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Article:A Closer Look At The MLB Standings

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Pythagorean record is a fun little statistic. In layman terms, it adjusts a teams record based on overall run differential (Runs Scored – Runs Allowed.) In theory it’s the most accurate way to team’s performance. If a team wins a lot of one run games (like the 2007 D-Backs) their actual record would be significantly better than there Pythagorean record. Now is Pythagorean record an absolute measure? Of course not, for example take the 2008 Yankees, if A-Rod and Posoda were healthy all year it would be safe to assume that the Yankees would have scored more runs (in turn their run differential would have been greater and therefore their Pythagorean record would have been more favorable.)

What Pythagorean record is good for is analyzing if a teams hot start or cold start is fluky. Take the 2008 Marlins at 37-32 however, they have allowed two more runs (339) than they have scored (337.) Their Pythagorean record would be 34-35. The Marlins start is somewhat fluky and they will most likely finishing closer to 80 wins than 90.

And with that let’s go to the judges scorecards.

AL East:

|

Team

|

Record

|

Runs Scored

|

Runs Allowed

|

Run Differential

|

Pythagorean Record

|

|

Boston

|

44-28

|

371

|

301

|

+71

|

43-29

|

|

Tampa

|

40-29

|

313

|

288

|

+25

|

37-32

|

|

New York Yankees

|

37-33

|

327

|

315

|

+12

|

36-34

|

|

Baltimore

|

34-34

|

298

|

314

|

-16

|

32-36

|

|

Toronto

|

35-36

|

286

|

267

|

+19

|

38-33

|

What does this tell us? Well, Boston is pretty damn good. The Rays (unlike their Florida counterpart) are legit. Whether they have the experience and chutzpah to make a playoff run is yet to be determined. Baltimore will finish well short of .500 but did anyone really expect them to be a winning team this year? Toronto is the big surprise. They have some interesting numbers, their hitting has been terrible but their pitching has been sick. They have played most of the year without a resurgent Vernon Wells so you could expect them to bounce back, according to Pythagorean record Toronto is second in the division and current in the playoffs as a Wild Card team.

And then we have the Yankees. As mentioned earlier there Runs Scored would certainly be higher had A-Rod and Jorge stayed healthy. Their pitching was adversely affected by Hughes and Kennedy but has gotten a lift from Joba. Going forward their hard team to project, they should keep scoring runs in bunches but it remains to be seen if they have the pitching to match (especially in light of Wang’s injury.)

AL Central:

|

Team

|

Record

|

Run Scored

|

Runs Allowed

|

Run Differential

|

Pythagorean Record

|

|

Chicago Sox

|

38-31

|

316

|

256

|

+60

|

41-28

|

|

Minnesota

|

34-36

|

325

|

355

|

-30

|

32-38

|

|

Cleveland

|

33-37

|

320

|

298

|

+22

|

37-32

|

|

Detroit

|

32-37

|

328

|

337

|

-9

|

34-36

|

|

Kansas City

|

28-42

|

273

|

331

|

-58

|

29-42

|

Chicago has been pretty solid. There pitching has been very good and if their struggling bats come to life (Konerko/Swisher) they could be a force. Minnesota and Kansas City have been pretty bad, but both are in rebuilding years. Detroit is the biggest disappointment in baseball and there doesn’t seem to be light at the end of the tunnel.

Cleveland is the interesting team in the division. There Pythagorean difference of 4.3 games is one of the greatest in all of baseball. A rash of injuries (Westbrook, Carmona, Hafner and Martinez) could be the culprit for this difference. Also of note is the incredible slow start that ace C.C. Sabathia had. Is it any wonder why Mark Shapiro hasn’t decided to be a “seller” yet?

