Friday, July 7, 2006

Winning Baseball? What!?!?

With the All Star break approaching, I thought I’d take a quick look at the improvement our lovable Royals have made.

To do this, I’m going to take a look at the Pythagorean Record of the team, which is based on runs scored and runs allowed. (For a further explanation of the formula, please click here and here.)

For those so interested, I’m using the ^1.83 model.

Currently, the team’s pythag winning percentage is 37%, which puts them on pace for just over 100 losses this season.

However, on a month by month basis, the boys in blue have made incredible strides towards becoming a respectable team.

Month  Pyth %
April 28%
May 29%
June 46%
July 59%
July’s results are of a negligible sample size, but the improvement for the month of June is certainly encouraging. That’s a 75-87 team over the course of the season, which is far from fantastic, but much closer to the league-average expectations many of us had heading into the season.

The chart below shows the winning percentage as a ten game rolling average.

Man, did April and May suck.

A 4-0 loss to the White Sox on April 19th had the Royals looking at a 14% winning percentage over the previous ten games. That’s a 23-win season. That’s beyond bad.

Luckily, the schedule requires teams to actually play the rest of their games. By May 2nd, the team seemed to have turned things around, posting a ten game pythag percentage of 43% despite losing to Detroit 4-1.

This being the Royals, though, they promptly lost 14 of their next 18 games and hit another low point on May 23, playing like a 30-132 team (18%) and losing to Detroit 8-5.

Thankfully, all has not been lost. From that point forward, we have seen a steady climb to mediocrity with a high point of a 65% pythag record over a ten game stretch from June 16th through the 27th (capped off by a 9-8 victory at Cincinnati).

Heading into the All-Star break, the Royals have managed to impersonate an above average major league baseball team. Over the last 30 games, the numbers say the Royals should be winning 53% of the time. That’s an 86-76 ball club only needing a few more pieces to contend.

That’s a team that’s fun to root for.

Enjoy Pittsburgh, Mark Redman.

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