April 14, 2011

Range Of 2011 Wins Through Random Chance: 68 To 117

I enjoy the pre-season simulations/projections that SG runs over at Replacement Level Yankees Weblog, and I have linked to them in recent years.

He also ran the rest of the season depending on the different scenarios of the outcome of the recent series against the Yankees. After Boston won two of the three games, the projections were a dead heat:
           W      L
Red Sox   91.4   70.6
Yankees   91.3   70.7
These simulations always remind me of Bill James's "2,000 Years of Willie Mays", which I wrote about seven (!?!) years ago. James explains that a player could hit .330 one year and .260 the next (with a corresponding drop in home runs and RBI), and while media and fans would concoct all sorts of possible reasons for the slump, it could have happened simply because of bad luck. I have always been fascinated by this stuff.

With the Red Sox off to such a dismal start, I wondered what the worst seasons were of the thousands that SG ran. How many games did they win in a year in which all the breaks went against them? How many did they win when everything went right?

SG sent me some information from the 5,000 seasons he ran through Diamond Mind -- and through nothing but random chance, Boston's win totals ranged from 117 to 68!

The 2011 Simulated Red Sox finished at or under .500 in 100 of the 5,000 seasons (2%).
68-94 -  1 season
72-90 -  2 seasons
73-89 -  1 season
74-88 -  1 season
76-86 -  7 seasons
77-85 -  8 seasons
78-84 - 14 seasons
79-83 - 12 seasons 
80-82 - 17 seasons 
81-81 - 37 seasons
They won 100+ games in 1,057 seasons (21.1%). The best seasons:
117-45 -  1 season
114-48 -  5 seasons
113-49 -  2 seasons
112-50 - 11 seasons
111-51 - 12 seasons
110-52 - 14 seasons
The Yankees' best seasons were 114 wins (once), 113 (three times) and 112 (three times). Their lowest win total was 65. They were .500 and below in 250 of 5,000 (5%) seasons and they won 100+ games in 677 seasons (13.5%).

The average season for both teams:
           W      L
Red Sox  94.4   67.6
Yankees  92.4   69.6


Brad said...

I'm glad you find things like this and publish them.

I keep telling myself it's a long season, these guys are too talented to let this go on all season, maybe they are pressing and will settle down, etc... and I actually believe that. But it will be VERY nice when things start to turn around.

Until then, some mathematic support is a welcome respite from my anecdotal justifications.

nellyvan said...

Well I'm glad I stumbled upon this. Thank god for math.

Rasputin said...

And this is why the nattering nabobs drive me insane.

there is FAR more luck in this game than most people are willing to admit.

Pokerwolf said...

Thanks for the neat data, Allan!

The phrase "This is why they play the games!" comes to mind.