AL West:

|

Team

|

Record

|

Runs Scored

|

Runs Allowed

|

Run Differential

|

Pythagorean Record

|

|

LA Angles

|

42-28

|

292

|

291

|

­+1

|

35-35

|

|

Oakland

|

38-31

|

307

|

252

|

+55

|

41-25

|

|

Texas

|

35-36

|

394

|

414

|

-20

|

33-37

|

|

Seattle

|

24-45

|

269

|

341

|

-72

|

27-42

|

This one was surprising. The Angles only have a Run Differential of +1. The Angles are the polar opposite of the Indians. The Angles (6.9 Pythagorean differential) have been the “luckiest” team in baseball. The A’s on the other hand have outperformed there record by three games.

In a Pythagorean world the A’s would have a six game lead over the L.A. Angles.

Texas’s statistics are inflated by their ball park. They have the offense now they need pitching to match. Seattle is terrible. They are about to clean house.

NL East:

|

Team

|

Record

|

Runs Scored

|

Runs Allowed

|

Run Differential

|

Pythagorean Record

|

|

Philadelphia

|

41-30

|

381

|

291

|

+90

|

44-27

|

|

Florida

|

37-32

|

337

|

339

|

-2

|

34-35

|

|

Atlanta

|

34-36

|

321

|

282

|

+39

|

39-31

|

|

NY Mets

|

33-35

|

322

|

216

|

+6

|

35-33

|

|

Washington

|

29-42

|

266

|

343

|

-77

|

27-44

|

Philly is as good as advertised. As long as Cole Hamels stays healthy they should run away with the division. The Braves record gets a boost, however with Smoltz and Glvaine on the DL it might be difficult for them to keep winning. Also Chipper Jones is bound to slow down at some point…right?

The Marlins we already went over, the Nationals are terrible without any end in sight.

The Mets are a giant turd. While there Pythagorean record puts them two games over .500 they still find themselves in third place. Heads are about to roll in flushing and unfortunately Willy Randolph is (undeservingly) the sacrificial lamb.

NL Central:

|

Team

|

Record

|

RS

|

RA

|

RD

|

Pythagorean Record

|

|

Chicago Cubs

|

45-25

|

387

|

279

|

+108

|

45-25

|

|

St. Louis

|

42-29

|

334

|

310

|

+24

|

38-33

|

|

Milwaukee

|

36-33

|

308

|

321

|

-13

|

33-36

|

|

Pittsburg

|

34-36

|

343

|

366

|

-23

|

33-37

|

|

Houston

|

33-37

|

311

|

345

|

-34

|

32-39

|

|

Cincinnati

|

33-38

|

314

|

352

|

-38

|

32-40

|

The Cubs have the best record in baseball and their run differential backs that up. They have a deep bullpen, solid pitching and a wonderfully patient approach to hitting.

Milwaukee, Pitt, Houston and Cincinnati are all not very good. Houston’s run differential predicted their recent slide. Pittsburg interestingly enough has scored 343 runs which are 3 rd in the NL.

I think Cincinnati is building something special. They have a young offense (Votto, Bruce, and Phillips) and pitching (Vasquez, Cueto, and Bailey.)

St. Louis to me is an enigma. So many players are playing out of their skull (Ryan Ludwik anyone?) With Pujols and Wainright out it’s hard to imagine they will stay in contention.

NL West:

|

Team

|

Record

|

RS

|

RA

|

RD

|

Pythagorean Record

|

|

Arizona

|

37-33

|

330

|

304

|

+26

|

38-32

|

|

LA Dodgers

|

31-38

|

292

|

297

|

-5

|

34-35

|

|

San Diego

|

31-40

|

269

|

324

|

-55

|

30-42

|

|

San Francisco

|

30-40

|

281

|

322

|

-41

|

31-40

|

|

Colorado

|

28-41

|

291

|

355

|

-64

|

28-41

|

Arizona has slowed down, good thing their division is awful.

It wouldn’t shock me to see the Dodgers make a run at the division crown.

The Giants need to rebuild and Colorado’s postseason run of last year seems like an aberration.


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