Padres and Expected Run Value


Grit your teeth, shut your eyes tight, and let’s just get through the next couple of sentences because I know you’re tired of hearing it.  The Padres offense often ranks at or near the bottom of the league.  Their run-scoring ability can make soccer games seem high-scoring.  They don’t hit home runs, and they don’t cross the plate.  There we go, it’s over.  Like an abused puppy, you’re probably cowering in the corner by now, afraid of another verbal assault on your team’s terrible offense.  Instead, I’m going to shed new light on what the Padres do well.

The Padres spend their money well, relative to runs scored and wins.  While spending money wisely does not equate to play-off appearances, it does help a cash-strapped team understand the specific requirements their team must meet in order to even have a chance.  With getting the most out of their money being the number one priority for a team like San Diego, let’s take a look at how well they did in 2011.  Below are the 2011 payrolls for all 30 Major League teams in 2011 according to USA Today and their runs scored according to ESPN.

As you can see, the average Major League payroll in 2011 was $94,828,803.  The average runs scored was 692.  Based on these figures, we can calculate the expected runs for each Major League team.  This is a rudimentary calculation, and can only be utilized after each season, but will help us figure which teams used their money best in terms of runs.  First, let’s calculate the average cost per runs for the league ($94,828,803/692 = $136,968).

Using the $136,968 figure, we can now calculate the expected runs for each team in 2011 by dividing each team’s payroll by the average cost per run.  Then we can calculate the RV (run value) for each team by subtracting their expected runs from their actual runs.

As you can see, the Padres outscored their expected runs by 258, seventh best in the league.  While the expected run values for the small-market teams are unrealistically low, the point is made pretty clearly.  Teams can score runs without spending a ton of money.  The Padres do this better than 23 other teams in the league.

For anyone who says run value doesn’t matter, look no further than the Diamondbacks and the Rays.  They ranked number two and number five in run value, and both made the postseason.  The Padres are on the right track, but need to probably jump up into the top five.  If they can get there by scoring a few more runs, they should put themselves in a position to compete for a play-off berth.