Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Were The 1922 St. Louis Browns The 14th Best Team Since 1920?

Yesterday I mentioned that they have done very well in computer simulation seasons. I think that might be due to how well they performed statistically in real life. If the computer simulations don't include any situational adjustments (like performance with runners on base or in close and late situations), then a team's raw stats will dictate how well they do. Some teams have bad luck. They don't win as many games as their runs scored and runs allowed might suggest. And they might score fewer runs and give up more than their stats might predict. That might have happened to the Browns.

Ideally, we would rate all teams on their OBP & SLG, both by their hitters and what is allowed by their pitchers. But these data are not easily obtained going back so far in history. So I found each team's HRs, BBs, and non-HR hits per game for both their pitchers and hitters and then converted this to a differential. Then I came up with the following formula for winning percentage using regression analysis:

Pct = .5 + .071*NONHR + .047*BB + .157*HR

Then I calculated a predicted winning percentage for every team since 1920. The table below shows the top 25 in terms of predicted winning percentage. You can click on the table to see a bigger version. Not a surprise that the 1927 Yankees come out on top. The had an actual pct. of .714 but the predicted pct. is .744, so they fell .03 short of what the model says.

The 1931 Yankees did very well, coming in third. Yet they came in 2nd place, to the A's that year, about 13 games out! The 1931 A's are 31st according to the model. As you can also see, the 1922 Browns are 14th. The 1969-71 Orioles had 3 teams in the top 33. Now the teams with worst predicted percentages.

In case you are wondering where the 1962 Mets are, they get mentioned below. Now the teams that exceeded their predicted pct. the most. I suspect that these teams did especially well in clutch situations. I will have to look at their splits in Retrosheet (where available) to see if this is true.

Now the teams that underperformed the most. The 1962 Mets were the 2nd worst.

I will try to add some more discussion later when I get some time. Roger Godin told me that there was a book in written in 1950 by Tom Meany called Baseball's Greatest Teams and that the 1922 Browns were one of the ten teams discussed.

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