Keeping in theme today at FanGraphs with the look at teams in general, I decided to take a look into the AL East and examine how the three contenders, Boston, New York and Tampa have performed so far to date.
First of all, we have the traditional benchmark, won loss record. At time of writing, they look as follows:
New York, 65-42, –
Boston RS, 62-44, 2.5
Tampa Bay, 60-48, 5.5
Looking at run differential paints a slightly different picture:
Boston RS, 63-43, –
Tampa Bay, 63-45, 1.0
New York, 61-46, 2.5
Run differential does not tell the whole story however, as there are various other factors, namely luck, that can still skew results this far into the season. Instead, I like to look at a couple other measures. One is straight BaseRuns. If you are not familair with the model, here is a decent starting point.
BaseRuns concludes that Boston has been really lucky at keeping runs off the board, that the Rays have been a touch unlucky at plating runs and that the Yankees have been very slightly unlucky on both ends. BaseRuns would set the standings as follows:
Tampa Bay, 64-44, –
New York, 63-44, 0.5
Boston RS, 59-47, 4.0
Three measurements, three different leaders. In fact, each team appears in each possible spot in the respected order. We can introduce a fourth method here, looking at discrete units of the team (pitching, defense, offense) with our best metrics and see where the teams stack up. That will be part 2.