### Looking Behind MLB Teams' Records

Partially in response to a commenter and partially because I never explained my reasoning earlier, I want to defend my use of variance as a way to explain why a team's record is what it is given their run differntial. For all of the accuracy the Pythagorean winning percentage formula gives in predicting a team's record, it is by no means a perfect measure. The flaw in the Pythagenport formula is that it is only concerned with the difference between runs scored and runs allowed. It does not care how the teams scores and gives up runs and that is why the formula can be and has been tricked by numerous teams.

One example of how the Pythagenport formula can be fooled is by the team whose wins are blowouts and whose losses are in close games. This team will have a very favorable run differential that the formula will love and will reward the team with a higher winning percentage than the team will actually end up with. Vice versa, the team whose wins are in close contests and whose losses are of the blowout variety will not be looked upon favorably by the Pythagenport formula because this team will have a low run differential when they are not as bad as their run differential suggests.

Variance, standard deviation squared, is also not something which can be presented in a vacuum and that is where I made my mistake. Variance is good for telling you how inconsistent a team is in scoring or allowing points, but variance is not something that can be compared uniformly across the board because each team has a different margin for error. What I call margin of error is actually a team's average run differential (differential between average runs scored and average runs allowed) and displays how inconsistent a team can be without it hurting too much. A team with a high postive average run differential can afford to be more inconsistent than a team with a zero net average run differential can.

In order to provide a comprehensive look behind each MLB team's first half records, I included every team's actual winning percentage, Pythagorean winning percentage, average runs scored, average runs allowed, offensive variance, defensive variance, average margin of victory, and average margin of defeat. I also included each team's win-loss record in 1-run contests because that usually evens out to .500 over the course of the season so a team that is doing really well in the first half will usually find themselves doing really poorly in the same 1-run games in the second half. Even so, there will be some teams for which these stats will not paint a clear picture for why a team is doing well or poorly.

Since I am looking at every team in the major leagues, you may just want to find the team or teams you are most interested in and read what the numbers say about them. Teams will be compared to each other within the same division.

Actual Winning Percentage: .616 (53-33)

Expected Winning Percentage: .574 (49-37)

Average Runs Scored: 5.7

Average Runs Allowed: 4.8

Offensive Variance: 10.1

Defensive Variance: 8.0

Average Victory Margin: 3.7

Average Defeat Margin: 3.7

1-Run Win Loss Record: 13-6

Looking at the numbers, it is easy to tell why the Red Sox have outperformed their expected winning percentage. Couple their consistency with their high positive average run differential and you will usually get a team that is going to outperform their expected winning percentage. The Red Sox are also consistent in terms of their average victory and defeat margins.

Where they have been helped out so far is their win-loss record in 1-run games. This record will probably not repeat itself in the second half.

Actual Winning Percentage: .581 (50-36)

Expected Winning Percentage: .575 (49-37)

Average Runs Scored: 5.6

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 14.3

Defensive Variance: 11.5

Average Victory Margin: 4.0

Average Defeat Margin: 3.5

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 14-12

The Yankees actual record is marginally better than their expected winning percentage, but compared to the Red Sox, who they are chasing for the AL East lead, they are not doing so well. They have the same average run differential as the Red Sox, but they have been much more inconsistent, having higher offensive and defensive variances.

How they will rectify their inconsistency is up for debate. Either a good hitter or a good pitcher will do just like it would do for every team in the major leagues.

Actual Winning Percentage: .557 (49-39)

Expected Winning Percentage: .540 (48-38)

Average Runs Scored: 5.4

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 8.8

Defensive Variance: 9.3

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-run Win-Loss Record: 7-2

Toronto sports the most consistent good team in the AL East. If they could manage a higher average run differential and a higher actual run differential, then they would lead the AL East division. However, that is easier said than done and the Blue Jays will probably finish third in this division.

Their consistency has really helped them outperform their expected winning percentage along with their 1-run win-loss record of 7-2.

Actual Winning Percentage: .456 (41-49)

Expected Winning Percentage: .437 (39-51)

Average Runs Scored: 4.8

Average Runs Allowed: 5.6

Offensive Variance: 12.0

Defensive Variance: 9.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.4

Average Defeat Margin: 4.1

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 12-7

Baltimore is outperforming their winning percentage for two reasons. The first is because of their inconsistency. It may sound counterintuitive, but inconsistency for an under-.500 team actually helps the team because inconsistency brings teams closer to .500. In this case, inconsistency is bringing Baltimore up to .500 level.

Also, as I alluded to earlier, that there is such a disparity between their average victory and defeat margins (in favor of defeat margin), it has helped the Orioles do better than their run differential suggests.

