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The AL East Is (Probably) Really Good

25 June 2009

In baseball, much is made about the concept of run differential – that is, evaluating Team X based on runs scored and runs allowed, rather than record. Some writers and analysts (I’d say myself included), probably do this too much, forgetting that run differential (or as Bill James called his run differential based calculations, the “Pythagorean” record), works better as a predictor of future outcomes than a gauge of current value (and often doesn’t predict all that well).

For instance, it may be that the Angels are a massive outlier in an otherwise sound theory, but the fact remains that I’ve written several articles over the years that have either specifically profiled the Angels and argued that they’re playing “over their heads”, or at least mentioned a similar theory. (I did pick the Angels to win the AL West this year…we’ll see.)

Anyway, with all those caveats established, I thought the following nugget was, if nothing else, interesting. Of the teams with the top five run differentials in MLB…FOUR play in the AL East. Some of this could regulate itself, especially as we see more intradivision games in the second half. But still…wow.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. enderandrew permalink
    25 June 2009 2:46 pm

    Tampa Bay was in the World Series last year, and returned most of their talent. Their bullpen played over their head much of last year, but a team with legit World Series talent is in fourth place in the division, and the third place team had the best record in baseball for a while. What amazes me right now is that the Red Sox have a 5 game lead in that division, despite some visible flaws with their team. It really is an insanely good division this year.

  2. clintoncheney08 permalink
    26 June 2009 2:32 am

    Take a look at the Orioles lineup now that Wieters and Reimold are up, Luke Scott is raking and Adam Jones has broken out. There’s Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff and Nick Markakis, too. And there are first-rate pitching prospects on the way. The division might be even better in 2010.

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