Some “Extra” Stats From 2018 VBL Season

Like most of my projects, this one came about accidentally. I was listening to a Joe Posnanski podcast when he mentioned that all through history, major league teams, when they have a lead going into the 9th inning, win at a 95% clip. The percentage can vary slightly, but year after year and decade after decade comes out at about the same. (His larger point was that closers are wildly overrated. Teams that are winning at the end of games almost always end up winning, whether they have a dominating closer or not. If you would like to discuss that further, the comment section is at the bottom.)

So of course, I thought, “What about the Valley League?” So I went back a few years, and have kept track this season to see where the VBL might fall in this discussion. With all of the extra factors in amateur ball (less experienced players, rougher playing surfaces, less control, less power, etc) do amateur teams come out about the same?

Well, let’s take a look:

Leading entering 9th
Year W L Pct
2018 218 12 0.948
2017 210 16 0.929
2016 200 9 0.957
2015 227 15 0.938
2014 211 15 0.934
Total 1066 67 0.941

Collectively, the Valley League is just a little bit under that 95% benchmark over the past 5 seasons. 2017 came in at 93%, the lowest, while 2016, at 96%, is the highest. Pretty similar.

But while I was tracking this statistic, I was also taking a look at record of teams that reached certain run totals:

Score 7+ Runs
Year W L Pct
2018 142 33 0.811
2017 155 33 0.824
2016 129 29 0.816
2015 121 19 0.864
2014 125 38 0.767
Total 672 152 0.816

So over the past 5 years, teams that scored 7 or more runs in a game won at a 81.6% clip. Look at 2014, though- that’s weird.

Score 5+ Runs
Year W L Pct
2018 196 78 0.715
2017 201 86 0.700
2016 197 66 0.749
2015 197 63 0.758
2014 182 78 0.700
Total 973 371 0.724

Scoring 5 or more runs reduces the percentage significantly, of course. 2014 is not quite as much an anomaly, with 2017 coming out the same, but still below the 5-year total percentage.

Now the opposite end of the spectrum:

Score 3 or Less Runs
Year W L Pct
2018 19 127 0.130
2017 23 124 0.156
2016 23 148 0.135
2015 40 164 0.196
2014 44 138 0.242
Total 149 701 0.175

Teams only won 19 times in 2018 while scoring 3 or less runs! Interesting how the win totals start at 44 in 2014, and decrease almost every year. It would seem to indicate that more runs are scored now than five years ago.

Anyway, these charts should give everyone something to chew on today. Enjoy!

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