Actual Winning Percentage: .438 (39-50)

Expected Winning Percentage: .420 (37-52)

Average Runs Scored: 4.3

Average Runs Allowed: 5.1

Offensive Variance: 6.7

Defensive Variance: 10.8

Average Victory Margin: 2.9

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 10-9

Conceivably, the Devil Rays should be doing better in outperforming their expected winning percentage than Baltimore is doing at outperforming theirs. They are getting more blown out in their losses as compared to their winning close games than Baltimore is, but the problem with the Devil Rays is their consistency. If they were less consistent, then they would probably be closer to .500 then their actual winning percentage.

Actual Winning Percentage: .670 (59-29)

Expected Winning Percentage: .645 (57-31)

Average Runs Scored: 5.2

Average Runs Allowed: 3.7

Offensive Variance: 12.0

Defensive Variance: 8.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 3.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 15-10

Do not be tricked by the high offensive variance the Tigers have because this is no mere mortal team. With the amazingly high positive average run differential of 1.5, they are very consistent in comparison to other teams because how much variance affects a team is relative. If they were not winning a large number of their games in blowouts, they would probably be outperforming their expected winning percentage even more.

Actual Winning Percentage: .648 (57-31)

Expected Winning Percentage: .602 (53-35)

Average Runs Scored: 5.9

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 12.4

Defensive Variance: 11.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.9

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 15-10

The White Sox do not have as high a positive average run differential as the Detroit Tigers, are less consistent, but they are still outperforming their expected winning percentage to a greater degree. Why is that, you ask? The answer: because their average victory and defeat margins are basically the same while being consistent enough given their average run differential.

Actual Winning Percentage: .547 (47-39)

Expected Winning Percentage: .529 (45-41)

Average Runs Scored: 4.9

Average Runs Allowed: 4.6

Offensive Variance: 11.2

Defensive Variance: 10.7

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 3.9

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 11-5

The Minnesota Twins are largely doing better than expected based on their 11-5 record in games decided by one run. They are certainly not overly consistent given such a low margin of error. Look for this team to struggle repeating their success in 1-run contests in the second half of the season.

Actual Winning Percentage: .460 (40-47)

Expected Winning Percentage: .544 (47-40)

Average Runs Scored: 5.7

Average Runs Allowed: 5.0

Offensive Variance: 15.0

Defensive Variance: 14.3

Average Victory Margin: 5.3

Average Defeat Margin: 3.6

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 7-13

There is no nice way to put this; the Cleveland Indians are a trainwreck in every way. They are the most inconsistent team in the major leagues and they also have the highest run differential between average victory margin and average defeat margin. Combine those things with a horrible win-loss record and you can understand why their actual winning percentage is .084 lower than their expected winning percentage.

Something that bears mentioning is that when a team has more than their fair share of one run losses, it skews the results of their average victory and average defeat margins. Even when taking that into account, Cleveland still gets too many wins in blowouts to go by their expected winning percentage. Losing in closer contests than you win in is a sign of a poor bullpen.

Actual Winning Percentage: .356 (31-56)

Expected Winning Percentage: .371 (32-55)

Average Runs Scored: 4.5

Average Runs Allowed: 6.1

Offensive Variance: 11.6

Defensive Variance: 10.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.1

Average Defeat Margin: 4.1

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 10-12

It is no secret that the Royals are the worst team in the majors. Everyone knows it. Even people who don't follow baseball know it. The only reason I even computed their statistics is because I promised to look at every major league team.

By the way, their -1.6 average run differential is the lowest in the majors. No surprise there.

Actual Winning Percentage: .511 (45-43)

Expected Winning Percentage: .522 (46-44)

Average Runs Scored: 5.1

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 9.3

Defensive Variance: 10.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.4

Average Defeat Margin: 3.0

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 8-16

The Rangers are only doing marginally worse than their expected winning percentage, but that extra game would give them the lead in the AL West division. So far, they have been the second most consistent team in this division and have the highest average run differential. Their undoing has been their abysmal record in 1-run contests, which I am sure will even itself out in the second half.

Actual Winning Percentage: .511 (45-43)

Expected Winning Percentage: .483 (43-45)

Average Runs Scored: 4.3

Average Runs Allowed: 4.5

Offensive Variance: 7.8

Defensive Variance: 8.9

Average Victory Margin: 2.9

Average Defeat Margin: 3.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 17-15

The Oakland Athletics have done everything right besides actually outscoring their opponents on a consistent basis. They have needed every bit of their consistency because they have absolutely no margin for error at all. This team has also been helped out by the fact they are more likely to win a close contest and lose a game by a higher number of runs.

Actual Winning Percentage: .489 (43-45)

Expected Winning Percentage: .490 (43-45)

Average Runs Scored: 4.6

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 10.0

Defensive Variance: 12.2

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 11-13

Since the Angels are performing the same as expected, there is no reason to devote much time to what they have done on the field. So I won't.

