Quantifying the Game's Most Efficient Attacks

The 2011 World Champs were one of the most effective offensive attacks of the 00's - Dave Reginek

We compile play by play data since 2002, using the overall run expectancy of teams to calculate the most effective offenses of the 2000's.

It is a joy to watch a great offense take their hacks.

Everyone wants their own team to have a high powered offense, a star-studded lineup from the top to bottom.

But nothing is worse than watching a team struggle to score runs, leaving countless runners on base in the process.

That is not a joy - it is torture.

When I think of the ideal offensive attack, I think of efficiency. I want to be certain that my team will make the most of every opportunity and come through when it matters.

So how can we quantify offensive efficiency? Which teams in recent history were the most effective in scoring their runs?

To calculate offensive efficiency, I thought of a number of avenues available to me. For one, I could have calculated R/PA or looked at things like moving runners over via bunt. LOB totals could have been useful for this venture, looking at the rate in which teams score in relation to their LOB totals.

Calculating efficiency through LOB could be deceiving. For one, the team with the least amount of men left on base will most likely be the teams that find trouble getting men on in the first place. Because we are quantifying efficiency, the results will be opportunity independent -- meaning that the most efficient offenses are not necessarily the ones that scored the most, but rather converted their opportunities into runs at a higher rate.

Enter run expectancy totals.

Now, run expectancies are an important part of the game. They determine the weights that go into wOBA and tell us the relative worth of each event in context of its run value. But rarely do we see run expectancies applied to a whole team to evaluate their overall offensive attack. Looking at these run expectancies, we will isolate the teams that truly had an efficient offensive attack.


To begin, I created a run expectancy matrix in Retrosheet for each season since 2002.

Then, I calculated the run expectancies for each team, in every situation -- bases empty, one out; empty, 2 outs; and so on.

Using the actual run expectancy totals for each team, we adjusted by the league average run expectancy for each situation.

NOTE: The league average run expectancy is from the year in which the team played -- so as to account for the scoring environment -- (actual/league_average)*100

Next, we take the average of those adjusted totals to represent the overall offensive efficiencies of each team. However, these totals need to be adjusted by park factors; this will take care of the run-scoring environment in a given park.

Along the way I compiled offensive efficiency into a single metric -- EFF + -- and created it as a "plus stat" for optimal presentation.

The population is of 330 teams spanning 11 seasons. The average EFF + was 100 with a standard deviation around 4.

The top 5 are as follows:


2003 Kansas City Royals -- oEFF: 113.27

Surprisingly, the 2003 Kansas City Royals top our list. With the bases loaded in 2003 the Royals had an accumulative run expectancy of nearing 2.5. Small sample size aside, the Royals converted when the bases were full. With two outs in general the 2003 Kansas City Royals had an oEFF of 130. In the end, the Royals managed to score 836 runs in 2003. Despite their effective offense, they finished a measly 83-79, good for third in the AL Central. In the end, it was the Royals' astronomical ability to perform especially well with the bases loaded and no one out (with an oEFF of 180) that catapulted them to the top of our list.

Below is a table that details situational offensive performance.


Team Outs Bases oEFF
KC 0 Empty 125.54
KC 0 1B only 116.64
KC 0 2B only 135.45
KC 0 1B & 2B 138.54
KC 0 3B only 84.98
KC 0 1B & 3B 116.17
KC 0 2B & 3B 130.46
KC 0 Loaded 178.68
KC 1 Empty 126.36
KC 1 1B only 126.13
KC 1 2B only 140.71
KC 1 1B & 2B 132.34
KC 1 3B only 149.78
KC 1 1B & 3B 121.62
KC 1 2B & 3B 140.65
KC 1 Loaded 131.27
KC 2 Empty 123.10
KC 2 1B only 125.47
KC 2 2B only 123.52
KC 2 1B & 2B 124.36
KC 2 3B only 118.52
KC 2 1B & 3B 168.99
KC 2 2B & 3B 120.81
KC 2 Loaded 134.68

Click here for the 2003 Kansas City Royals roster

2011 St. Louis Cardinals -- oEFF: 110.90

The 2011 World Series champs place second in offensive efficiency. There was no doubt that this team was clutch and great in converting base-runners into runs. In addition, the Cards led the National League in Runs/G, BA, OBP, OPS+, you name it. This team was among the decade leaders in run expectancy with the bases loaded with 2 outs and 1 out, also converting at a high rate with second and third base occupied.


Team Outs Bases oEFF
STL 0 Empty 98.08
STL 0 1B only 105.03
STL 0 2B only 102.61
STL 0 1B & 2B 102.16
STL 0 3B only 103.94
STL 0 1B & 3B 87.24
STL 0 2B & 3B 124.06
STL 0 Loaded 81.56
STL 1 Empty 102.71
STL 1 1B only 103.26
STL 1 2B only 99.67
STL 1 1B & 2B 114.02
STL 1 3B only 117.77
STL 1 1B & 3B 86.47
STL 1 2B & 3B 146.02
STL 1 Loaded 146.63
STL 2 Empty 97.72
STL 2 1B only 103.03
STL 2 2B only 103.69
STL 2 1B & 2B 110.40
STL 2 3B only 98.33
STL 2 1B & 3B 118.64
STL 2 2B & 3B 141.64
STL 2 Loaded 202.25

Click here for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals roster

2010 Colorado Rockies -- oEFF: 110.83

The 2010 Rockies featured a devastating 3-4 combo of Cargo and Tulo, having fantastic years simultaneously. Because of Coors' high homerun rate, the Rockies had above league average rates for all two out situations due to the likelihood of a well timed home run. The Rockies were especially effective with two outs and a runner on third with a oEFF of 160.


