Friday, May 13, 2011

Beyond the Boxscore

Another announcement! Thanks to Justin Bopp and the crew at Beyond the Boxscore, I will be regularly contributing over there. So far, I have only re-posted my look at when the standings matter, but should begin adding new material next week. As such, my ground-breaking posts (/sarcasm) here will diminish in order to publish to a wider audience at BtB. I will post links to my stories here and will probably post new things here that don't fit into the stories over there. I'm excited for the new opportunity and hopefully I take full advantage of it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When Do the Standings Matter?

Vin Scully likes to repeat a quote from a well-known former Major League manager, "Give me 50 games and I'll know what kind of team I have." I don't remember who said it, or what the exact quote is, but that's the gist of it. Just for reference, 50 games into the MLB season usually lands around the end of May. I wanted to test this out and see how quickly we know how good a team actually is, so I did what any regular baseball fan would do: I went to and grabbed the record at the end of each month for every team since 1998 (expansion). Then, I looked at the end of month winning percentage and compared it to the end of season win total, using a linear regression. I also split each month up into bins of team winning percentage. Each bin contains about 65 teams.

Teams are all over the place at the end of April. Sure, the 43-119 2003 Tigers looked terrible, but so did the 102-60 2001 Oakland Athletics (end of April WP of .320). There is a definite pattern, but not enough to say who is good or bad with any certainty.