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Archive for the ‘Pro Baseball’ Category

MLB: The Importance of Winning Game One

Posted by Andrew McKillop on September 29, 2011

Post Highlights

  • A little over 73% of MLB teams that have won a Game 1 in a Divisional Playoff Series, went on to win the series.
  • Since 1995, every team (100%) that has won a Game 1 in the World Series at home, has gone on to win the series.

 

Going back to 1995, a little over 72% of all MLB teams that have won Game 1 in a playoff series went on to win the series.  Listed below is a quick analysis I did on the topic.  I found all the teams that won a Game 1 in playoff series since 1995, and found out how many times they won the series.  The percentages and different situations are all listed below.

Winning Game 1 and Winning the Series Since 1995

Won the Series
Won Game 1 of a Playoff Series
Won the Series 72.3%
   with the Better Regular Season Record 78.9%
   with the Worse Regular Season Record 65.5%
   Won Game 1 at Home 74.6%
   Won Game 1 on the Road 69.8%
Won the Series
Won Game 1 of a Division Series
Won the Series 73.4%
   with the Better Regular Season Record 84.8%
   with the Worse Regular Season Record 61.3%
   Won Game 1 at Home 73.5%
   Won Game 1 on the Road 73.3%
Won the Series
Won Game 1 of a League Championship Series
Won the Series 65.6%
   with the Better Regular Season Record 70.6%
   with the Worse Regular Season Record 60.0%
   Won Game 1 at Home 62.5%
   Won Game 1 on the Road 68.8%
Won the Series
Won Game 1 of a World Series
Won the Series 81.3%
   with the Better Regular Season Record 71.4%
   with the Worse Regular Season Record 88.9%
   Won Game 1 at Home 100.0%
   Won Game 1 on the Road 57.1%

 

Reference: Baseball-Reference.com

 

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MLB: From Worst to First and First to Worst

Posted by Andrew McKillop on September 24, 2011

Post Highlights

  • The Arizona Diamondbacks have accounted for 27% of all worst to first occurrences in major professional baseball history.
  • The San Diego Padres are the only team that went from first to worst (1996 to 1997) and worst to first (1997 to 1998) back to back.
  • None of the seven teams that went from first to worst changed managers the previous off-season; only one team changed managers after the season (1987 California Angels).

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks completed a special feat this season.  For the third time in their franchises history, they have gone from last place in the NL West to first place the next season.  It’s only the 11th time in major professional baseball history that a team went from worst to first in their respective division/or league.

On the flipside the Minnesota Twins had a season to forget.  After winning the AL Central title last year, they will finish this season in last place.  It’s only the 7th time in major professional baseball history that a team went from first to worst in their respective division/or league.

 

Worst to First in Pro Baseball

First Worst Team Lge/Div W Dif Playoffs Next Season
1890 1889 Louisville Colonels AA +61 - 1891: 8th
1991 1990 Atlanta Braves NL West +29 Lost WS 1992: 1st
1991 1990 Minnesota Twins AL West +21 Won WS 1992: 2nd
1993 1992 Philadelphia Phillies NL East +27 Lost WS 1994: 4th
1997 1996 San Francisco Giants NL West +22 Lost LDS 1998: 2nd
1998 1997 San Diego Padres NL West +22 Lost WS 1999: 4th
1999 1998 Arizona D-backs NL West +35 Lost LDS 2000: 3rd
2007 2006 Arizona D-backs NL West +14 Lost NLCS 2008: 2nd
2007 2006 Chicago Cubs NL Central +19 Lost LDS 2008: 1st
2008 2007 Tampa Bay Rays AL East +31 Lost WS 2009: 3rd
2011 2010 Arizona D-backs NL West +26 ? ? ?

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks have accounted for 27% of all worst to first occurrences in major professional baseball history.

Current and past teams from the NL West, have accounted for 55% of all worst to first occurrences in major professional baseball history.

Only three of teams that went from worst to first changed managers the previous off-season; 1991 Braves, 2007 Cubs, and 2011 D-backs.


First to Worst in Pro Baseball

Worst First Team Lge/Div W Dif Next Season
1915 1914 Philadelphia Athletics AL -56 1916: 8th (Last)
1987 1986 California Angels AL West -17 1988: 4th
1993 1992 Oakland Athletics AL West -28 1994: 2nd
1995 1994 Montreal Expos ¹ NL East -8 1996: 2nd
1997 1996 San Diego Padres NL West -15 1998: 1st
2000 1999 Texas Rangers AL West -24 2001: 4th (Last)
2011 2010 Minnesota Twins AL Central -34 ? ?

¹ Strike-shortened season; no official division titles were given.

 

The San Diego Padres are the only team that went from first to worst (1996 to 1997) and worst to first (1997 to 1998) back to back.

None of the seven teams that went from first to worst changed managers the previous off-season; only one team changed managers after the season (1987 California Angels).

