The Kings of October

We analyze data from the last 25 MLB postseasons.

MLB Postseason

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As the 2016 MLB Postseason rapidly approaches, I thought I would take a look back into the data for the last 25 MLB Postseasons. To do this, I went to my favorite source for sports data, baseball-reference.com. I gathered the data for each team for each series in which they played since 1990. I uploaded the data into Qlik Sense and I started my analysis. Here are some of the insights that I found.

Postseason Appearances

The Yankees have qualified for 18 out of the last 25 MLB Postseasons with the Braves (17), Cardinals (13), Red Sox (11), and A’s (10) rounding out the top 5.

If you break that out by decades, the 1990’s - Braves (8), 2000’s - Yankees (9), 2010’s - Cardinals (5).

Postseason Winning

The New York Yankees, who appeared in the most postseasons, top the list with the most wins since 1990 with 99, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals (71), Atlanta Braves (65), Boston Red Sox (50), and the San Francisco Giants (46).

Per Game Stats

When analyzing team stats, I decided to visualize them per game. The results were not what I was expecting.

Home Runs Per Game

Although the Yankees (183) have hit, by far, the most postseason home runs since 1990, the Tampa Bay Rays have hit 42 home runs in 30 games played for a per game average of 1.4.

Strikeouts per game

When I think of dominant pitching staffs, the Kansas City Royals are not the first team to come to my mind, but since 1990, they own the highest strikeout rate per game at 9.03 having struck out 280 batters in 31 games. Once again, the Yankees pitchers struck out the most batters (1.24k) but their per game average is 7.45.

Home Runs Per Game by Decade and Series Type

It is tough to compare total home runs decade-to-decade since 1990-1993 only had two playoff rounds, the League Championship series (NLCS, ALCS) and the World Series round. From 1995-2011 MLB added a wild card team which added an additional series in each league, this is known as the Divisional Series (NLDS and ALDS). In 2012 the present postseason format was initiated with the expansion of the wild card round (NLWC, ALWC). So I decided to again look at these totals on a per game basis.

If we look just at the World Series, we can see that, in the 1990’s, 0.93 homeruns were hit per game. In the 2000’s, that number jumped up to 1 per game and in the 2010’s, that number has dropped back down to 0.8 homeruns per game.

Although I noted data from the team level, there is equally as interesting insights at the player level. For example:

Did you know:

  • Marino Rivera of the New York Yankees has a postseason ERA of 0.70. 
  • Manny Ramirez hit 29 homeruns in his postseason career.
  • Chase Utley hit 7 World Series home runs in his postseason career with the Phillies.

These and the team findings that I mentioned above, are just a few of the insights that I gained from the data. I made the app available for you to click through and find your own insights. Use the comments section below to tell me what you discovered in the data.

Photo credit: Keith Allison via Foter.com CC BY-SA

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