This is a guest post from my brother, Keith. You can follow him on Twitter at @keefersunited. He doesn't tweet that much.
I made a lot of spreadsheets. It took me a long time. I’m going to write about them. Enjoy?
Late Thursday night, for no specific reason, I thought to myself, “Are the Astros historically unique in how good they are at home yet how terrible they are on the road?”
Short Answer. No.
Long Answer. Probably not.
However, there are some interesting things about the 2015 Astros and the Astros in general. Here’s what I did. I compared the season Home and Road winning percentages (W%) for every team since the beginning of time (1901 according to Baseball Reference). I then subtracted their Road W% from their Home W% to get their differential W% (dW%). For instance, if a team had .600 Home W% and a .350 Road W%, they had a dW% of .250. Good teams can have a high differential as well as bad teams.
After ranking all 2422 seasons based on dW%, I found the unfinished 2015 season of the Houston Astros sits at 25th all time. Not too shabby. Within the top 1% all time. The top team all time was the 1945 Philadelphia Athletics with a differential W% of .356. This was not a good team. They had a home W% of .527, but a road W% of .171. That’s 13 wins and 63 losses. That’s unfathomable. In second place is 1903 Athletics. This was actually a great team at home but still finished under .500 on the road accounting for the large .338 differential W%.
However, 1903 was a long time ago. 1945 was less long ago, but also weird for other reasons. So I wanted to look at where the 2015 ‘Stros would wind up without teams pre-expansion, pre-integration, and pre-digital clocks? Probably pre-digital clocks. So I decided to use an arbitrary cut off point of 1962. Now I can either claim this is due to this being an Astros site so I’m focusing on the formation of a Houston Franchise. Or I can argue that this is when both AL and NL leagues were playing 162 games. Maybe I’ll make that a poll at the end of the post. (I won’t).
Once I took away all of the fake baseball before 1962, I was left with 1,428 individual seasons. The 2015 Astros now jump up to 14th. Still sitting around the top 1%. Here the top hit is 1996 Coors Field with .333 dW%. Pre-humidor, Post-digital clocks.
Now, obviously this season isn’t finished and all of this work was fruitless and probably pretty dumb. BUT, If the Astros won out at home and lost out on the road, they would end up with a .346 differential W% catapulting them to the top spot since 1962 and 4th all time. Here’s hoping.
One final thing that I found interesting. RoadStros does not seem to be a unique or new thing for the Houston Astros. Of the Top 100 highest dW% seasons since 1962, 10 of them have come from Houston. 6 of those are in the Top 20 and 3 are in the Top 10.
So as you watch the rest of the season with a deep sense of dread for those last 6 road games, just know that you are in good company with past Astros fans. Mostly though, I like to think the Astros players just miss us when they’re on the road. That’s sweet guys, we miss you too. Come home.