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How Useful is the Pythagorean Expectation? May 18, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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The Pythagorean expectation is a method used to approximate how many wins a baseball team “should” have based on its offense (runs scored) and its defense (runs allowed). As the linked article points out, there are some problems with the formula. As far as I’m concerned, the most useful application of an expected win percentage is to compare teams that are otherwise similar. Let’s say, for example, that I have two teams that have identical records and I want to predict which team will win an upcoming series. In that case, an expected win percentage would be useful to indicate which team has more firepower over time.

What’s the perfect way to test this? One-game playoffs. Behind the cut, I have the results of some number-crunching I did to test whether the Pythagorean expectation generates useful results.

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