Actual Winning Percentage: .483 (43-46)

Expected Winning Percentage: .505 (45-44)

Average Runs Scored: 4.8

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 11.6

Defensive Variance: 9.9

Average Victory Margin: 3.5

Average Defeat Margin: 3.2

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 8-12

The Mariners have the other positive average run differential in the AL West, but unfortunately for them, they do not have the consistency of the Texas Rangers so they are unable to overcome their 8-12 record in 1-run games.

What all those 1-run contests have done is to drive down the average defeat margin and give the Mariners more credit than they deserve.

Actual Winning Percentage: .596 (53-36)

Expected Winning Percentage: .572 (51-38)

Average Runs Scored: 5.3

Average Runs Allowed: 4.5

Offensive Variance: 11.3

Defensive Variance: 9.2

Average Victory Margin: 3.6

Average Defeat Margin: 3.4

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 20-9

The Mets have been a good team so far this season, but they have in no way been spectacular. They have been fairly consistent relative to their average run differential, but they have been extremely lucky in games decided by one run, having the highest winning percentage in the majors in those types of games. Too bad it is not success which is likely to last.

Actual Winning Percentage: .460 (40-47)

Expected Winning Percentage: .464 (40-47)

Average Runs Scored: 4.8

Average Runs Allowed: 5.2

Offensive Variance: 6.8

Defensive Variance: 8.8

Average Victory Margin: 3.0

Average Defeat Margin: 3.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 9-15

A mass of contradictions surrounds this Phillies team. They are doing as well as expected, but the way they have gotten there is odd. Their high level of consistency has no doubt taken their record down because they are already a below .500 team to begin with. But losing worse than they win has brought their record back up, only to have it taken down again by a poor win-loss record in 1-run games.

Actual Winning Percentage: .449 (40-49)

Expected Winning Percentage: .491 (44-45)

Average Runs Scored: 4.9

Average Runs Allowed: 5.0

Offensive Variance: 10.4

Defensive Variance: 10.7

Average Victory Margin: 3.4

Average Defeat Margin: 2.9

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 12-21

Atlanta's frittering away of their run differential can be directly attributed to the disparity between their average victory and average defeat margins. Their 1-run win-loss records in no way has helped them, either.

Actual Winning Percentage: .442 (38-48)

Expected Winning Percentage: .488 (42-46)

Average Runs Scored: 4.8

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 11.2

Defensive Variance: 11.3

Average Victory Margin: 4.1

Average Defeat Margin: 3.5

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 9-18

See: Atlanta Braves

Actual Winning Percentage: .422 (38-52)

Expected Winning Percentage: .435 (39-51)

Average Runs Scored: 4.5

Average Runs Allowed: 5.2

Offensive Variance: 9.4

Defensive Variance: 11.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.5

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 9-14

Here is another example of why it is not always advisable for a team to be consistent. The Nationals are just as consistent as the Mets, but when you are already worse than your opponent, it does you no good to be consistent and perform the way you always perform because it will result in you being worse than you could be.

With a higher average defeat margin, you would expect the team to do better than their expected winning percentage, not worse. Such is the case with the Washington Nationals. Their 1-run win-loss record provides the key for this unexpected turn.

Actual Winning Percentage: .552 (48-39)

Expected Winning Percentage: .516 (45-42)

Average Runs Scored: 5.1

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 7.8

Defensive Variance: 11.5

Average Victory Margin: 3.3

Average Defeat Margin: 3.6

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 13-13

This team should consider themselves very lucky to be in the NL Central, probably the worst division in MLB this season. To the Cardinals' credit, though, they have been the most consistent team in baseball, which has helped them outperform their expected winning percentage. Also, providing aid to the Cardinals in their attempt to circumvent their unimpressive run differential is that they lose worse than they win.

Actual Winning Percentage: .506 (45-44)

Expected Winning Percentage: .485 (43-46)

Average Runs Scored: 5.0

Average Runs Allowed: 5.2

Offensive Variance: 11.1

Defensive Variance: 10.5

Average Victory Margin: 3.4

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 16-11

As has been the case for many of the teams in the majors, the Reds are helped by a higher average defeat margin than average victory margin and also having a fairly good record in 1-run games.

Actual Winning Percentage: .489 (44-46)

Expected Winning Percentage: .425 (38-52)

Average Runs Scored: 4.6

Average Runs Allowed: 5.4

Offensive Variance: 8.5

Defensive Variance: 12.4

Average Victory Margin: 2.8

Average Defeat Margin: 4.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 19-10

Once again, we have an example of a team outperforming their expected winning percentage based on a higher average defeat margin and a good record in 1-run contests. Maybe a lot of this is attributable to luck, but if that is the case, then a lot of teams have been getting lucky in the first half of the season.

