Anybody who has read this blog for a while knows that I don’t rely too heavily on stats. I’m into traditional stats and like to read about stats and sabermetrics and the like but I think people these days tend to over analyze things based on stats. So it was kind of odd for me to be reading Dayn Perry’s “Winners: How Good Baseball Teams Become Great Ones (And It’s Not the Way You Think)”. This is an excellent book that does a statistical analysis of winning teams since the early 1980s and, based on the results, concludes what qualities it takes to be a winning team.
One of the stats touched upon very late in the book is a Bill James creation called Pythagorean Method. (It takes it’s name from geometry’s Pythagorean Theorem since it’s notation is similar.) This method attempts to predict a teams winning percentage based on the runs they score and the runs they allow. The formula for this stat is as follows:
Runs Scored2/(Runs Scored2+Runs Allowed2)= Winning Pct.
I was curious to see how this stat played itself out in reality so I did a quick analysis of the Mets, Phillies and Braves to see how they were doing based on this statistic. The results are as follows:
W L Pct. Mets 343 275 .609 41 23 .641 Phillies 324 326 .497 33 32 .508 Braves 330 347 .475 30 36 .455
The theory goes that if a teams actual win percentage is above their Pythagorean win percentage then they are playing above expectations. If it’s below then thay are playing under their expectations. So, according to this, the Mets are playing above expectations, the Braves are playing below expectations and the Phillies are playing close to expected (but slightly below). That would mean that according to Pythagorean Method this race will tighten up a bit. It’ll be interesting to see how Pythagorean Method predicts what will happen.
Just for fun I plugged the Yankees into this formula and compared to the Mets.
W L Pct. Mets 343 275 .609 41 23 .641 Yankees 366 294 .608 37 26 .587
According to this the Mets and Yankees should have identical records but the Yankees have been under performing. Interesting. Stay tuned.