MLB: First team to 10 wins… does it mean anything?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Rangers primary logo

Rangers primary logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2012 Major League Baseball season is barely a week old, but here’s a question to ponder: Does being the first team in your league to win 10 games mean anything when it comes to end-of-the-season success?

Last season, being the first team to reach 10 wins had very different results in the American League and National League. The Rangers were the first A.L. team to 10 wins and made it to the World Series eventually losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. In the N.L., the Colorado Rockies were the first team to 10 wins; they ended the 2011 campaign at 73-89 and fourth place in the N.L. West.

Here’s a look at the last 10 years and which team(s) from each league was the first to win 10 games. (* means the team made the playoffs)

Note: If more than one team made it to 10 wins on the same day, both/all teams are listed. In the 10 years listed below, there are 13 teams listed in the American League and 13 teams listed in the National League.

2011: AL-Texas*; NL-Colorado

2010: AL-Tampa Bay*; NL-St. Louis

2009: AL-Toronto; NL-Florida

2008: AL-LA Angels*/Boston*; NL-Arizona/St. Louis

2007: AL-Minnesota; NL-LA Dodgers

2006: AL-Boston;NL-NY Mets*

2005: AL-Chicago White Sox*; NL-LA Dodgers

2004: AL-Oakland/Minnesota*; NL-LA Dodgers*/Florida

2003: AL-Kansas City/NY Yankees*; NL-San Francisco*

2002: AL-Cleveland; NL-San Francisco*/Arizona*

Here’s a few more stats about the teams that were first to 10 wins in a season in the American League and National League…

* Of the 26 teams listed above that were first to 10 wins, 22 (84.6 percent) ended the season with winning records. The four that did not: Colorado, 2011, 73-89; Minnesota, 2007, 79-83; LA Dodgers, 2005, 71-91; and Cleveland, 2002, 74-88.

* Ten of the 26 teams won their division that year.

* Twelve of the 26 made the playoffs that  year.

* Four of the 26 went to the World Series that season: Texas in 2011, Chicago White Sox in 2005, NY Yankees in 2003, and San Francisco in 2002.

* The White Sox are the only team in the last 10 years to be the first team to 10 wins in their league and win the World Series that same season.

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