Return to Average: Update 3

For the past two weeks (here and here) I’ve been tracking the Pittsburgh Pirates offense relative to NL average. This week, and for the coming weeks, I’ll be also tracking pitching/defense. I will no longer be tracking batting average/Obp/Slg., as it’s too time consuming and, ultimately, it is runs scored/allowed that matters.

The reason it is important to compare the Pirates offense to league average is because it is likely that their pitching/defense is only slightly better than league average. They are going to need something close to a league average offense if they hope to win 75-85 games this year.

I am adding pitching/defense runs allowed because if it is kept low enough it will give the offense some wiggle room.


The first five columns are pretty self-explanatory (“Week” is Monday’s game to the end of Sunday’s game). “Runs left to Avg” is the number of runs the Pirates offense will have to score to for the rest of the season in order to achieve the current, projected, NL average number of runs (662). “Avg. RS/G to avg.” is the number of runs the Pirates will have to average per game to achieve a league average number of runs.


This table is exactly the same as above, except it displays Runs Allowed, and the number of aggregate runs allowed the rest of the season in order to remain below league average.

Weekly Observation

This week we saw the first evidence of statistical corrections. The offense had its best week of the season, while the pitching/defense had its worst. Both were due to regress in the direction they did. Unfortunately, the pitching really slipped, while the offense only produced like an league average offense, thus a 3-4 record for the week.

Weekly – “Putting it in Context”

In order to score a NL (projected) average number runs this year, for the rest of the season the Pirates offense will have to score runs at pace similar to the 2011 Phillies (4.40), or the current pace of the 2012 Diamondbacks (4.24).

In order to allow less than/equal to the NL (projected) average number of runs this year, for the rest of the season the Pirates pitching/defense will have to allow runs at pace equal to/less than 2011 NL average (4.16), or the current 2012 pace of NL average (4.08).

After 28 games: 2012 (2011) Pirates are 12-16 (13-15) with 78 (99) Runs Scored  104 (119) Runs Allowed and a Run differential -26 (-20).

The Most Important Graph

This graph traces both runs scored and runs allowed from 662 to 0 (662 = NL projected total average runs per team). It also displays run differential. Ideally, Pirates fans want the black line below the yellow line, but to have a chance a .500, the two lines must at least remain close together. It is as close to an iron law as there is in baseball that a team has very little chance of coming close to 81 wins unless it scores about as much as it allows.

Since it is unlikely for the offense to reach zero (i.e. 662 runs), it is important that the yellow line flatline as much as possible in order to give the offense some wiggle room.


The last week caused some widening in the spread between the two lines. Run differential went from -14 to -26.

That’s all for this week.


Thanks for stopping by.

Consider following me on Twitter @highoutsideball

While you are here, you might be interested in this ongoing project “WAR of Positions.” 

9 thoughts on “Return to Average: Update 3

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