Sunday, November 2, 2014

Should The 1927 Yankees Have Won Even More than 110 Games? Like 118?

I recently estimated that their winning percentage could have been around .770 based on their OPS differential. They had a .872 OPS while allowing a .676 OPS, for a differential of .196, easily the highest since 1914. See The Statistical Dominance Of The 1927 Yankees.

A .770 pct would give them 118.5 wins in a 154 game season.

One reason that they did not win more is that they may have scored fewer runs than expected based on their OBP and SLG. Here is the regression generated equation for runs per game during the 1920s for all teams:

R/G = 11.29*SLG + 18.04*OBP - 5.92

The Yanks had a .489 SLG and a .384 OBP. That predicts 6.53 runs per game while they actually had 6.29. Over the whole season, that is about 37 runs fewer than expected. Out of the 160 teams in the decade, the 27 Yanks were 10th in underscoring.

So maybe that accounts for about 3.7 wins. That still leaves about 4.8 wins.

But why did they not score more runs? They stole 90 bases, just a bit below the league average of 99. Their success rate was 58.4%, just a bit below the league average of 60.7%. This probably does not matter much.

Maybe they had too many sacrifice bunts. They had 107 according to Retrosheet. But the other 7 teams averaged 148. So I doubt they lost alot of big innings bunting too much.

Their pitchers allowed an SLG of .356 and an OBP of .320. The regression equation for runs allowed was:

R/G = 11.25*SLG + 18.68*OBP - 6.12

That predicts they would allow about 3.86 runs per game, their actual total. So they did not win fewer games than expected due to the pitchers giving up more runs than expected.

Here are the splits for the Yankee hitters and pitchers followed by the league splits. Nothing jumps out as to why they won fewer games than expected. Maybe that they did not hit better with runners or on with RISP like the league generally did. That might account for them not scoring as many runs as expected.

I don't see anything in their close and late performance that explains anything. It even looks like their pitchers did a very good job then compared to what the league did.

They were also 24-19 in 1-run games for a .558 pct. That means they were .775 in all other games.  (if they had done as well in 1-run games as they did at other times it would mean 9 more wins)

Situation-Hit AVG OBP SLG
Total 0.307 0.384 0.489
None On 0.307 0.380 0.487
Men On 0.308 0.376 0.492
RISP 0.301 0.376 0.479
Close & Late 0.287 0.370 0.460

Situation-Pit AVG OBP SLG
Total 0.265 0.320 0.356
None On 0.257 0.312 0.342
Men On 0.275 0.321 0.374
RISP 0.264 0.320 0.356
Close & Late 0.224 0.275 0.288

Situation-Lg AVG OBP SLG
Total 0.286 0.352 0.399
None On 0.276 0.342 0.387
Men On 0.298 0.352 0.413
RISP 0.292 0.353 0.407
Close & Late 0.266 0.332 0.365

The Yankee pitchers had an AVG allowed when it was close and late 41 points below their total AVG allowed. The league as a whole had 20 points. It seems like they would have done well in 1-run games because of that. Their hitters did about what you would expect in close and late situations when you look at the league stats.

So the fewer runs scored explains a good chunk of the missing wins, but it is not clear what explains the rest.

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