I was looking at MLB.com’s Regular Season Standings a few minutes ago while I had my coffee and I thought how unarticulate wins losses, Pythagorian Winning Percentage and the like were. I came to focus in particular on one stat which I felt was the greatest dissapointment where the most should have been expected. Elimination Number. Really, this is what fans would look to in the morning paper in a Bill James Utopia, but instead it is as incapable of expression as its 18th century siblings and expected winning percentage, which good teams seem to always outperform, hinting to some sinister clutchness factor lurking beneath its pristine greek name. While taking my shower, from which I am now shivering seeing as the weather here in massachusetts leaves something to be desired, I thought how it would be really something if elimination number actually told you something about the status of teams like the Royals, the Braves, the Devil Rays and such, who we are told are all at least 60 odd games from “elimination”. Honestly, who will be watching the Royals 60 games from now? Contention is what should be addressed. Something to back up the ESPN analyst whinings about the Braves fallen dynasty. I thought of a simple metric, though I’m not very sure that it is kosher, that would at least simulate what would be desired in a “Contention Number” stat.
CONTENTION NUMBER V.-1 6/24/06
((((teamw-teaml)-(divisionleaderw-divisionleaderl))+gamesremaining)*team winning percentage)
A negative number indicates out of contention by x games
A postive number indicates in contention by x games
12 contention number- kansas city
28 contention number- tampa bay
25 contention number- atlanta
As of june 24, 2006
For example, pittsburghs contention number is found thusly,
((((26-49)-(42-30))+91)*.347)=19.432, which can be rounded to 19
In 19 games at the present pace, pittsburgh will be virtually out of contention===
I am obviously an amateur and this stat may be more of the flying machines of the 1800s compared to the Wright Plane in comparison to a real stat, but it definately looks the part to my eyes and displays what sort of metric one would want in a standings stat to replace elimination number.
I would really be intrested in engaging some discussion of standings stats, their downfalls and their possible remedies.