VBL Teams and Pythagorean Expectation

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 9.01.33 AM
Kotheimer’s teams have overperformed in both 2018 and 2019

This is a fun little grid I’ve worked on the last couple seasons.

Bill James, the godfather of sabermetrics, devised a formula that would estimate the “expected” winning percentage of a baseball team, given that team’s runs scored and runs allowed. Using this, we can tell which teams have over or under performed.

Like most of the things I do with the Valley League that mirror major league baseball, we have to keep in mind that the Valley League’s sample size is pretty small. One bad blowout, for example, can skew the expectation one way or the other, since the Valley only plays 42 regular season games.

But I thought we could still take a peek at the charts. First, 2018, sorted by expected wins:

2018 Actual Expected Expected
Team W L % RS RA % Wins Difference
Charlottesville 24 18 0.571 257 168 0.701 29.4 -5.4
Front Royal 24 18 0.571 251 199 0.614 25.8 -1.8
Waynesboro 24 18 0.571 247 210 0.580 24.4 -0.4
Purcellville 25 17 0.595 234 205 0.566 23.8 1.2
New Market 24 18 0.571 283 254 0.554 23.3 0.7
Winchester 22 20 0.524 225 218 0.516 21.7 0.3
Covington 26 16 0.619 234 230 0.509 21.4 4.6
Harrisonburg 20 22 0.476 222 222 0.500 21.0 -1.0
Staunton 20 22 0.476 273 274 0.498 20.9 -0.9
Strasburg 17 25 0.405 250 312 0.391 16.4 0.6
Woodstock 5 37 0.119 171 356 0.187 7.9 -2.9

According to the formula, the Tom Sox “should” have won 29 games instead of 24 in 2018, putting the team at the top of the “negative” scale. Woodstock and Front Royal also underperformed by more than one game (this is the “season that shall not be named” for the Bandits).

Covington is at the top of overperformers, winning 4.6 more games than they would have been expected to. Purcellville also overperformed by more than a game.

Now, 2019:

2019 Actual Expected Expected
Team W L % RS RA % Wins Difference
Waynesboro 31 11 0.738 335 199 0.739 31.0 0.0
Charlottesville 25 17 0.595 289 231 0.610 25.6 -0.6
Woodstock 25 17 0.595 294 246 0.588 24.7 0.3
Strasburg 26 16 0.619 271 228 0.586 24.6 1.4
Staunton 19 23 0.452 259 273 0.474 19.9 -0.9
Harrisonburg 18 24 0.429 201 220 0.455 19.1 -1.1
New Market 19 23 0.452 229 260 0.437 18.3 0.7
Winchester 18 24 0.429 240 278 0.427 17.9 0.1
Covington 21 21 0.500 194 235 0.405 17.0 4.0
Purcellville 15 27 0.357 220 282 0.378 15.9 -0.9
Front Royal 14 28 0.333 218 300 0.346 14.5 -0.5

No one vastly underperformed in 2019- only Harrisonburg even reached -1.0. Look at Covington, though- at +4.0! That puts Alex Kotheimer’s last two teams at +8.6 over the last two seasons. (Do two seasons constitute a trend? Hmm. Maybe.) Strasburg came in second in ’19 at +1.4. Interestingly, Waynesboro hit the number of wins exactly.

I’m not sure why these numbers came out this way, of course, but it’s still fun to look at.

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