MLB teams: Don’t go under .500 if you want to win the World Series

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: New York Yankees celebrate after thei...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things are not looking good this year for a World Series title for the Toronto Blue Jays. The same for the L.A. Angels. The St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees are still looking good, as are the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants. Arizona, Atlanta and Boston are really looking good.

We’re only a little over two months into the season, but based on some historical stats, we can point to a standard that has determined the eventual World Series champ to see who might be hoisting the trophy this season (and who will not). The standard? Games under .500 during the season.

Here’s the statistical scoop: Of the last 25 World Series champs, 22 were no more than four games under .500 at any time in their championship season. In fact, nine of the last 25 MLB champions were never under .500 in their title season. The nine: Oakland-1989, Cincinnati-1990, Toronto-1992, Atlanta-1995, Florida-1997, N.Y. Yankees-2000, Chicago White Sox-2005, St. Louis-2006, San Francisco-2010.

This season, three teams have never gone under .500: Arizona, Atlanta and Boston. Eleven teams have gone no more than three games under .500 this season: N.Y. Yankees (3 games under .500), Oakland (2), St. Louis (2), Cincinnati (2), Washington (2), Texas (1), San Francisco (1), Colorado (1), Baltimore (1) and Detroit (1). The other 16 MLB teams have all been at least five games under .500 at one time during this season.

Following are the World Series champions that were the most games under .500 in the year they won the title (1987-2012).

Most games under .500, team, season

10: Florida, 2003 (they were 10 games under .500 on May 22)
8: Anaheim, 2002 (they were 8 games under .500 on April 23)
7: Minnesota, 1991 (they were 7 games under .500 on April 20)
4: Arizona, 2001 (they were 4 games under .500 on April 15)
4: St. Louis, 2011 (they were 4 games under .500 on April 9)
3: N.Y. Yankees, 1998 (they were 3 games under .500 on April 6)
3: San Francisco, 2012 (they were 3 games under .500 on April 11)

I guess if there is a lesson to be learned here it’s that if you have to go under .500 in your season and still want to win a World Series, make sure you go under .500 early in the season, preferably in April!

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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2 responses

  1. Thanks Jerry for the great nugget of information.
    Guess the Fat Lady should start singing in Milwaukee and Chicago (both north and south side)!!

    1. Thanks, Bill. Always great to hear from you. Thanks for reading. Doesn’t look good for Milwaukee, but if the starting pitching comes around like it has the last four days, who knows what can happen. It just seems like they’ve dug themselves too big a hole.

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