Goldman: The 2018 Boston Red Sox in history: an ill-advised, premature comparison

From SABR member Steven Goldman at The Hardball Times on August 16, 2018:

Just as the Baltimore Orioles, with their wobbling pursuit of a sub-.300 winning percentage, are a team on the verge of historic greatness, the Boston Red Sox are a team grasping at destiny. They currently  boast a cool .711 winning percentage, which puts them on a pace for 115 wins.

Back in 1985, Bill James used the classic “my first baseman is better than your first baseman” method to compare the 1984 Detroit Tigers to six more-or-less contemporary champions. We recently aped James’ format to compare today’s Orioles to six historic under-performers of recent vintage. Herewith we do the same with the Red Sox and six teams that played at or close to their pace—sure, the season’s not over, but these achievements (or lack thereof) make these teams too delicious to wait.

Once again we’ll pursue a faux pennant race through 15 positions, pausing periodically to tot up the standings. Each time a player ranks ahead of another player (via an eccentric evaluation consisting of the subjective and objective, as well as single-season value with just a dash of career value) that counts as a win. The goal is to ask if the Red Sox are the best among the best.

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Originally published: August 17, 2018. Last Updated: August 17, 2018.