MLB run scoring is down. A lot:
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There are many causes of decreased run scoring. Jeff Zimmernan at The Hardball Times thinks that one solution is to expand the number of MLB teams:
Why should there be expansion? One reason is the run scoring environment. Run production has dropped from from a steroid-era high of 5.1 runs per game per team in 2000 to 4.1 last season. Pitching is now the dominant force in the game. The last four times the majors expanded, runs increased as the pitching talent was spread thinner. Looking at the two seasons before an expansion of teams and the two seasons after, the average increase in runs scored per game was a third of a run. Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower as pitching talent becomes more and more concentrated.
This is an interesting, testable hypothesis: when there is a more concentrated talent pool of potential MLB players, run scoring decreases. So, I tested it. Below is a basic OLS regression with MLB run scoring as the dependent variable, and the number of MLB teams divided by the US population as an independent variable, controlling for the designated hitter. Here’s what came out:
Okay, don’t get scared off by the scary statistics! The important thing on this table is that little P>t value next to ‘teamsper.’ That test statistic shows no statistically significant relationship between the ratio of MLB teams to the population and the number of runs scored per game. The designated hitter, on the other hand, is responsible for an additional .34 runs per game, all else being equal. Continue reading Expansion Won’t Help Run Scoring