For the Brewers, however, who have the highest differential in the majors between average defeat margin and average victory margin, the expected winning percentage can be thrown out of the window in lieu of these other statistics.

Actual Winning Percentage: .483 (43-46)

Expected Winning Percentage: .471 (42-47)

Average Runs Scored: 4.6

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 9.2

Defensive Variance: 11.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.5

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 15-9

I am in danger of sounding like a broken record, but the Houstron Astros have slightly bettered their expected winning percentage by having an average defeat margin slightly higher than their average victory margin coupled with a 15-9 1-run record.

Actual Winning Percentage: .386 (34-54)

Expected Winning Percentage: .394 (35-53)

Average Runs Scored: 4.0

Average Runs Allowed: 5.1

Offensive Variance: 11.5

Defensive Variance: 10.9

Average Victory Margin: 3.7

Average Defeat Margin: 4.1

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 6-14

Looking solely at Chicago's average defeat and average victory margins, you would think the Cubs would be outperforming their expected winning percentage like the Cincinnati Reds, but that is not the case. Why is that? Well, having a higher average defeat margin only helps a team when the team also does well in games decided by a single run. Since Chicago has only gone 6-14 in such contests, any advantage they had was canceled out, leaving them where they started.

Actual Winning Percentage: .333 (30-60)

Expected Winning Percentage: .438 (39-51)

Average Runs Scored: 4.6

Average Runs Allowed: 5.2

Offensive Variance: 10.7

Defensive Variance: 9.5

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 2.9

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 9-25

Even if you are not a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, you have to feel bad for this team because they have had such miserable luck so far this season. Their 9-25 record is the worst in the majors and is the main culprit behind tricking the Pythagorean formula. Hopefully, the luck for the Pirates will change and they will play the real below .500 ball they should be playing.

Actual Winning Percentage: .545 (48-40)

Expected Winning Percentage: .529 (47-41)

Average Runs Scored: 4.5

Average Runs Allowed: 4.2

Offensive Variance: 9.2

Defensive Variance: 8.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.1

Average Defeat Margin: 3.2

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 18-11

San Diego have outperformed their run differential because of their consistency and having a very respectable 18-11 record in 1-run games.

Actual Winning Percentage: .523 (46-42)

Expected Winning Percentage: .557 (49-39)

Average Runs Scored: 5.4

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 9.7

Defensive Variance: 9.2

Average Victory Margin: 4.0

Average Defeat Margin: 3.1

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 8-12

Los Angeles are not underperforming their expected winning percentage because of any lack of consistency, but because they have such a disparity between their average victory margin and average defeat margin. Their 8-12 record does not help matters either.

Actual Winning Percentage: .506 (44-43)

Expected Winning Percentage: .514 (45-42)

Average Runs Scored: 4.7

Average Runs Allowed: 4.6

Offensive Variance: 11.4

Defensive Variance: 9.9

Average Victory Margin: 3.5

Average Defeat Margin: 3.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 13-15

Because of their average victory margin being slightly higher than their average defeat margin, the Rockies are doing slightly worse than their expected winning percentage.

Actual Winning Percentage: .506 (45-44)

Expected Winning Percentage: .513 (46-43)

Average Runs Scored: 4.7

Average Runs Allowed: 4.6

Offensive Variance: 10.7

Defensive Variance: 9.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.7

Average Defeat Margin: 3.5

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 13-9

See: Colorado Rockies

Actual Winning Percentage: .489 (43-45)

Expected Winning Percentage: .478 (42-46)

Average Runs Scored: 4.9

Average Runs Allowed: 5.1

Offensive Variance: 9.0

Defensive Variance: 12.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.3

Average Defeat Margin: 3.7

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 14-14

Like many other teams, the Diamondbacks are exceeding expectations by having a higher average defeat margin. With so many teams tricking the Pythagorean formula, it may be time to tweak it just a bit.

*Any errors in the numbers are due to my human error.

One example of how the Pythagenport formula can be fooled is by the team whose wins are blowouts and whose losses are in close games. This team will have a very favorable run differential that the formula will love and will reward the team with a higher winning percentage than the team will actually end up with. Vice versa, the team whose wins are in close contests and whose losses are of the blowout variety will not be looked upon favorably by the Pythagenport formula because this team will have a low run differential when they are not as bad as their run differential suggests.

Variance, standard deviation squared, is also not something which can be presented in a vacuum and that is where I made my mistake. Variance is good for telling you how inconsistent a team is in scoring or allowing points, but variance is not something that can be compared uniformly across the board because each team has a different margin for error. What I call margin of error is actually a team's average run differential (differential between average runs scored and average runs allowed) and displays how inconsistent a team can be without it hurting too much. A team with a high postive average run differential can afford to be more inconsistent than a team with a zero net average run differential can.

