The Pythagorean Formula of Baseball by Ryan Taylor ’19, Tuesday, December 11, 1 – 1:45 pm, Stetson Court Classroom 101, Mathematics Colloquium
Abstract: Since Bill James introduced a formula in 1986 relating a baseball team’s runs scored and runs allowed to their winning percentage, the formula has become widely used to better understand how successful teams are and how successful they could be. Though the formula requires only these two simple, accessible statistics, it yields an estimate of winning percentage that is consistently accurate to within 4 games of a team’s record in a 162-game season. We will show why this formula works using probability and the distributions of runs for a sample of teams in the 2018 MLB season. We will also introduce some of the ways this formula is useful for front office personnel.