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A look at offensive volatility and win expectancy

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Al Bello

Offensive volatility is a topic that Bill Petti, of FanGraphs, has been focusing his research on. A few weeks ago hitter volatility was re-introduced after some more research was done. Basically this is the overall concept of hitter volatility: Petti wanted to see how players distribute their performances throughout the season. Is one hitter more consistent, whereas another hitter has one great performance with a mix of awful games? The original article can be read here.

With that information, Petti now wanted to apply offensive volatility and applied it to team offensives to see how it gave teams a better chance of scoring and winning games. The piece can be seen here.

In general, the literature has suggested if you’re comparing two similar offenses, the more consistent offense is preferable throughout the season. The reason has to do with the potential advantages a team can gain when they don’t “waste runs” in blow-out victories. The more evenly a team can distribute their runs, the better than chances of winning more games.

In 2012 the Baltimore Orioles and the Cincinnati Reds were two of the most consistent teams in baseball. According to VOL, they ranked fifth and third, respectively. In terms of wins, the Orioles won 93 games in 2012, but were expected to only win 82. The Reds won 97 games, yet were only expected to win 91. Both did a fairly good job at beating their expectations.

The Red Sox on the other hand, were on the opposite side of the spectrum. Their VOL score was 23, which puts them in the bottom half of baseball. Their 2012 win total was 69 wins, while they were expected to win 74.

Question for the community:

1) How can offensive volatility be improved?