The Phillies First 25 Games

As I said before, the 2016 Phillies are off to a good start. If one looks at the current standings, they have a 15-10 record with a run differential of -16 (they have scored 82 runs and allowed 98 runs for a runs differential of 82 – 98 = -16). This raises the question:

How unusual is it for a team in the first 25 games to have a run differential of -16 and win 15 games?

Using the Retrosheet game logs, I collected the number of wins and the runs differential for all MLB teams in the past 50 seasons (1966 through 2015) for a total of 1348 team/seasons.

I construct a scatterplot of runs differential and number of wins (in the first 25 games) below and show the 2016 Phillies value (-16, 15) as a red dot.

Yes, it is clear that this is an unusual occurrence in the history of baseball.

run_differential

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3 responses

  1. I’ve always been a bit unsure about the value of run differential as a stat. Shouldn’t a run in a 2-1 game count for a more than a run in a 12-0 blowout? Not saying I’ve got a better metric, but it seems like some of the aberrations from above come from a team scoring a bunch in a game that wasn’t close and losing by a couple in close ones, or the obverse.

  2. Just for curiosity Jim: What were those two other teams that had also a negative RD and 15 W in the scatter plot?

  3. Actually, there were six teams with 15 (out of 25 wins) and negative run differentials in my dataset:
    1 1984 NYN 15 -27
    2 2003 ATL 15 -12
    3 2014 NYA 15 -8
    4 2005 ARI 15 -5
    5 2008 FLO 15 -3
    6 1966 DET 15 -1

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