In order to provide a comprehensive look behind each MLB team's first half records, I included every team's actual winning percentage, Pythagorean winning percentage, average runs scored, average runs allowed, offensive variance, defensive variance, average margin of victory, and average margin of defeat. I also included each team's win-loss record in 1-run contests because that usually evens out to .500 over the course of the season so a team that is doing really well in the first half will usually find themselves doing really poorly in the same 1-run games in the second half. Even so, there will be some teams for which these stats will not paint a clear picture for why a team is doing well or poorly.

Since I am looking at every team in the major leagues, you may just want to find the team or teams you are most interested in and read what the numbers say about them. Teams will be compared to each other within the same division.

**AL East****Boston Red Sox**Actual Winning Percentage: .616 (53-33)

Expected Winning Percentage: .574 (49-37)

Average Runs Scored: 5.7

Average Runs Allowed: 4.8

Offensive Variance: 10.1

Defensive Variance: 8.0

Average Victory Margin: 3.7

Average Defeat Margin: 3.7

1-Run Win Loss Record: 13-6

Looking at the numbers, it is easy to tell why the Red Sox have outperformed their expected winning percentage. Couple their consistency with their high positive average run differential and you will usually get a team that is going to outperform their expected winning percentage. The Red Sox are also consistent in terms of their average victory and defeat margins.

Where they have been helped out so far is their win-loss record in 1-run games. This record will probably not repeat itself in the second half.

**New York Yankees**Actual Winning Percentage: .581 (50-36)

Expected Winning Percentage: .575 (49-37)

Average Runs Scored: 5.6

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 14.3

Defensive Variance: 11.5

Average Victory Margin: 4.0

Average Defeat Margin: 3.5

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 14-12

The Yankees actual record is marginally better than their expected winning percentage, but compared to the Red Sox, who they are chasing for the AL East lead, they are not doing so well. They have the same average run differential as the Red Sox, but they have been much more inconsistent, having higher offensive and defensive variances.

How they will rectify their inconsistency is up for debate. Either a good hitter or a good pitcher will do just like it would do for every team in the major leagues.

**Toronto Blue Jays**Actual Winning Percentage: .557 (49-39)

Expected Winning Percentage: .540 (48-38)

Average Runs Scored: 5.4

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 8.8

Defensive Variance: 9.3

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-run Win-Loss Record: 7-2

Toronto sports the most consistent good team in the AL East. If they could manage a higher average run differential and a higher actual run differential, then they would lead the AL East division. However, that is easier said than done and the Blue Jays will probably finish third in this division.

Their consistency has really helped them outperform their expected winning percentage along with their 1-run win-loss record of 7-2.

**Baltimore Orioles**Actual Winning Percentage: .456 (41-49)

Expected Winning Percentage: .437 (39-51)

Average Runs Scored: 4.8

Average Runs Allowed: 5.6

Offensive Variance: 12.0

Defensive Variance: 9.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.4

Average Defeat Margin: 4.1

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 12-7

Baltimore is outperforming their winning percentage for two reasons. The first is because of their inconsistency. It may sound counterintuitive, but inconsistency for an under-.500 team actually helps the team because inconsistency brings teams closer to .500. In this case, inconsistency is bringing Baltimore up to .500 level.

Also, as I alluded to earlier, that there is such a disparity between their average victory and defeat margins (in favor of defeat margin), it has helped the Orioles do better than their run differential suggests.

**Tampa Bay Devil Rays**Actual Winning Percentage: .438 (39-50)

Expected Winning Percentage: .420 (37-52)

Average Runs Scored: 4.3

Average Runs Allowed: 5.1

Offensive Variance: 6.7

Defensive Variance: 10.8

Average Victory Margin: 2.9

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 10-9

Conceivably, the Devil Rays should be doing better in outperforming their expected winning percentage than Baltimore is doing at outperforming theirs. They are getting more blown out in their losses as compared to their winning close games than Baltimore is, but the problem with the Devil Rays is their consistency. If they were less consistent, then they would probably be closer to .500 then their actual winning percentage.

**AL Central****Detroit Tigers**Actual Winning Percentage: .670 (59-29)

Expected Winning Percentage: .645 (57-31)

Average Runs Scored: 5.2

Average Runs Allowed: 3.7

Offensive Variance: 12.0

Defensive Variance: 8.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 3.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 15-10

Do not be tricked by the high offensive variance the Tigers have because this is no mere mortal team. With the amazingly high positive average run differential of 1.5, they are very consistent in comparison to other teams because how much variance affects a team is relative. If they were not winning a large number of their games in blowouts, they would probably be outperforming their expected winning percentage even more.

