baseball’s best team will not win the World Series
Examine the team run differential for each League Division Series in 2011:
- eleven runs (5 games)
- five (4)
- two (5)
- two (5)
Do you know which team outscored their opponent by 11 runs? It’s the regular season MLB champion New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers had a 1.4 Simple Rating System (courtesy Baseball-Reference), i.e. they were 1.4 runs/game better than the average ML team from April-Sept (Texas was 2nd with a 1.2 Rating).
Alas, it was the Tigers who advanced to the ALCS thanks to “Da Meat Hook’s” little brother. Delmon posted a .789 SLG% & 0.3 Win Probability Added in 21 trips to the plate over 5 games against New York.
The 3 other LDS were closer but a statistical oddity jumps out of the composite box scores. Here are the losing teams run differential in the first round:
Each team who advanced to the LCS was outscored by their counterpart in the opening round. Also, the Yankees, Rays and D’Backs had higher BA, OBP & SLG% than their opponents. All 4 losing teams had lower ERA’s than the series winners.
Five games does not a conclusion make, but neither does 19 games in October. Regardless of who is crowned World Series champion, give them credit for winning 11 games in 4 weeks over high quality opponents but know they are not the best team in baseball.