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Just The Sports: MLB Parity

Just The Sports

Sunday, June 25, 2006

MLB Parity

With the All-Star Break approaching and my obsession with parity in sport, here is a look at which divisions in baseball have the most amount of parity and also the least amount. To arrive at these conclusions, I looked at the Pythagorean winning percentages of the teams and then looked at the standard deviations of the divisions to see how closely the teams were closely grouped around each other. The reason I did it from the Pythagorean winning percentage and not the actual winning percentage is because a team's actual winning percentage is not always a reliable indicator for how the team will do in the near future. Just ask the Colorado Rockies about that.

Say what you will about the National League, but it has more parity than the American League. Overall, the National League has three of the four divisions with the most parity.

The division with the most parity is the AL West (standard deviation of 0.027) probably because it is the only division with four teams and does not have to worry about a bottom-feeding team to make the standard deviation higher. Also, no team in the division has particularly distinguished itself in run differential.

There should be no surprise as to the division with the least amount of parity. It is the AL Central with a standard deviation 0.123. This is a direct result from the dubious distinction of having the best team in the major leagues (Detroit Tigers) right now and the worst team in the major leagues (Kansas City Royals) for right now and the rest of their 162-game season.

For the purposes of investigating parity, I did not only want to look at the standard deviations of the whole division, but also the standard deviations of the top three teams in each division.

Again, the AL West leads the way with 0.011 and this time it cannot be said to be because of having the least amount of teams. This really is a tight division.

Oddly, under the new criterion, the AL East, which had the second least amount of parity when considering the whole division (0.076) shoots up to having the second most parity among its top three teams (0.023).

Conversely, the NL East, which had the fourth most parity now has the least amount of parity (0.070), demonstrating again just how much of a hold the Mets have over the division.

So there it is, your look at parity through June 25.


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