**Chicago White Sox**Actual Winning Percentage: .648 (57-31)

Expected Winning Percentage: .602 (53-35)

Average Runs Scored: 5.9

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 12.4

Defensive Variance: 11.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.9

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 15-10

The White Sox do not have as high a positive average run differential as the Detroit Tigers, are less consistent, but they are still outperforming their expected winning percentage to a greater degree. Why is that, you ask? The answer: because their average victory and defeat margins are basically the same while being consistent enough given their average run differential.

**Minnesota Twins**Actual Winning Percentage: .547 (47-39)

Expected Winning Percentage: .529 (45-41)

Average Runs Scored: 4.9

Average Runs Allowed: 4.6

Offensive Variance: 11.2

Defensive Variance: 10.7

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 3.9

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 11-5

The Minnesota Twins are largely doing better than expected based on their 11-5 record in games decided by one run. They are certainly not overly consistent given such a low margin of error. Look for this team to struggle repeating their success in 1-run contests in the second half of the season.

**Cleveland Indians**Actual Winning Percentage: .460 (40-47)

Expected Winning Percentage: .544 (47-40)

Average Runs Scored: 5.7

Average Runs Allowed: 5.0

Offensive Variance: 15.0

Defensive Variance: 14.3

Average Victory Margin: 5.3

Average Defeat Margin: 3.6

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 7-13

There is no nice way to put this; the Cleveland Indians are a trainwreck in every way. They are the most inconsistent team in the major leagues and they also have the highest run differential between average victory margin and average defeat margin. Combine those things with a horrible win-loss record and you can understand why their actual winning percentage is .084 lower than their expected winning percentage.

Something that bears mentioning is that when a team has more than their fair share of one run losses, it skews the results of their average victory and average defeat margins. Even when taking that into account, Cleveland still gets too many wins in blowouts to go by their expected winning percentage. Losing in closer contests than you win in is a sign of a poor bullpen.

**Kansas City Royals**Actual Winning Percentage: .356 (31-56)

Expected Winning Percentage: .371 (32-55)

Average Runs Scored: 4.5

Average Runs Allowed: 6.1

Offensive Variance: 11.6

Defensive Variance: 10.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.1

Average Defeat Margin: 4.1

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 10-12

It is no secret that the Royals are the worst team in the majors. Everyone knows it. Even people who don't follow baseball know it. The only reason I even computed their statistics is because I promised to look at every major league team.

By the way, their -1.6 average run differential is the lowest in the majors. No surprise there.

**AL West****Texas Rangers**Actual Winning Percentage: .511 (45-43)

Expected Winning Percentage: .522 (46-44)

Average Runs Scored: 5.1

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 9.3

Defensive Variance: 10.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.4

Average Defeat Margin: 3.0

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 8-16

The Rangers are only doing marginally worse than their expected winning percentage, but that extra game would give them the lead in the AL West division. So far, they have been the second most consistent team in this division and have the highest average run differential. Their undoing has been their abysmal record in 1-run contests, which I am sure will even itself out in the second half.

**Oakland Athletics**Actual Winning Percentage: .511 (45-43)

Expected Winning Percentage: .483 (43-45)

Average Runs Scored: 4.3

Average Runs Allowed: 4.5

Offensive Variance: 7.8

Defensive Variance: 8.9

Average Victory Margin: 2.9

Average Defeat Margin: 3.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 17-15

The Oakland Athletics have done everything right besides actually outscoring their opponents on a consistent basis. They have needed every bit of their consistency because they have absolutely no margin for error at all. This team has also been helped out by the fact they are more likely to win a close contest and lose a game by a higher number of runs.

**Los Angeles Angels**Actual Winning Percentage: .489 (43-45)

Expected Winning Percentage: .490 (43-45)

Average Runs Scored: 4.6

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 10.0

Defensive Variance: 12.2

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 11-13

Since the Angels are performing the same as expected, there is no reason to devote much time to what they have done on the field. So I won't.

**Seattle Mariners**Actual Winning Percentage: .483 (43-46)

Expected Winning Percentage: .505 (45-44)

Average Runs Scored: 4.8

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 11.6

Defensive Variance: 9.9

Average Victory Margin: 3.5

Average Defeat Margin: 3.2

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 8-12

The Mariners have the other positive average run differential in the AL West, but unfortunately for them, they do not have the consistency of the Texas Rangers so they are unable to overcome their 8-12 record in 1-run games.

What all those 1-run contests have done is to drive down the average defeat margin and give the Mariners more credit than they deserve.

