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2001 Seattle's Place in History

Thanks to my recent completion of Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein's excellent Baseball Dynasties book, I've decided to figure out the SD scores for the 2000-2002 Seattle Mariners; the 2001 team of course tied the single season wins record for the regular season. Let's take a look at their SD Scores for the three seasons listed. SD scores are Standard Deviation Scores; the SD is the measure of the dispersion of a group of numbers. SD Score is how many SD's a team was from the league average, according to Runs Scored and Runs Allowed. So you get an SD score for a team's distance from the mean of runs allowed, and add that to the runs scored figure to get the SD Score. Lost? So was I until I reread that a few times. I'm sure someone will explain it better in the comments section...

Anyways, here are the scores:

SD Scores

 2000: +1.85
 2001: +3.35
 2002: +1.22

+1.85 is good, and +3.35 is amazing to be honest. The 2002 score of +1.22 is what keeps this team from being a true SD dynasty. Let's compare their one, two, and three year scores over time:

2001's score of 3.35 would rank 13th among 20-21st century teams, tied with the 1990 Oakland Athletics. Odd that the team that ties the wins record only has an SD that ranks in at 13th overall, isn't it? Let's check their pythagorean record for these same three years before we go any further.

 2000: 92-70
 2001: 109-53
 2002: 92-70

And their actual records:

 2000: 91-71
 2001: 116-46
 2002: 93-69

For comparison's sake, let's list a few teams around the ranking of the 2001 Mariners by one-year SD score.

  1. 1975 Reds +3.42
  2. 1988 Mets +3.39
  3. 1990 A's +3.35; 2001 Mariners +3.35
  4. 1969 Orioles +3.34
As far as their two-year SD score goes, they are in for a massive drop in the charts. Here is their ranking in that regard:
  1. 2000-01 Mariners +5.20
  2. 1923-24 Yankees +5.19
  3. 1971-72 Pirates +5.18
  4. 1941-42 Dodgers +5.16
  5. 1909-10 Athletics +5.14
And their three year does not even make the top 50 charts, coming in at +6.42. The lowest on the top 50 three-year? +7.26. The M's were a ways off for the three year, but their two-year run is obviously impressive since it ranks in the top 50 of the twentieth and twenty first centuries.
Let's take a look at their roster:

The lineup led the league in runs scored, and with good reason. Of course, the MVP was not the most valuable offensive player on the team that year. We can see who the most valuable player among Ichiro and Boone was using Net Runs Above Average.

MLVr: .357
Rate2: 108
NRAA/G: .437
NRAA/162: 70.79

MLVr: .219
Rate2: 106
NRAA/G: .279
NRAA/162: 45.198

Boone was just worth much more than Ichiro per game and for the season in 2001. Ichiro did have a spectacular season though.

The rotation was excellent, especially when Piniero replaced the the ineffective John Halama in the rotation. They led the league in fewest runs allowed, with the help of a fantastic bullpen as well as rotation.

Hall of Famers
Rob and Eddie had a section with actual and their own picks for Hall of Famers in each team section. I will do the same here as far as the personal picks go. Let's check a few players using JAWS to see who is eligible:

Edgar Martinez 1987-2004
Career WARP3: 104.8
Peak WARP: 45.9
JAWS: 75.35
BRAR: 930
BRAA: 699
FRAA: -40

Martinez played the bulk of his defensive games at third base, but I think for our purposes we'll compare him to the average Hall of Fame hitter in general.

Average Hall of Fame Hitter
Career WARP3: 102.5
Peak WARP: 43.1
JAWS: 72.8
BRAR: 618
BRAA: 354
FRAA: 36

Martinez is definitely worthy. He is the only one who has finished his career so far on that team. Let's check a few active players:

John Olerud 1989-present
Career WARP3: 110.6
Peak WARP: 45.7
JAWS: 78.15
BRAR: 744
BRAA: 500
FRAA: 132

Olerud also passes the test for hitters handily.

Ichiro will one day be able to make a Hall of Fame case as a player who has significantly changed the game, and also for his accomplishments. That time is not now though. How about for pitchers?

Jamie Moyer 1986-present
Career WARP3: 84.3
Peak WARP: 33.8
JAWS: 59.05
PRAR: 833
PRAA: 67

...and your average Hall of Fame pitcher:

Career WARP3: 95.1
Peak WARP: 43.6
JAWS: 69.4
PRAR: 964
PRAA: 205

Looks like this Mariners' team could have 3 Hall of Famers, which certainly is not too shabby at all.

Overall, if this team had won a World Series their place in history would be much higher. It is difficult to swallow losing in the ALCS when your considered the 13th best statistical team of all-time, so I'm not here to rub that in. The point of this article is to show everyone just where Seattle stands in the history of baseball's dynasties, and as far as the 2001 team is concerned, that spot is pretty lofty.