When I post MLB rankings, hear a lot about which teams won a series of three or four games from another team or about a team's record over the last ten games. My response to all of these is that these numbers don't mean anything because they're arbitrary.
If a team sweeps another or wins a series and completely outscores the other team, then there's a case for saying one team is better than the other. Unless the losing team dominates the next two series and the winning team tanks. But squeaking out two wins and getting blown out in the other game is such a weak argument.
And what's up with a team's record over the last ten games? How does anybody justify the significance of ten games? Is it because our number system is based on a factor of ten, and that's because we have ten fingers we can count on? That's the most logical reason I can come up with. So please, help me out with this one.
I propose that the least significant number of games on which to judge a team's performance is fifteen. This number is based on three factors:
- Teams typically play six to nine games on the road and then at home. Sure, this can be as little as four and as many as ten, but six to nine is typical. Fifteen games allow us to evaluate a team's performance over the course of least one full home stand and one full road trip.
- With about five or six pitchers in the starting rotation, this allows the team to play the ENTIRE rotation two or three times. One or two rotations would be enough but three will allow each pitcher to play both at home and on the road. (And please quit telling me one team is better because of so-and-so, unless so-and-so is throwing every pitch for that team).
- Each team can typically play about four series in fifteen games. That should be enough teams to judge their performance against, especially this early in the season when nobody really KNOWS how good most of the teams are.
So there you go. I dare you to come up with a better system, even if you have to count on your toes.