Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Luck Statistics

Over a 162 game season, everything averages out. Right? Well, I wonder. With both an imbalanced schedule and an asymmetrical one, how is the schedule fair to all teams? Let's compare the schedules of the Marlins and Mets. Since interleague play was introduced, each team's "rival" team (the other league's intra-metro or intra-state team they play six games against) is the Rays and Yankees respectively. Aside from last year, the Marlins have had probably a built-in two game advantage in only playing the hapless Rays as opposed to a near dynasty Yankees.

But other invisible things are real, and it would be interesting to see the following statistics. Like stats that show how hot or cold each opponent is when your team plays them. Say a team is good but they've had the bad luck of playing more of the teams - even the mediocre ones - while they were hot. Or in a slump. Maybe there could be a stat for winning percentage of opponents in the previous five games (or other number) before playing them.

Or what about stats that show how each team fares in facing other teams' starting rotations? The standard series in baseball is a three-game series, with some two- and some four-game series. But the standard rotation is a five-man rotation. Each team hits or misses the ace and second man in the rotation each series. What if some teams hit slightly more aces of other teams, and some teams fewer? How could this affect the final standings? Let's say the Mets hit the Yanks' aces each interleague series, while the Fish hit the bottom of the Rays' rotation each time, and the Marlins finished a game ahead of the Mets in the standings? Maybe the Mets hit the Nationals while in a slump three times, while the Marlins hit them while hot two times?

What if a World Series winner was just an above average team that had a bunch of breaks, or a great team hit a bunch of brick walls? Bill James, you out there?

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