Just how good were the 2015 Kansas City Royals?


By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
November 3, 2015, 1:00 PM EST.
@PGordonPBR

George Brett mentioned the other day how he believed the 2015 champion Kansas City Royals were a better overall club than the 1985 squad, the last to win a World Series [audio here].

Is he right?

Well, let's take a look.

I began exploring potential mathematical formulas about two years ago, searching for an unbiased numerical measurement that could easily rank baseball clubs across eras [read more about the formula and creation here]. After extensive research, I established a formula using a regression analysis that was on par with the Pythagorean Theorem.

Including the 2015 season, the formula now includes data from 2,430 teams dating back to the 1900 season.

Formula = .500 + (OPS * .098) + (RDpG * .095) + (WHIP * -.052)

Having added the 2015 season into my database, the top five Royals' teams are 1977, 1980, 1978, 1976, and 2015. Brett's '85 club ranks as the 11th best team in franchise. history, so he's right, statistically the '15 version was better.

My research indicates OPS, Run Differential per Game, and WHIP are the three statistics most directly correlated with winning percentage.

2015 Royals: .734 OPS, .512 RDpG, 1.28 WHIP
1985 Royals: .714 OPS, .296 RDpG, 1.30 WHIP

Going a step further, let's look at how the 2015 Kansas City Royals rank among other World Series champions dating back to 2000 - the number in parenthesis stems from the formula highlighted in the article above.

1. 2007 Boston Red Sox (.637)
2. 2002 Anaheim Angels (.632)
3. 2014 Boston Red Sox (.627)
4. 2004 Boston Red Sox (.621)
5. 2009 New York Yankees (.607)
6. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks (.596)
7. 2008 Philadelphia Phillies (.575)
8. 2010 San Francisco Giants (.573)
9. 2005 Chicago White Sox (.565)
10. 2015 Kansas City Royals (.555)
11. 2011 St. Louis Cardinals (549)
12. 2012 San Francisco Giants (.546)
13. 2003 Florida Marlins (.539)
14. 2000 New York Yankees (.538)
15. 2014 San Francisco Giants (.538)
16. 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (.515)

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