The difference in walk rate could probably be attributed to the lack of power hitters in Japan, so pitchers don’t have to worry about getting taken yard except for the cleanup hitters, usually. This allows them to pound the strike zone more instead of nibbling on the corners. But it’s only a speculation. With the often high pitch counts (partially attributed to the book here which likes the pitcher throwing a rather obvious ball after getting ahead to 2 strikes in a pitcher’s count), I wasn’t expecting the difference in walk rate to be this pronounced. Although, it could be a 3 year sample size thing as well. More to look into in the future..

    So, nothing conclusive here except the surprise (to me) that MLB and NPB teams were scoring at roughly the same rate in 2005, and the scoring trend has diverged since then to what we see now with often low scoring NPB games. OPS correlates with the run scoring, makes sense. NPB teams have increased their number of bunts over the last 3 years and the total scoring has gone down, hmmm (then again, the lowest scoring team in the PL, the Fighters, won the PL pennant last year on pitching and defense). Stolen bases and batting average don’t seem to have much bearing, and walk rate is about as expected from the OPS difference, I guess (kinda contradicting myself, but as I said, there’s no conclusion here, and it’s late  :P  ). Hey, at least this may help you in adjusting some expectations of Japanese players going to the majors and how they’ll perform (individual capabilities to adapt to foreign cultures aside). 

    More to come in the future, including internal NPB analysis.. 

     

     

     

    3 Responses to “Some NPB v MLB offense comparisons”

    1. […] By Simon Currie   […]

    2. My data is pretty complete going back to 2003. I’m kind of busy right now, but will see what I can whip up later this week. If I don’t, drop me a line to remind me.

    3. simoncurrie said

      Thanks Westbaystars. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time at the moment either, but it’d be interesting to see what the 2003-04 portion looks like.

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