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Lucky and Unlucky Teams

Back in March I wrote about trying to ascertain a team's true talent level during past events. In a nutshell, you don't want to look at actual win-loss record and even Pythag (looking at runs scored and allowed) is faulty, though a lot better than straight won-loss. Instead, you should look toward BaseRuns which helps tell you how many runs the team should have scored and allowed based on the batter-pitcher outcomes that happened.

(In that post I went on to talk about how tRA can be used to improve further on that, but it's a smaller degree of improvement than using BaseRuns over Pythag and for the purposes of this post, would be far too time intensive to do across all teams.)

So, in that spirit, and inspired by LFoJL I present the methodology behind this ranking of lucky and unlucky teams. I have access to BaseRuns data courtesy of The Hardball Times (up through end of play last Friday) and so I have said true talent level for each team. Taking that, I computed the expected wins and losses over a 162 game season for each team. Then, I simply subtracted that number from each team's current won-loss record, projected out to a 162 game season. Here's an example:

Tampa Bay Rays
Actual record: 55-37
Actual Win%: .598
Projected Record: (.598 * 162) = 96.8 wins
BaseRuns, Runs Scored: 444.81
BaseRuns, Runs Allowed: 364.5
BaseRuns, Expected Win%: (pythag formula) = .592
Projected Record: (.592 * 162) = 95.9 wins
Difference: +0.9 wins (positive = lucky)

There you have it. Pretty simple eh? Alright, time for the rundown. Keep in mind the difference is projected over a 162 game season. It does not reflect the number of games at this current point in time.


  1. Anaheim Angels. 95.8 (Actual). 78.7 (BaseRuns). +17.1 (Luck)
  2. Minnesota Twins. 90.6. 76.9. +13.7
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates. 75.7. 63.2. +12.5
  4. Cincinnati Reds. 77.6. 69.5. +8.1
  5. St. Louis Cardinals. 89.6. 83.4. +6.2

(Honorable Mention: Astros (+6.0) and Marlins (+5.5) )


  1. Atlanta Braves. 74.9. 89.1. -14.2
  2. San Diego Padres. 64.5. 74.3. -9.8
  3. Cleveland Indians. 68.7. 76.5. -7.8
  4. Colorado Rockies. 67.2. 74.9. -7.7
  5. Seattle Mariners. 62.7. 69.0 -6.3

(Honorable Mention: Blue Jays (-5.9) and Red Sox (-5.2) )