The Cincinnati Reds finished the 1981 season with the most overall wins in the NL West. However due to a split-season format, they didn’t win the division title, because they finished in second place in both halves of the season.  In the following season, the Reds had the worst record in the NL West.

 

Reference: Baseball-Reference.com

 

Posted in Pro Baseball | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

MLB: A Tally of League Standings Leaders Heading Into September

Posted by Andrew McKillop on August 26, 2011

Post Highlights

  • A little over 70% of teams that led the league standings on September 1st, have gone on to win the league pennant.
  • The last AL team to lead the league standings on September 1st and miss the postseason, were the 1978 Boston Red Sox.
  • The 2004 St. Louis Cardinals are the last team from the NL to convert a September 1st lead in the league standings into a pennant.

 

Baseball fans have a lot to be excited about when their favorite team leads the league standings heading into September.  Such a position almost certainly means a postseason berth, which could culminate in a league pennant and even a World Series title.


Listed below is a tally of how many times each franchise led the league standings heading into September 1st.

A Tally of League Standings Leaders Heading Into September

Notes: Standings that were counted before the games on 9/1 were used for this post.  I counted tied leads.

In 1981 MLB split the season into halves.  For the purpose of this article I didn’t break the season into halves, and counted the total records of teams on 9/1/1981.  I didn’t count the strike shortened season of 1994.

The AL tally goes back to 1901, while the NL tally goes back to 1876.  I didn’t include defunct franchises in the tally below, although they were a part of the study for percentages.

Legend: 1st – 9/1 (# of times the franchise led the league standings on Sept 1st), Avg GB (The average # of games the franchise has led the league on Sept 1st), Conv Chmp (# of times the franchise took a 9/1 league lead and converted it to a league pennant), Tot Chmp (# of league pennants won in franchise history), Dif (Difference between 9/1 leads and league pennants won)

American League
Team 1st – 9/1 Avg GB Conv Chmp Tot Chmp Dif
Yankees 35 7.1 91.4% 40 +5
Athletics 20 5.3 75.0% 15 -5
Red Sox 11 4.8 81.8% 12 +1
Tigers 10 4.1 90.0% 10 0
White Sox 9 3.3 66.7% 7 -2
Orioles 8 6.4 75.0% 7 -1
Indians 6 3.5 33.3% 5 -1
Twins 5 5.2 100.0% 6 +1
Blue Jays 2 3.3 50.0% 2 0
Angels 1 0.5 0.0% 1 0
Brewers 1 1.0 100.0% 1 0
Mariners 1 17.0 0.0% 0 -1
Rays 1 1.5 100.0% 1 0
Royals 1 6.0 100.0% 2 +1
Rangers 0 - - 1 +1
National League
Team 1st – 9/1 Avg GB Conv Chmp Tot Chmp Dif
Cubs 21 5.8 61.9% 16 -5
Dodgers 21 4.3 71.4% 21 0
Braves 20 3.7 65.0% 17 -3
Giants 20 4.4 70.0% 21 +1
Cardinals 16 6.3 75.0% 17 +1
Pirates 13 5.6 61.5% 9 -4
Reds 10 5.0 80.0% 9 -1
Mets 5 5.3 40.0% 4 -1
Phillies 5 3.4 40.0% 7 +2
Astros 2 1.3 0.0% 1 -1
D-backs 2 0.8 0.0% 1 -1
Padres 1 0.0 0.0% 2 +1
Brewers 0 - - 0 0
Marlins 0 - - 2 +2
Nationals 0 - - 0 0
Rockies 0 - - 1 +1



Additional Facts

A little over 70% of teams that led the league standings on September 1st, have gone on to win the league pennant.

A little under 95% of the teams that led the league standings on September 1st by seven games or more, have gone on to win the league pennant.

A little under 42% of the teams that led the league standings on September 1st by only half a game or one game, have gone on to win the league pennant.


In 1902 the Pittsburgh Pirates had a 24 game lead in the NL standings on September 1st.  It’s the greatest September 1st standings lead in NL history.

In 1941 the New York Yankees had a 19.5 game lead in the AL standings on September 1st.  It’s the greatest September 1st standings lead in AL history.

In 2001 the Seattle Mariners had a 17 game lead in the AL standings on September 1st, but they ultimately failed to win the pennant that year.  It’s the greatest September 1st standings lead in AL history to not result in a pennant.

In 2006 the New York Mets had a 11 game lead in the NL standings on September 1st, but they ultimately failed to win the pennant that year.  It’s the greatest September 1st standings lead in NL history to not result in a pennant.

The last AL team to lead the league standings on September 1st and miss the postseason, were the 1978 Boston Red Sox.

The 2004 St. Louis Cardinals are the last team from the NL to convert a September 1st lead in the league standings into a pennant.


Reference: Baseball-Reference.com – Standings on Any Date Tool


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