The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hey, wait a minute...

One line in particular from Aaron Gleeman's Marlins piece stuck with me (the article is linked to in the previous post):
The Marlins look to me like an 80- to 85-win team, which is essentially what they've been for this whole decade (408-401 since 2000, with 79, 76, 79, 91, and83 wins).
That's an interesting observation, and it helps to put things into perspective. For me, two things jump out.
  1. Being an 80 to 85 win team isn't such a bad thing, especially for those of us who can remember back to the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
  2. I'm a little surprised that the number isn't higher, but last year's record was right around the mean and the World Series season helps to offset the below .500 records in the previous seasons.

Whenever I think of Aaron Gleeman though, I think of the Twins. As you probably know, Aaron writes about the Twins on his blog all the time. As you also probably know, the Twins have won the last three AL Central titles.

Now, it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but since 2000 the Twins have racked up win totals of 69, 85, 94, 90, and 92. That averages out to 86 per year (4 games better than the Marlins 82).

It's interesting, at least to me, because the difference over the past five years isn't that significant, but the on field results sure have been. The Twins have been to the playoffs three times, but haven't gone home with an AL Pennant or a World Series title lately. The Marlins, on the other hand, have only been above .500 twice in the past five years, but they have one World Series title to show for it.

You almost have to wonder what the results would look like if the teams switched divisions and leagues. I'd venture to guess that the Marlins would be the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central this year, like the Twins are in reality. By that same token, the Twins would probably be the favorites in the NL East for many, but not all. Some would still favor the Braves, and fewer still the Mets and Phillies.

Over the past five years though if the Twins had been in the National League, they might have had a better chance of reaching the World Series.

All in all it's interesting. As a fan, I was surprised to see how narrow the differences are at a 5-year level, but how significant of a difference it makes in how the clubs are perceived. The Marlins are considered by many nationally to have gotten lucky one year (2003) and that turned into a World Series title. The Twins, who have been in contention at least every year since 2001, are now gaining respect as a formidable franchise that has been constructed to compete over the long haul.

But when you compare the on field results over the past five years, they are not that different from each other. One World Series title or three playoff appearances in five years? It's a tough call - honestly, because those playoffs are sure fun to "be a part of" - but I think I'd take the World Series title.


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