In the course of debating the merits of bunting, contact versus strikeouts, and manager influence my worthy opponent(s) in the debates have, at times, stated that (paraphrasing) "it doesn't make much difference". Of course the question of whether a manager, player, or tactic has ‘much' influence on wins, or a team getting to the playoffs, can be a matter of mere opinion. Thanks to some on line statistics, whose accuracy I have not verified, I present the following:
- In the years 2000-2013 divisional titles were won by three games or less 38% of the time. By one game or less-18%.
- In the years 2000-2013 the bottom seeded playoff team beat out the next best team (i.e., team with the best record NOT making the playoffs) by three games or less 57% of the time. By one game or less-32%. Source: http://www.shrpsports.com/mlb/stand.htm
- Using 20,000 games (years unknown, presumably recent) about 30% of all games were won by one run. Source: http://www.thelogicalapproach.com/baseball_run_lines.htm These statistics do not answer the argument of whether a particular manager makes ‘much' difference or whether making contact outs versus striking out are of ‘much' difference for determining team wins. Perhaps the net change in runs scored or net change in games won is relatively small regarding the factors being debated. However, it is apparent to the writer that the factors referenced here, if they affect a game by merely one run, or the season win total by a net one game, often have important playoff consequences. Management of a team, and its fans, should worry about not just the primary concern of who to put on the roster and whom to give playing time, but also secondary factors. There seems to be a lot of parity among the most talented top 25% of teams in a given year, so relatively minor factors can make a difference.
P.S. In this FanPost I am going to suggest, hopefully with Patrick's blessing, that when a poster presents statistic information in comments or FanPosts that he/she give the source for the data used. Totally voluntary of course.