**NL East****New York Mets**Actual Winning Percentage: .596 (53-36)

Expected Winning Percentage: .572 (51-38)

Average Runs Scored: 5.3

Average Runs Allowed: 4.5

Offensive Variance: 11.3

Defensive Variance: 9.2

Average Victory Margin: 3.6

Average Defeat Margin: 3.4

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 20-9

The Mets have been a good team so far this season, but they have in no way been spectacular. They have been fairly consistent relative to their average run differential, but they have been extremely lucky in games decided by one run, having the highest winning percentage in the majors in those types of games. Too bad it is not success which is likely to last.

**Philadelphia Phillies**Actual Winning Percentage: .460 (40-47)

Expected Winning Percentage: .464 (40-47)

Average Runs Scored: 4.8

Average Runs Allowed: 5.2

Offensive Variance: 6.8

Defensive Variance: 8.8

Average Victory Margin: 3.0

Average Defeat Margin: 3.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 9-15

A mass of contradictions surrounds this Phillies team. They are doing as well as expected, but the way they have gotten there is odd. Their high level of consistency has no doubt taken their record down because they are already a below .500 team to begin with. But losing worse than they win has brought their record back up, only to have it taken down again by a poor win-loss record in 1-run games.

**Atlanta Braves**Actual Winning Percentage: .449 (40-49)

Expected Winning Percentage: .491 (44-45)

Average Runs Scored: 4.9

Average Runs Allowed: 5.0

Offensive Variance: 10.4

Defensive Variance: 10.7

Average Victory Margin: 3.4

Average Defeat Margin: 2.9

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 12-21

Atlanta's frittering away of their run differential can be directly attributed to the disparity between their average victory and average defeat margins. Their 1-run win-loss records in no way has helped them, either.

**Florida Marlins**Actual Winning Percentage: .442 (38-48)

Expected Winning Percentage: .488 (42-46)

Average Runs Scored: 4.8

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 11.2

Defensive Variance: 11.3

Average Victory Margin: 4.1

Average Defeat Margin: 3.5

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 9-18

See: Atlanta Braves

**Washington Nationals**Actual Winning Percentage: .422 (38-52)

Expected Winning Percentage: .435 (39-51)

Average Runs Scored: 4.5

Average Runs Allowed: 5.2

Offensive Variance: 9.4

Defensive Variance: 11.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.5

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 9-14

Here is another example of why it is not always advisable for a team to be consistent. The Nationals are just as consistent as the Mets, but when you are already worse than your opponent, it does you no good to be consistent and perform the way you always perform because it will result in you being worse than you could be.

With a higher average defeat margin, you would expect the team to do better than their expected winning percentage, not worse. Such is the case with the Washington Nationals. Their 1-run win-loss record provides the key for this unexpected turn.

**NL Central****St. Louis Cardinals**Actual Winning Percentage: .552 (48-39)

Expected Winning Percentage: .516 (45-42)

Average Runs Scored: 5.1

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 7.8

Defensive Variance: 11.5

Average Victory Margin: 3.3

Average Defeat Margin: 3.6

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 13-13

This team should consider themselves very lucky to be in the NL Central, probably the worst division in MLB this season. To the Cardinals' credit, though, they have been the most consistent team in baseball, which has helped them outperform their expected winning percentage. Also, providing aid to the Cardinals in their attempt to circumvent their unimpressive run differential is that they lose worse than they win.

**Cincinnati Reds**Actual Winning Percentage: .506 (45-44)

Expected Winning Percentage: .485 (43-46)

Average Runs Scored: 5.0

Average Runs Allowed: 5.2

Offensive Variance: 11.1

Defensive Variance: 10.5

Average Victory Margin: 3.4

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 16-11

As has been the case for many of the teams in the majors, the Reds are helped by a higher average defeat margin than average victory margin and also having a fairly good record in 1-run games.

**Milwaukee Brewers**Actual Winning Percentage: .489 (44-46)

Expected Winning Percentage: .425 (38-52)

Average Runs Scored: 4.6

Average Runs Allowed: 5.4

Offensive Variance: 8.5

Defensive Variance: 12.4

Average Victory Margin: 2.8

Average Defeat Margin: 4.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 19-10

Once again, we have an example of a team outperforming their expected winning percentage based on a higher average defeat margin and a good record in 1-run contests. Maybe a lot of this is attributable to luck, but if that is the case, then a lot of teams have been getting lucky in the first half of the season.

For the Brewers, however, who have the highest differential in the majors between average defeat margin and average victory margin, the expected winning percentage can be thrown out of the window in lieu of these other statistics.

**Houston Astros**Actual Winning Percentage: .483 (43-46)

Expected Winning Percentage: .471 (42-47)

Average Runs Scored: 4.6

Average Runs Allowed: 4.9

Offensive Variance: 9.2

Defensive Variance: 11.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.5

Average Defeat Margin: 3.8

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 15-9

I am in danger of sounding like a broken record, but the Houstron Astros have slightly bettered their expected winning percentage by having an average defeat margin slightly higher than their average victory margin coupled with a 15-9 1-run record.

