Over at The Ringer, Ben Lindbergh put together a really good look at whether the “tanking” phenomenon is bad for baseball. In actuality, not all that much has changed even as the narrative around losing has been reshaped. As part of Ben’s case, he pointed to updated numbers for the Hope and Faith Index, a measure of competitive balance that I introduced in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2017. My research shows that the average deficit has continued its downward trend, even as we entered an apparent “super team” era.
My chapter in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2017 was published online today, covering competitive balance throughout baseball’s history. The analysis is built off a new metric—the “Hope and Faith Index” (HFI)—that simply but effectively provides a window into how competitive baseball is at any point in time. The piece is up for a 2017 SABR Analytics Conference Research Award for Historical Analysis/Commentary.
I also chatted about the piece earlier this month on The Ringer‘s MLB Show; the episode can be found here.