Monday, August 31, 2015

The Toronto Blue Jays outscored other teams by a historic level in 2015

The Toronto Blue Jays have by far the best offense in baseball this season. This can be seen by looking at their MLB-best .340 OBP or their MLB-best .457 SLG. Getting on base and collecting extra-base hits are excellent ways of scoring, but I want to look at actual runs, if only because this Toronto team has been especially good at that in 2015. The Blue Jays scored 891 runs this season. Compared to a team like the 1999 Indians, who scored 1,009 runs, 891 doesn't look impressive, but boy is it ever.

UPDATE: This was was originally written with more than a month to go in the regular season, but has been updated with final regular season numbers.

The Blue Jays averaged 5.50 runs per game. The MLB average was 4.25 runs per game, which means the Blue Jays were 1.25 runs above the MLB average.

To try and provide some context for just how impressive Toronto's run scoring this season has been, I've gone back and looked at every season since baseball began expanding in 1961, to see how many runs per game every team scored, and to see how each season's leader's number compared to the league average for that year.

It turns out Toronto is farther above the MLB-average than any team has been since the Big Red Machine.

Leaders in runs per game as compared to the MLB average for that season (1961-2015):

1) 1976 Reds: 5.29, MLB average: 3.99 (+1.30)
2) 2015 Blue Jays: 5.50, MLB average: 4.25 (+1.25)
3) 2003 Red Sox: 5.93, MLB average: 4.73 (+1.20)
4) 2007 Yankees: 5.98, MLB average: 4.80 (+1.18)
t5) 1982 Brewers: 5.47, MLB average: 4.30 (+1.17)
t5) 1998 Yankees: 5.96, MLB average: 4.79 (+1.17)
7) 1999 Indians: 6.23, MLB average: 5.08 (+1.15)
8) 1996 Mariners: 6.17, MLB average: 5.04 (+1.13)
9) 2011 Red Sox: 5.40, MLB average: 4.28 (+1.12)
t10) 1965 Reds: 5.09, MLB average: 3.99 (+1.10)
t10) 2013 Red Sox: 5.27, MLB average 4.17 (+1.10)

If you compare every team from the last 55 seasons' run scoring per game to the MLB average for that season as a percentage difference, instead of a counting-number difference (because an extra run per game didn't mean as much in the year 2000 as it did in 1968), the results at the top don't change.

1) 1976 Reds: 32.6%
2) 2015 Blue Jays: 29.4%
3) 1965 Reds: 27.6%
4) 1982 Brewers: 27.2%
5) 2013 Red Sox: 26.4%

Not only are the Blue Jays destroying the MLB average, they're miles ahead of any other team. The Yankees have scored 4.72 runs per game, which means the Blue Jays are 0.78 ahead of them. That's a massive gulf between #1 and #2.

Largest gap between the top two scoring teams in any season (1961-2015):

1) 2015 Blue Jays: 5.50, Yankees: 4.72 (+0.78)
2) 1976 Reds: 5.29, Phillies: 4.75 (+0.54)
3) 2007 Yankees: 5.98, Phillies: 5.51 (+0.47)
4) 1982 Brewers: 5.47, Angels 5.02 (+0.45)
5) 1964 Braves: 4.96, Twins: 4.52 (+0.44)

No team since MLB began expanded beyond 16 teams has ever outscored its closest competitor to the extent the Blue Jays have so far this season. No team has even come close to what the Blue Jays just accomplished, in terms of outscoring any other team.

They have a remarkable offense, one of the very best in baseball history.

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