Sunday, April 08, 2007

Last Year's One Run Anomalies

Statistics suggest that as a rule, over the course of the season teams will go .500 in games decided by one run. Every year however there are some teams that (either due to luck or perhaps an absurdly bad/good bullpen) tend to dramatically overperform or underperform in that category. For example, the Washington Nationals in their first year led their division for almost half a season, and this was largely due to a ridiculously fortunate record in one-run games. As the season progressed, their numbers regressed to the mean (ending at 30-31 in 1-R games) and they returned to the bottom of the division.

So, here are teams that last year in 2006 had a record well above or below .500 in one-run situations. While not a guarantee, keep an eye on them because they may very well win more or less if their 2007 1-R outcomes come back to earth.

Overperformers:

Toronto 20-10 (0.667)
Boston 29-20 (0.592)
Minnesota 20-11 (0.645)
Oakland 32-22 (0.593)
NY Mets 31-16 (0.66)

Underperformers:

Cleveland 18-26 (0.409)
Kanasa City 14-24 (0.368)
Texas 17-26 (0.395)
Atlanta 19-33 (0.365)

Where these results might be felt the most this season is in the NL East. Both the Braves and the Mets had two of the biggest 1-R disparities last season. If both come back to the mean this season, and considering the Phillies were right around 0.500 last year, we may have quite the divisional race on our hands. The 1-R factor may also come into play in the AL wild card race this season, where many potential playoff teams had aberrational 1-R records.

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4 Comments:

Blogger sabesin2001 said...

did the 2005 nationals exist solely for illustrating the randomness of 1-run game outcomes?

2:13 AM  
Blogger Jumpkin said...

Do you know how many 1-run saves Papelbon was involved in for the Sox last year/does that explain some of the overperforming in close situations?

2:37 PM  
Blogger ben said...

I'm having a real hard time finding a resource tracking closer performance, including stuff like what Jumpkin said. John do you know of anything?

5:08 PM  
Blogger sabesin2001 said...

it's a good question because it seemed like we suddenly became good at winning 1 run games as soon as paps became closer. but really having a dominating closer does not seem to help your 1 run win rate, when looking at lots of data and other teams.

anecdotally i remember lots of games where francona managed us into a corner and turned games into close games, and we also had about a half dozen unlikely comebacks to win by 1 run.

statistically i think last year was just regression to the .500 mean since the red sox have been awful in 1 run games for the last 5-10 years for the most part.

back to the papelbon question, if we could do some kind of real reliever analysis we could quantitatively figure out whether he really is most needed in the pen or rotation, for this year, and more importantly for his entire career. i'm heavily swayed already to think he'd be much more useful as a top 15 in the AL type starter than the best reliever in the AL. and that would change if we were able to use him consistently in situations such as last nights'.

8:11 PM  

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