Studeman: The tensest series of all-time

From SABR member Dave Studeman at Baseball Prospectus on April 2, 2012:

There’s this thing called Leverage Index that some of us like to play with. It was developed by Tom Tango—building on similar work by folks like Doug Drinen and Phil Birnbaum—to measure the criticality of a plate appearance. It’s an outgrowth of Win Probability Added, and it’s arguably the best thing about WPA.

Leverage Index allows us to say that this plate appearance was twice as critical as that plate appearance, based on the inning, score, outs, and baserunning situation. It doesn’t take specific pitchers and batters into account—it’s a generic perspective best used for measurement—but it sets a framework so that managers and fans can better understand the game situation.

The thing that Leverage Index misses, however, is the criticality of a game. When teams are out of a pennant race, are their plate appearances really that critical? This is something that Sky Andrecheck and I addressed a couple of years ago by quantifying the criticality of a game based on a team’s position in a pennant race.

I called my approach a Drama Index (because criticality is dramatic too), and Sky called his Championship Leverage Index, but they do the same thing: they quantify the criticality of a game based on a team’s position in a pennant race.

Sky took his system an extra step by applying it to the postseason, and I’ve combined Sky’s metrics with the Leverage Index of each postseason play (thank you, Sean Forman, Baseball Reference, and Retrosheet) to tell you the following:

The most tense, intense, and dramatic postseason series of all time was played in 1924, between the Senators and Giants.

Read the full article here:

Related link: Listen to Dave’s research presentation on “the most critical at-bat of all-time” from the 2012 SABR Analytics Conference

Originally published: April 5, 2012. Last Updated: April 5, 2012.