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
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
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
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
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!