Editorial Note: The latest information graphic from the talented Craig Robinson of Flip Flop Fly Ball provides us with more evidence to suggest that the Major League Baseball playoffs are just one big crap shoot with no dependence on when a team clinches its spot in the post season [D.P.].

Comments (6)

  1. Because I lack basic comprehension skills I briefly misread this headline as “Is playoff success affected by Team Cliches”.

    …. which would be a cool study too I guess.

  2. I’m not sure I follow your logic here. Assuming the sample size is large enough, your data DOES suggest that when you clinch affects your success. Consider:

    Clinching with < 5 games left = 56% of teams
    Clinching with 5 < games left 10 games left = 16% of teams

    Compare that with the World Series winners:

    Clinching with < 5 games left = 65% of World Series Winners
    Clinching with 5 < games left 10 games left = 12% of teams

    So overall, the number of World Series Winners is over represented in the group that clinched the latest (a 16% increase), and under represented in the group that clinched the earliest (a 25% drop). Additionally, the gains by the group that clinched the latest came more at the expense of the teams that clinched the earliest.

    In conclusion, assuming that the results are statistically significant, your data implies that there is a negative effect of clinching too early and the effect is strongest for teams that clinch REALLY early.

    • Sorry…stupid editor. Should read like this:

      I’m not sure I follow your logic here. Assuming the sample size is large enough, your data DOES suggest that when you clinch affects your success. Consider:

      Clinching with < 5 games left = 56% of teams
      Clinching with 5 < games left 10 games left = 16% of teams

      Compare that with the World Series winners:

      Clinching with < 5 games left = 65% of World Series Winners
      Clinching with 5 < games left 10 games left = 12% of World Series Winners

      So overall, the number of World Series Winners is over represented in the group that clinched the latest (a 16% increase), and under represented in the group that clinched the earliest (a 25% drop). Additionally, the gains by the group that clinched the latest came more at the expense of the teams that clinched the earliest.

      In conclusion, assuming that the results are statistically significant, your data implies that there is a negative effect of clinching too early and the effect is strongest for teams that clinch REALLY early.

  3. Are you using clinched meaning “secured a playoff spot” or clinched as in won the division/wild card? Just looking at this season the Nats and Braves have already clinched playoff spots, but we might have to wait till the last day to see who wins the East and who wins the wild card.

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