Jaffe: Do sizzling starts lead to great finishes?

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at Baseball Prospectus on April 18, 2012:

The Dodgers, who bolted out of the gate by winning nine of their first 10 games, are off to the hottest start in the majors. They’re not exactly steamrolling opponents; five of those wins were by a single run, including a pair of walk-off wins on Friday and Sunday. …

Nonetheless, the history of teams that start the season either 9-1 or 10-0 is a rather positive one. Since 1901, 35 teams have done so besides the 2012 Dodgers—six of them at 10-0—with 18 going on to reach the postseason, nine winning the World Series, and only one finishing below .500. Their collective winning percentage was .576, approximately the equivalent of a 93-69 season. Separating the 10-0 teams from the 9-1 ones, the sextet of perfect teams were actually outperformed by those with one blemish, producing a .568 winning percentage, three playoff teams, and one champion, compared to .578 and 15 playoff teams with eight champions.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16501

Originally published: April 18, 2012. Last Updated: April 18, 2012.