The table below attempts to answer the title question. In the table, three measures are used to evaluate the effectiveness of an offense. 100 equals league average, while 115 is elite, and 85 is poor. The numbers highlighted in blue indicate the team is top 5 in the category and in red, the bottom 5.
The first is measure consistency; consistency in this study is calculated by the number of innings scored as a percent of total innings played. The logic behind it is that if a team scores in multiple innings during a game, then they are usually not susceptible to long scoring droughts or bouts of futility. Additionally, sometimes a side effect of being a consistent offense is clutch hitting; partly because of the aforementioned aversion to long slumps.
The second measure is explosiveness; in this study it is measured by the number of runs scored per scoring inning. In others words, when a team scores in an inning, how many runs do they score? Do they explode for 4 or 5 runs, or are their rallies killed by poor hitters wallowing in the bottom of their lineup?
The third measure is offense index; it is measured by calculating the geometric mean
of the consistency and explosiveness.
Average was not used because it can skew the offense index; a team with a 150 consistency and an 80 explosiveness would have an offense index of 115(when it should be around 109), because of the high consistency.
A team like that may score a run every three innings and that’s not enough to win a ballgame.
The converse of that, a team with 80 consistency and 150 explosiveness, may score three runs in an inning and none for the rest of the game; that is also usually not enough to win a ballgame.(Unless you’re the Phillies!)
There are no real surprises in the table, the Yankees ranked number one, and the Mariners were dead last. Although there were no surprises, there were some oddities. The Tigers and D-Backs were explosive offenses, but were more prone to slumps than the rest of the league. Both teams were also prone to strikeouts; Austin Jackson struck out 170 times, Mark Reynolds struck out 211 times and had a .198 batting average! The Rangers and the Marlins had elite-level consistency, but the Rangers’ explosiveness was slightly below league average and the Marlins explosiveness was near the bottom of the league.
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