FanPost

Psst... Wanna win ballgames???

Like many eight-year-old versions of ourselves, the day I learned how to compute a batting average, I had baseball figured out. My baseball memories revolved around the batting average and my TI-55 calculator.

One year we had to use a fourth digit to figure out the batting champion - way cool. Another year, Brett, Carew and Cooper pounded out multiple hits daily that my 9-volt battery died. The best day of my baseball youth was the day Brett hit the double in August that pushed his batting average to .401.

I became a left-handed hitter because of the batting average - that was some powerful critical thinking for an eight-year-old.

Turns out there were more statistic, even better statistics.

Some Hall-of-Fame manager back in the ‘70s, think his name was Weaver, used to just sit around waiting for the three-run homer. My eight-year-old thinking knew better than that, you needed a bunch of left-handed hitters smacking doubles and standing on second with both fists raised in triumph - that's winning baseball. Doubles and hustle - synonymous.

Turns out there are better ways to win ballgames, even the three-run homer.

My fondness for the double will always be there, the Royals have continued to make it a fundamental characteristics of what being a Royals ballplayer is - wearing blue and hitting doubles. We celebrate doubles like Yankees celebrate championships.

Setting aside the wisdom that comes with age, I'm convinced that there is a number, some magical number of doubles a team can hit (while wearing blue) and produce a winning record, maybe even a championship. My TI-55 calculator, with its 31-keystroke limit on programs, has given way to the modern computer and years of raw game data that will finally give me that number I dreamed of many nights way past bedtime listening to Denny Matthews on my AM transistor radio.

My computer has been kind enough to crank out three tables of data to uncover that magic number of doubles that will produce baseball paradise in Kansas City.

The tables show the Win-Loss record for each combination of doubles and homers in the game (just in case that Weaver guy might have been on to something). The first table is the combined baseball record for all games from 2000-2011.

For example, when a team hits three doubles and hits one home run, they have won 61% of those games, scoring an average of 5.7 runs. For doubles, independent of the number of home runs, hitting four results in winning 68% of games. For home runs, independent of the number of doubles, hitting one results in winning 50% of games.

Table 1: 2000-2011 All Teams, All Games

 
 
HR-0
HR-1
HR-2
2B-0
34%
 760-3303 18%  1.5
1253-2298 35%  3.0
1548-1132 57  5.2
2B-1
42%
1771-4726 27%  2.3
2631-3339 44%  3.8
2930-1676 63  6.0
2B-2
51%
1952-3447 36%  3.2
2778-2486 52%  4.7
2978-1188 71  7.0
2B-3
60%
1513-1796 45%  4.1
1877-1200 61%  5.7
2045- 623 76  8.0
2B-4
68%
 847- 652 56%  5.2
1023- 477 68%  6.7
1154- 245 82  9.0
2B-5
76%
 356- 199 64%  6.2
 491- 132 78%  8.0
 505-  84 85 10.3
2B-6
81%
 179-  76 70%  7.4
 251-  43 85%  9.2
 294-  42 87 11.9
 
 
34%
50%
69%

Table 2: 2000-2011 New York Yankees

 
 
HR-0
HR-1
HR-2
2B-0
44%
26- 83  23%  1.7
 42-74  36%  3.1
 84-32 72%  5.7
2B-1
52%
44-112  28%  2.5
111-92  54%  4.2
139-66 67%  6.3
2B-2
61%
61- 77  44%  3.4
 98-76  56%  5.0
149-37 80%  7.6
2B-3
69%
39- 37  51%  4.1
 66-34  66%  6.0
 96-18 84%  8.4
2B-4
77%
18- 17  51%  5.3
 41-14  74%  6.8
 70- 6 92% 10.3
2B-5
85%
 9-  4  69%  6.1
 17- 1  94%  8.4
 25- 4 86% 11.0
2B-6
95%
 4-  0 100%  9.8
  5- 0 100%  9.6
 13- 1 92% 13.5
 
 
37%
56%
77%

Table 3: 2000-2011 Kansas City Royals

 
 
HR-0
HR-1
HR-2
2B-0
28%
26-131 16%  1.9
28- 81 25%  3.3
44-37 54%  5.2
2B-1
30%
58-230 20%  2.5
65-124 34%  3.9
52-47 52%  6.1
2B-2
44%
75-147 33%  3.3
82- 91 47%  4.9
64-37 63%  7.3
2B-3
55%
56- 76 42%  4.6
58- 46 55%  5.9
55-14 79%  8.3
2B-4
61%
27- 30 47%  5.0
32- 15 68%  7.3
24- 6 80%  8.7
2B-5
70%
12- 10 54%  5.8
15-  3 83%  9.0
13- 4 76% 10.1
2B-6
82%
 7-  1 87%  8.8
 9-  2 81%  8.7
 8- 2 80% 10.8
 
 
29%
44%
63%

Making sense of the numbers...

For all teams, the combinations that produce a winning record are:
-four doubles with no homers
-two doubles with one homer
-no doubles with two or more homers

For the Yankees, the combinations that produce a winning record are:
-three doubles with no homers
-one double with one homer
-no doubles with two or more homers

For the Royals, the combinations that produce a winning record are:
-five doubles with no homers
-three doubles with one homer
-no doubles with two or more homers

Sadly, the magic number of my dreams is much higher for the Royals - five doubles a game with no homers - compared to the Yankees who only need three doubles per game. Doesn't seem fair.

The good news is that hitting home runs sure makes winning easier - maybe that Weaver guy knew what he was doing after all - sure seemed wrong when I was eight.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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