Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Key to the Season: Leo Mazzone

Continuing with my keys to the season series, let us turn to a man who doesn't even play for the Phillies. In fact, he's not even a player, but rather a coach: Leo Mazzone.

As most who follow the Braves and baseball in general know, Mazzone is the most highly regarded pitching coach in baseball. As most statheads know, J.C. Bradbury did a study measuring "The Mazzone Effect." If the study is accurate (and I've never seen any real questioning of it's accuracy), Mazzone alone accounts for 100 runs a year.

If Mazzone had not coached for the Braves in '05, they would have allowed 100 runs more during the season, which translates into 10 wins. They would have finished with 80 wins. If even one of those wins had been against the Phils, then we would have finished with 89 wins. If the Mazzone Effect is real, he was the one most responsible for keeping us out of the playoffs last year.

Mazzone has now moved to Baltimore. I cannot think of any single change by the Braves more devastating to their chances of continuing their incredible divisional championships run. Given the unbalanced schedule, we should pick up a game or two against the Braves just because of his departure. They should also fall a little bit, hopefully eliminating them from serious contention this year.

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