Runaway divisional title no guarantee for World Series
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
This season of Major League Baseball marks the 20th anniversary of the sport going to three divisions in each league.
Since 1994, just under 25% of the divisional winners won their division by margin of 10 games or more.
Through games of September 10, two teams (Atlanta and Los Angeles Dodgers) lead their divisions by 10 or more games and one division leader (Boston) has an 8.5 game lead.
Does winning a division by 10 or more games guarantee success in the post-season? Or an assurance of a World Series appearance?
Of the 28 teams that won their division by 10 or more games since 1994, only six made it to the World Series… and only two won the World Series. Here’s a quick look at those six teams:
Won division by 10-plus games and appeared in World Series that year
2011: Texas (won division by 10 games) Lost in World Series
2004: St. Louis (won division by 13 games) Lost in World Series
2001: New York Yankees (won division by 13.5 games) Lost in World Series
1998: New York Yankees (won division by 22 games) Won World Series
1995: Cleveland (won division by 30 games) Lost in World Series
1995: Atlanta (won division by 21 games) Won World Series
Did you know?
* No team won their division by 10 or more games in 2012.
* In 2002, four of the six division champs won their division by 10 or more games. The two teams that did not win their division by 10 games or more, Anaheim and San Francisco, appeared in the World Series that year.
* Five teams have won their division by 20 or more games since 1994. The last to do so were the Angels in 2008. They won the A.L. West by 21 games.
* The Atlanta Braves franchise has won the most division titles by 10 games or more. They have done it five times since ’94. The Yankees and Cardinals have each done it four times.
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