How many hits does it take each MLB team to score a run?

It is still very early in the MLB season, so drawing any conclusions from the numbers can be a fruitful effort; however, I think that observing this data early on can be helpful to identify potential outliers and see which teams will regress toward the mean. 

The premise behind this look at hits per game and runs per game is that on average, teams will need two hits to produce each run scored. (I discovered this in Chapter 2 of the remarkable Trading Bases by Joe Peta which I highly recommend for any baseball fan.) This has held true for the past decade, despite the lowest total coming just last season.

MLB Ratio of Hits per Run, 2008-2018
Year G R H H/R
2018 372 4.61 8.81 1.91
2017 4860 4.65 8.69 1.87
2016 4856 4.48 8.71 1.94
2015 4858 4.25 8.67 2.04
2014 4860 4.07 8.56 2.10
2013 4862 4.17 8.66 2.08
2012 4860 4.32 8.65 2.00
2011 4858 4.28 8.7 2.03
2010 4860 4.38 8.76 2.00
2009 4860 4.61 8.96 1.94
2008 4856 4.65 9.06 1.95
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 4/14/2018.
Why do I bring this up? I want to look at teams early on and see which are greater than or less than 2 by a wide margin to identify who might be expected to score more or less runs going forward.
2018 Team-by-Team Hits to Runs Ratio as of April 14
Team R/G H/G H/R
PHI 5.45 8.00 1.47
TOR 5.54 8.23 1.49
PIT 6.58 10.25 1.56
NYY 5.92 9.31 1.57
NYM 5.55 8.73 1.57
ARI 5.50 8.75 1.59
BOS 6.33 10.17 1.61
ATL 5.54 9.23 1.67
LAA 7.00 11.79 1.68
MIN 4.64 8.18 1.76
SEA 5.10 9.40 1.84
STL 5.00 9.23 1.85
CLE 3.77 7.08 1.88
HOU 4.69 9.00 1.92
CHC 4.46 8.62 1.93
WAS 4.31 8.38 1.95
CHW 4.00 7.83 1.96
COL 4.14 8.14 1.97
OAK 4.92 9.77 1.99
DET 4.08 8.17 2.00
SD 3.64 8.07 2.22
LAD 4.18 9.45 2.26
TB 3.33 7.75 2.33
BAL 3.62 8.46 2.34
MIA 3.83 9.08 2.37
TEX 3.29 8.00 2.43
CIN 3.42 8.33 2.44
MIL 3.77 9.31 2.47
KC 3.27 8.36 2.56
SF 3.42 9.17 2.68

As you can see above, the Phillies (PHI) and Blue Jays (TOR) are both generating above league average runs per game while each teams’ hits per game is below league average. One could reasonably guess that both teams will score on average one fewer run per game going forward. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Giants (SF) and Brewers (MIL) are both above league average in hits per game and below league average in runs per game. Once again, it would be reasonable to predict more runs being scored by those two teams in the future. 

Three teams that are just on fire so far in both categories are the Pirates (PIT), Red Sox (BOS), and Angels (LAA). Each should calm down. I expect to see Pittsburgh to fall the soonest. As for Boston and LA, each team has great individual talent, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them remain ahead of the rest of the league all season long.

It will be interesting to revisit these numbers with some more data since the season is only about 7.5% complete. I would say a good time to revisit will be the quarter mark, about 1,200 games in. That should fall around the middle of May. See ya then!

 

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