State of baseball's rebuilding teams: Contenders already?

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Last winter, with baseball's free-agent class mostly dangling in limbo, super agent Scott Boras was about all we had for hardball-related entertainment.

You probably remember many of Boras' metaphor-laden barbs. Like this one: "The team cutting payroll is treating their family where they're staying in a neighborhood that has less protection. They're not living in the gated community of Playoffville."cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

Leaving aside the so-so correlation between payroll and contention, Boras was right about there being a number of teams locked out of Playoffville. In fact, to pat myself on the back, my analysis on baseball's widening competitive gap has proved to be on the money, insofar as it pertains to the 2018 season.266

In that piece, written just after the winter meetings, I created a "stratification score" for each big league season, which is basically the leaguewide standard deviation of the Pythagorean winning percentage, expressed as integers. The higher the stratification score is, the more disparity there is in team performance across a league. The smaller it is, the more parity exists.

Through Monday's games, there were three teams on pace to win 100 games: the Yankees (114), Red Sox (110) and Astros (101). There were three teams that won more than 100 last season as well, the first time since 2003 that had happened, and just the sixth time ever. If the Nationals had won three more games, we would have had our first season with four 100-win teams.

It could happen this season. Not only do we have three teams on a pace to hit the century mark, but the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros all have run differentials that easily project to 100-win seasons. In fact, Houston's MLB-best differential, prorated to 162 games, is that of a 120-win team. But that's not all: Over in the National League, the Cubs (107) and Braves (102) also have 100-win differentials. You might expect the young Braves to regress some, but the Cubs are built to do this.

Meanwhile, you may not want to know what's happening at the other end of the standings. I'm going to tell you, but you might want to cover your eyes if you have a delicate constitution.

There are six teams losing games at rates that, if these trends continue, would drop below the 100-loss floor: the White Sox (114), Royals (114), Orioles (110), Reds (108), Marlins (103) and Rangers (102). All six of those teams have run differentials to justify those poor nfl jerseys nike china

As you might expect given these extreme early results, the 2018 season is in position to post a historic stratification score: 109.6. That would be the highest score of the division era (since 1969). It would be the second highest of the post-war era (since 1947), surpassed only by 1954. We haven't seen a stratification score over 100 since 1955.

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