Comments on: Mailbag: World Series Winners and ERA Leaders This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: TapDancingTeddy Thu, 04 Nov 2010 15:25:23 +0000 The progression of the winners shows a recent lessening of matches post DH.

I agree that the DH has to be taken into account, and ERA+ is probably a better measurement.

2010 NL San Francisco Giants
1995 NL Atlanta Braves
1986 NL New York Mets
1974 AL Oakland Athletics
1970 AL Baltimore Orioles
1965 NL Los Angeles Dodgers
1963 NL Los Angeles Dodgers
1953 AL New York Yankees
1948 AL Cleveland Indians
1947 AL New York Yankees
1946 NL St. Louis Cardinals
1944 NL St. Louis Cardinals
1942 NL St. Louis Cardinals
1940 NL Cincinnati Reds
1933 NL New York Giants
1929 AL Philadelphia Athletics
1927 AL New York Yankees
1917 AL Chicago White Sox
1910 AL Philadelphia Athletics
1907 NL Chicago Cubs
1903 AL Boston Americans

Using ERA+ might show why the 1950's had only one instance and the 1940's had six.

By: John Q Thu, 04 Nov 2010 14:31:50 +0000 I think ERA+ and League Leaders instead of ERA and Major League leaders would be a better measurement.

Also, it was much easier to lead the Majors when there were only 16 teams pre-1961 as compared to the 24-30 Teams we've had since 1969.

It would be interesting to see how many times a team has led the majors in ERA and Lost the world series. I know the Orioles led the Majors in '69 and tied for the lead in '71 and ended up losing both World Series. The '92 & '99 Braves led the Majors and lost the World Series.

By: Mike Felber Thu, 04 Nov 2010 07:48:49 +0000 Yes, ERA +, RA & standard deviation would be better. As would comparing this to offensive production leaders. But 1/5 of the time seems very high: recall that there are usually many other teams close to the leader, & many other aspects of the game, chiefly offense. I would not have though it would be more than 10% of the time, maybe less!

And note the 3 #1 matches right after WW2, & 3 more '40-'44. Coincidence, or did the dilution of talent related to the war mean that good pitching was especially scarce & valuable?

By: StephenH Wed, 03 Nov 2010 20:54:06 +0000 I would prefer to see the question changed to league leader. Then my 1969 Mets would qualify.

By: Kahuna Tuna Wed, 03 Nov 2010 19:41:04 +0000 In 38 seasons since the DH [began], it is more likely that an NL team will lead in ERA

Quite an understatement, JT. An NL team has led the majors in team ERA in 33 of those seasons, an AL team in only five.

By: BSK Wed, 03 Nov 2010 19:37:55 +0000 The DH definitely complicates things. I misread the initial post and thought it was the league-leader, not the Majors.

My assumption was that it would be less frequent once divisional play began, since more teams get in the playoffs and there is likely to be more variance.

ERA is also not the ideal stat, as pointed out. ERA+ or RA or something else might be better.

We also run into the possibility of splitting hairs when looking at only the league-leader. If Team A leads with a 3.20 ERA and scores 3.5 Rs/G and Team B has a 3.21 and scores 4.5/Rs/G, we wouldn't really expect Team A to be the favorite. There are also different "degrees" to leading, meaning that a team may dominate the league in ERA or may finished slightly ahead of a tightly packed group. Standard Deviation might be better.

All-in-all, it's interesting to see that it's happened about 20% of the time. I would have guessed less often, to be honest.

By: Johnny Twisto Wed, 03 Nov 2010 18:51:23 +0000 In 38 seasons since the DH, it is more likely that an NL team will lead in ERA, but only about a 50/50 chance the NL team will win the Series.

It would also be interesting -- perhaps a better question -- to see how often the team with lowest RA wins.

By: JDV Wed, 03 Nov 2010 18:45:31 +0000's clear that it hasn't happened nearly as frequently since division play began...only five times in 41 seasons (1969-2010), or 12%. Prior to that, it happened twice as frequently...16 times in 66 seasons, or 24%.

Can we say that great pitching used to get you farther than it does today? Even if so, I'd take my chances with it.

By: Neil Paine Wed, 03 Nov 2010 18:41:55 +0000 If run-prevention is half of the game, it seems like the best team at that should do better than 21-for-106. But maybe that's just perception... Having the best ERA may not mean you're the most skilled at preventing runs (it could be an illusion of park effects), and besides, Bill James found that the overall best team in baseball only should expect to win the WS 29% of the time anyway (the way baseball was structured in the late 1980s, at least). So maybe 20% for the ERA champs is actually unexpectedly high.

By: BSK Wed, 03 Nov 2010 18:23:34 +0000 The post says "just the 21st" time, implying that it is less than expected. But, is that a fair expectation? There have been 106 (or is it 107?) WS, meaning the top ERA team has won 1/5th of the time. Obviously, that is far more than would be expected if the winners were evenly distributed amongst the different finishing places in the ERA. But that, certainly, would not be fair to expect. So, my follow-up question is, is 21 times less than would be expected? More? Just about right? Is there even a way to calculate what a "fair" expectation is?

What might be interesting to look at is to look at percentiles and figure out the success of teams in the top 10% of ERA versus the top 10% in runs scored (and perhaps various other metrics). That might be getting at something very different, but it might indicate where there seem to be concentrations of success.