Reflecting Back on the 2013 Baseball Season (Part 1)

My review of 2013 will follow the same format as the song Calendar Girl sung by Neil Sedaka in 1961. We will begin with January, 2013 and end with December, 2013.

ESPN, in January, 2013, conducted a survey to see which teams are most and least improved before the start of the 2013 season. The survey revealed the five most improved teams before opening day 2013 were the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Royals, Angels, and Dodgers; the five least improved teams were the Marlins, Astros, Rangers, Orioles, and Mets. Let’s see how these predictions panned out. The Red Sox, the 2013 WS champions, skyrocketed from 69 to 92 wins. The Royals went from 72 to 86 wins. The Dodgers went from 86 wins to 92 wins to win the NL West. The Dodgers unleashed a five-tool future superstar, Yasiel Puig. The Blue Jays showed little improvement going from 73 to 74 wins. The big disappointment was the Angels who declined from 93 to 78 wins. Of the five predicted to be least improved for 2013 only the Mets stayed the same for the two years winning 74 games each year. The Marlins, Astros, Rangers, and Orioles all showed a decline in wins for 2013. Other big positive surprises for 2013 were the Indians improving from 68 wins to 92 wins and the Pirates going from 79 wins to 94 wins. Both the Pirates and Indians made the 2013 playoffs. Major disappointments for 2013 included the 2012 WS champion Giants who declined from 94 wins to 76 wins and the Nationals who went from 98 to 86 wins,

The seven no-hitters for 2012 tied the record for most no-hitters in a season set first in 1990 and then repeated in 1991. Sabermetricians asked the following question: Can we expect a repeat performance in 2013 just like 1991 repeated the performance of 1990? The answer to this question turned out to be NO. There were only three no-hitters thrown in 2013: Henderson Alvarez for MIA against DET, Homer Bailey for CIN against SF, and Tim Lincecum for SF against SD.

Baseball’s family lost a great player and true gentleman with the passing of Stan Musial on January 19, 2013.

February was spent looking forward to the beginning of Spring Training. March was a special month for me. On March 26th and March 27th, I had the privilege of spending time with two special baseball people. One man is Rico Brogna, a former Major Leaguer; the other man is Father Gabriel Costa, a Chaplain and a professor of mathematics at the West Point Military Academy. Rico Brogna visited my baseball and statistics class at Quinnipiac University and presented a talk on Major League scouting. The next day I presented a talk on my baseball research to the cadets in Father Costa’s sabermetrics class at West Point.

New York witnessed the rare event of the Mets and Yankees opening the baseball season both at home at the same time on the same day. On April 1, 2013 the Mets beat the Padres and the Yankees lost to the Red Sox. On April 22, 2013, I spoke to an AP Statistics class at Amity High School. My talk was on how I used basic probability theory to develop a formula for predicting the probability of any player achieving various batting streaks including Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak.

In May it seemed possible that Miguel Cabrera would accomplish two great batting feats: repeating his Triple Crown of 2012 and batting .400 for a season. Cabrera wound up 2013 with a .348 BA to lead the league but finished second in RBIs and HRs to Chris Davis.

The All-Star game was held on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at Citi Field, the home of the Mets. As a Yankee fan, I really looked forward to seeing Mariano Rivera pitch in his last All-Star game. I also enjoyed watching the Mets young pitching sensation Matt Harvey attack one of the best hitting lineups ever in an All-Star game. The AL won 3-0. The All-Star game marked both the halfway point in the season and in my reflections. To be contined…

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