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O Zone in the postseason
10/12/2004 12:54 AM ET
Last month, MLB.com unveiled a new stat, called the O Zone, that measures a team's success with runners in scoring position.

Using a simple formula -- runners in scoring position (RISP) who score divided by all RISP, a team's offensive and defensive efficiency with runners on second or third can easily be measured. Take a team's O Zone percentage while at the plate, and subtract its percentage when in the field, and you have the O Zone Factor.

The formula proved to be an accurate measure of success in 2004, as the teams with the top 10 O Zone Factors all ended the season with records over .500, and the bottom 10 teams all finished at least 10 games under .500.

With the first round of the postseason now complete, just how accurate has the O Zone been in predicting success this October?

St. Louis, who dominated its Division Series against Los Angeles, had the highest O Zone factor in the first round of the playoffs. The Cardinals drove home 50 percent of their RISP, and only allowed four of the Dodgers' 20 RISP (20 percent) to reach home plate.

Atlanta's O Zone misfortunes contributed to all three of its losses, and helped Houston win its first playoff series in franchise history. While the Braves actually had the same number of RISP than Houston (38), their offensive O Zone percentage was .342, compared to Houston's .500 mark. Better success in the O Zone could have helped Atlanta in all three losses, when it scored only five of 19 RISP (26.73 percent).

The Red Sox plated 17 of 35 runners (.486) while allowing seven of 19 baserunners to score (.368). Their O Zone success helped them cruise to a three-game sweep of Anaheim and return to the ALCS for the second straight season.

Minnesota was the only team in the Division Series to have better O Zone success than their opponent but lose its matchup. However, the difference was so small (Minnesota, 12-for-30 with RISP; New York, 12-for-33) that it didn't affect the outcome of the series, but did help contribute to three close contests in the four-game series.

Here's a look at final O Zone numbers for the eight Division Series teams:

Offensive O ZoneDefensive O Zone
Team RISP Score Percent RISP Score Percent O Zone Factor
St. Louis 26 13 .500 20 4 .200 .300
Houston 38 19 .500 38 13 .342 .158
Boston 35 17 .486 19 7 .368 .117
Minnesota 30 12 .400 33 12 .364 .036
NY Yankees 33 12 .364 30 12 .400 -.036
Anaheim 19 7 .368 35 17 .486 -.117
Atlanta 38 13 .342 38 19 .500 -.158
Los Angeles 20 4 .200 26 13 .500 -.300

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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