Data Says: In baseball, home field advantage is real

Neosmart Technologies founder Mahmoud Al-Qudsi, a Chicago Cubs fan recently crunches the data of over 210,000 baseball games and came up with a compelling case for the home field advantage in the major league baseball.

The average over the past 145 years has been for teams to win 54.7% of the games they played at home and to win some 21.3% more games at home than away. For the 2015 season, teams on average won 54% of their home games giving them a home field advantage of a whopping 17.88%.

What does a home field advantage of 17.88% and 54% of wins taking place at home translate to, though? A home win ratio of 54% means that a team can be expected to win one out of every 12.5 games played at home not because they’re the better team playing that day but because they’re on their home turf. Similarly, of every 13 games played away, a team can be expected to lose one game due to their visiting team status.

As a New York Yankees fan, it is pretty clear that most of the recent rosters have constructed to take advantage of the short porch. This has allowed the team to be consistent when it comes to scoring home runs, and display their batting powers.  The pitching needs for the (new) Yankees stadium are also quite specific and it is not surprising that many pitchers who have found success elsewhere, find it hard to win in New York. The Yankees definitely like the home cooking more than other teams.

In 2017, Yankees played 81 games at home, won 51, lost 30 and hit 142 home runs with 432 runs batted in. On the road, they hit 101 home runs, batted in 389 runs and had a 40-41 win-loss record.  For Yankees the home field advantage is even more pronounced in the postseason: in 2017 they played six games at home and won all six. On the road, they played seven and lost six. I look at the 2018 Yankees line up, which is essentially the same with the notable addition of Giancarlo Stanton, and it is hard not to get excited about the upcoming home season.

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