Team Outs Bases oEFF
COL 0 Empty 121.70
COL 0 1B only 113.85
COL 0 2B only 137.37
COL 0 1B & 2B 99.66
COL 0 3B only 106.85
COL 0 1B & 3B 121.40
COL 0 2B & 3B 123.24
COL 0 Loaded 92.47
COL 1 Empty 120.43
COL 1 1B only 120.68
COL 1 2B only 140.00
COL 1 1B & 2B 117.72
COL 1 3B only 138.69
COL 1 1B & 3B 126.22
COL 1 2B & 3B 124.71
COL 1 Loaded 115.57
COL 2 Empty 119.37
COL 2 1B only 133.09
COL 2 2B only 111.96
COL 2 1B & 2B 140.39
COL 2 3B only 160.37
COL 2 1B & 3B 139.97
COL 2 2B & 3B 101.87
COL 2 Loaded 121.14

Click here for the 2010 Colorado Rockies roster

2012 Texas Rangers -- oEFF: 110.71

The 2012 Texas Rangers featured a stacked lineup that was capable of hitting a ball out of the ballpark 1-9. This is evident by their 128 oEFF with 2 outs and a man on first, where they were 28% times more likely to score in that situation compared to the average team that year. With zero on and zero out, the Rangers had a 118 oEFF -- 18% more likely to score than league average run expectancy would suggest.


Team Outs Bases oEFF
TEX 0 Empty 118.58
TEX 0 1B only 109.32
TEX 0 2B only 134.20
TEX 0 1B & 2B 110.76
TEX 0 3B only 107.02
TEX 0 1B & 3B 98.20
TEX 0 2B & 3B 132.08
TEX 0 Loaded 117.90
TEX 1 Empty 116.42
TEX 1 1B only 112.98
TEX 1 2B only 127.20
TEX 1 1B & 2B 123.59
TEX 1 3B only 114.21
TEX 1 1B & 3B 108.49
TEX 1 2B & 3B 149.31
TEX 1 Loaded 159.33
TEX 2 Empty 134.92
TEX 2 1B only 128.06
TEX 2 2B only 111.20
TEX 2 1B & 2B 101.34
TEX 2 3B only 96.69
TEX 2 1B & 3B 122.81
TEX 2 2B & 3B 147.45
TEX 2 Loaded 146.62

Click here for the 2012 Texas Rangers roster

2007 New York Yankees -- oEFF 110.55

Finally, the 2007 Yankees round out the top 5. In particular, the Yankees had an oEFF of 116 with a no one on and none out, a 141 with bases loaded and no one out, and a 129 with 2 outs and nobody on.


Team Outs Bases oEFF
NYY 0 Empty 116.82
NYY 0 1B only 120.35
NYY 0 2B only 123.35
NYY 0 1B & 2B 111.14
NYY 0 3B only 161.16
NYY 0 1B & 3B 125.66
NYY 0 2B & 3B 142.48
NYY 0 Loaded 141.64
NYY 1 Empty 106.00
NYY 1 1B only 93.85
NYY 1 2B only 115.84
NYY 1 1B & 2B 110.60
NYY 1 3B only 120.38
NYY 1 1B & 3B 126.79
NYY 1 2B & 3B 115.04
NYY 1 Loaded 120.73
NYY 2 Empty 129.43
NYY 2 1B only 115.98
NYY 2 2B only 122.57
NYY 2 1B & 2B 102.97
NYY 2 3B only 125.97
NYY 2 1B & 3B 118.46
NYY 2 2B & 3B 126.99
NYY 2 Loaded 114.84

Click here for the 2007 New York Yankees roster

Lastly -- here is the bottom 25 in oEFF, descending:

Team Season oEFF
SF 2011 85.636
PIT 2012 88.958
ATL 2011 89.436
HOU 2005 89.693
LAD 2012 89.830
SF 2008 92.228
LAD 2003 92.269
SEA 2010 92.376
LAD 2009 92.412
SF 2012 92.482
STL 2010 92.664
SEA 2012 92.802
SD 2004 92.838
PHI 2003 92.895
WAS 2007 92.937
SD 2009 92.981
SD 2002 93.001
LAA 2006 93.330
LAA 2011 93.391
SD 2012 93.502
OAK 2003 93.588
NYM 2009 93.640
HOU 2004 93.793
LAA 2010 93.922
LAD 2006 94.113

*Full Leaderboards are located here*


In future installments we will investigate if offensive efficiency correlates well year-to-year. We will also run tests to see if an efficient offense means a winning team.

Also, tune in to witness how we can find a team's clutch factor through their efficiency totals.

Max Weinstein can be contacted on twitter


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