The AL East Is (Probably) Really Good
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.