How The MLB Might Look if Pythagoras Ran the Show

In baseball, like all other sports, consistency is the name of the game. While it may be exciting for fans to watch their favorite team explode for 14 runs after scoring 1, 2, and 3 runs in the previous three games, it would probably have been better for the team record-wise to score 5 fiveruns in each game.

That being said, there have been a number of MLB teams so far this season that have an actual winning percentage which is a good deal better or worse than their Pythagorean winning percentage (a formula which calculates expected winning percentage based on runs scored and runs allowed). I chose to write about only a few of the more interesting teams in order to keep my effort level at a minimum.

To get a handle on how consistent the teams I picked were doing, I looked at the variance (standard deviation squared) of the runs they have scored and the runs they have allowed. There are probably other statistics one can look at to explain the question at hand, but I chose variance and the results I found were interesting enough for me to write them up.

AL East

New York Yankees

The Yankees' actual winning percentage is only .018 lower than its Pythagorean winning percentage, but it is always fun to write about the Yankees, whether it is to praise them or to bash them.

There does not seem to be a problem with the Yankees offense on the surface since they are averaging 5.8 runs per game, highest among the teams I looked at. Their ability to prevent runs is also fairly good as evidenced by the Yankees allowing an average of 4.8 runs per game.

However, the Yankees offense has a variance of 13.6, which is second highest among the teams I looked at. This variance indicates that there are some games where the Yankees will explode for a large number of runs and other games where they can barely scrape together any runs. While the Yankees have a high margin for error since they average +1 run per game, if their offense had been more consistent, they would right now be leading the AL East instead of being two games back of the lead.

Article tags

Spread the word

Article Author: David Barbour

David Barbour wastes his time by following sports and wastes your time by writing about them. He hopes evidence is uncovered that Babe Ruth took steroids so the love affair with him will cease and desist.

Read comments on this article, and add some feedback of your own

Article comments

• 1 - Matthew T. Sussman

Jun 21, 2006 at 10:59 pm

The Pirates are the surprising one there. Their expected win-loss is higher than that of the almost .500 Brewers. Think about that one.

• 2 - David Barbour

Jun 22, 2006 at 10:27 am

I probably should have said if the St. Louis Cardinals ability to prevent runs stays consistent, they will continue to outperform their run differential.

• 3 - David Barbour

Jun 22, 2006 at 11:18 am

The Brewers have a run differential that should put them at a .432 winning percentage, but their actual one is at .493.

So far, the Brewers have been helped by being more inconsistent than the Pittsburgh Pirates (runs scored variance of 8.9, runs allowed variance of 13.1). As I mentioned earlier, inconsistency bring a below .500 team closer to .500 and the Brewers have shown that so far with their inconsistent defense.

Add your comment, speak your mind

Personal attacks are NOT allowed.
Please read our comment policy.
Please preview your comment.

by

by

by