**Chicago Cubs**Actual Winning Percentage: .386 (34-54)

Expected Winning Percentage: .394 (35-53)

Average Runs Scored: 4.0

Average Runs Allowed: 5.1

Offensive Variance: 11.5

Defensive Variance: 10.9

Average Victory Margin: 3.7

Average Defeat Margin: 4.1

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 6-14

Looking solely at Chicago's average defeat and average victory margins, you would think the Cubs would be outperforming their expected winning percentage like the Cincinnati Reds, but that is not the case. Why is that? Well, having a higher average defeat margin only helps a team when the team also does well in games decided by a single run. Since Chicago has only gone 6-14 in such contests, any advantage they had was canceled out, leaving them where they started.

**Pittsburgh Pirates**Actual Winning Percentage: .333 (30-60)

Expected Winning Percentage: .438 (39-51)

Average Runs Scored: 4.6

Average Runs Allowed: 5.2

Offensive Variance: 10.7

Defensive Variance: 9.5

Average Victory Margin: 3.8

Average Defeat Margin: 2.9

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 9-25

Even if you are not a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, you have to feel bad for this team because they have had such miserable luck so far this season. Their 9-25 record is the worst in the majors and is the main culprit behind tricking the Pythagorean formula. Hopefully, the luck for the Pirates will change and they will play the real below .500 ball they should be playing.

**NL West****San Diego Padres**Actual Winning Percentage: .545 (48-40)

Expected Winning Percentage: .529 (47-41)

Average Runs Scored: 4.5

Average Runs Allowed: 4.2

Offensive Variance: 9.2

Defensive Variance: 8.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.1

Average Defeat Margin: 3.2

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 18-11

San Diego have outperformed their run differential because of their consistency and having a very respectable 18-11 record in 1-run games.

**Los Angeles Dodgers**Actual Winning Percentage: .523 (46-42)

Expected Winning Percentage: .557 (49-39)

Average Runs Scored: 5.4

Average Runs Allowed: 4.7

Offensive Variance: 9.7

Defensive Variance: 9.2

Average Victory Margin: 4.0

Average Defeat Margin: 3.1

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 8-12

Los Angeles are not underperforming their expected winning percentage because of any lack of consistency, but because they have such a disparity between their average victory margin and average defeat margin. Their 8-12 record does not help matters either.

**Colorado Rockies**Actual Winning Percentage: .506 (44-43)

Expected Winning Percentage: .514 (45-42)

Average Runs Scored: 4.7

Average Runs Allowed: 4.6

Offensive Variance: 11.4

Defensive Variance: 9.9

Average Victory Margin: 3.5

Average Defeat Margin: 3.3

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 13-15

Because of their average victory margin being slightly higher than their average defeat margin, the Rockies are doing slightly worse than their expected winning percentage.

**San Francisco Giants**Actual Winning Percentage: .506 (45-44)

Expected Winning Percentage: .513 (46-43)

Average Runs Scored: 4.7

Average Runs Allowed: 4.6

Offensive Variance: 10.7

Defensive Variance: 9.1

Average Victory Margin: 3.7

Average Defeat Margin: 3.5

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 13-9

See: Colorado Rockies

**Arizona Diamondbacks**Actual Winning Percentage: .489 (43-45)

Expected Winning Percentage: .478 (42-46)

Average Runs Scored: 4.9

Average Runs Allowed: 5.1

Offensive Variance: 9.0

Defensive Variance: 12.4

Average Victory Margin: 3.3

Average Defeat Margin: 3.7

1-Run Win-Loss Record: 14-14

Like many other teams, the Diamondbacks are exceeding expectations by having a higher average defeat margin. With so many teams tricking the Pythagorean formula, it may be time to tweak it just a bit.

*Any errors in the numbers are due to my human error.

## 1 Comments:

Hi, it's the original commenter back again.

While I understand the role that variance plays in real v. expected winning percentages, I'd like to see you address the

causesof variance. IE, I know my hometown Indians are losing because they've been horribly inconsistent, but I'd like to know why.See, I still maintain that offensive inconsistency is mostly luck. While your individual hitters may be streaky, there's no logical reason the team as a whole would be streaky from night to night. Why do Hafner, Peralta and Casey Blake all homer off Liriano one day and then all put up 0-fers the next? Random chance, I'd say, and I think it will even out over the rest of the year (too late to save the season, unfortunately, but promising for next year).

Pitching variance, as I said before, seems much less based on luck because you have different players going each night. If you have a wide variety of skill levels on your pitching staff, then pitching variance will be high. That just makes sense. But I haven't yet heard an argument as to why offensive variance is anything other than luck.

By Chemo, at 1:29 PM

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