While media hype tends to focus on a handful of superstars, it’s depth and versatility of weaponry that typically wins games and championships. As bettors, be sure you’re thinking about THAT as you make your daily selections and ponder futures prices.
We see a great example of depth and versatility in ESPN’s Sunday night baseball national telecast featuring the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The most respected offensive stats in analytics smile very brightly on the Bosox. They say…
Mookie Betts: offensive superstar
J.D. Martinez: offensive superstar
Andrew Benintendi: elite contributor
Xander Bogaerts: well above average
Mitch Moreland: well above average
We encourage you to monitor the stat pages at fangraphs.com to evaluate individual hitters and team offenses in the games you handicap. Pay particular attention to:
Weighted On-Base Percentage: a stat designed to assign the proper impact value to each type of hit, but centered on the same scale as on-base percentage. Betts has been in the stratospheric .440 to .450 range of late. Martinez not far behind.
Weighted Runs Created: a park-adjusted and league-adjusted stat designed to reflect a hitter’s value in runs. Betts has created about 80% more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances. All five Sox listed earlier were well clear of league average.
Entering the weekend, those stats agreed that Mike Trout was the best offensive force in Major League Baseball. Betts was second. Jose Ramirez of Cleveland third. Martinez fourth. Boston has two of the most dynamic sluggers in baseball in the same lineup! Benintendi graded out as a top 25 hitter in both. Bogaerts top 50.
While Aaron Judge of the Yankees is right on the heels of Trout, Betts, Ramirez, and Martinez in terms of impact, the Bronx Bombers don’t have quite the same elite hitting depth as Boston.
Maybe this helps explain why the Red Sox are one victory from a four-game sweep of the Yankees tonight.
Profit potential down the stretch, and in October, will be provided by relatively slump-proof offenses that are capable of working together to put themselves in position to win consistently in a variety of conditions, against a variety of pitching challenges.