2019 MLB Pythagorean Theorem – Predictions for the rest of the way

Martyn joins us to make his debut for Bat Flips and Nerds, you can read his fantasy baseball musing here, on Twitter.

Bill James’ “Pythagorean theorem” is a key feature for baseball bettors, fans & fantasy baseball players. It basically tries to work out a team’s record from runs scored and runs allowed; ultimately it’s the one mathematical formula that’s fun to do. It can show which teams have gotten lucky and which ones are on the other side of luck.

It may not come as a surprise but the KC Royals with a record of 30-61 are the most unlucky of all major league ball clubs, they have a run differential of -90, and are – 8.16 wins under the Pythagorean formula.

The Chicago White Sox with a record of 42-44 are the luckiest team, they are + 4.43 wins above the formula, Perhaps as they are in the same division as the Royals they have benefited from the Royals misfortunes.

Taking the Pythagorean formula for the teams runs, is just one step of projecting the final standings come October 1st. Baseball is binary and taking into account another theory Newton’s Third Law of motion, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”

When the Red Sox win against the Yankee’s, the Yankee’s lose against the Red Sox, this may seem obvious and a bit of a non-statement, but it has to be considered when applying mathematics into a model.

When a .600 team plays a .400 team, what chance does that .600 ball club have of winning that game? Well before we add statistical data, i.e. home field advantage and if (Interleague Play) the chance is 69% (ed – nice) the .600 ball club will win.

There is a historical advantage in home field advantage in baseball, codified baseball has the rule that the home team will hit in the bottom part of the inning. This may not seem a big deal,
however, if it’s a tied ballgame starting the 9th inning the visiting team may play for 1 run. However who knows if the 1 run will be enough? Whereas the home team batting last know exactly what they need to do to win the game right there and then.

The home field advantage has an 8% swing when looking at historical data.

Since Interleague play began in 1997, the American league has fared well against the senior circuit, this could be because the teams are better right now, and there’s not enough data to actually factor into models yet.

Rest of the season?

So I plugged every teams Pythagorean Theorem formula into the schedules & applied the home field advantage, to give a total of wins & losses for the remaining fixtures. Then integrated those numbers to the actual standings at the time of the All Star Game break.

The LA Dodgers will have the best record in baseball with 105-57 for a .648 Win Percentage, That will be an 18 games ahead of their nearest competition in the NL West, with the Diamondbacks going 87-75, earning the second Wild Card spot.

The Chicago Cubs will go 87-75 and win the NL Central; while in the East the Atlanta Braves will go 94-68 to win the division ahead of the Washington Nationals who will go 88-74, taking the top Wild Card spot.

The AL East will probably be the most entertaining race; the Yankee’s will hit the century mark in Wins for another year just like the Astro’s, and go 101-61.

The Red Sox & TB Rays will both go 94-68 claiming the two wild card spots and fight it out in a game 163 for home field advantage in the Wild Card.

The Houston Astro’s will have home field advantage all postseason, with a 102-60 record.

The free scoring Minnesota Twins will end up winning the AL Central by 9 games over the Indians and finish with a 101-61 record, matching the Bronx Bombers.

With 4 teams hitting the century mark in wins, there will be 4 teams hitting the 100 loss mark.

Baltimore Orioles – 50-112 (0.3086)
Detroit Tigers – 57-105 (0.3519)
Miami Marlins – 58-104 (0.3580)
KC Royals – 60-102 (0.3704)

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the results Martyn has produced. Do you agree or disagree? Tell us in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.