WBC run differentials

Corrected (nothing major, except that my previous errors understated Korea’s success)

Just some interesting quick calculations here. Three games in a round, or six overall, are not a lot to go by in terms of judging who is “better.” Run differentials can give us a little more leverage (though only a little more).

For the four teams in the semi-finals, runs by and runs against, in the second round:

Cuba, 14-12
DR, 10-11
Korea, 11-5
Japan, 10-7

For the round 2 losers:
PR, 10-11
Ven, 9-9
USA, 8-12
Mex, 5-8

So, the “right” teams won, by run differential (although the DR and PR can’t be distinguished this way, as both were a run over even).

Over the whole tournament–slightly less useful, as teams play different set of opponents, depending on their first-run pool:

Cuba, 35-32
DR, 35-23
PR, 32-17
Ven, 22-20

Note that Puerto Rico, which was in the same pool with Cuba, was a good deal better in the first round, but could not sustain that edge in round 2. Cuba and the DR, who meet in a semifinal, were not in the same first-round pool.

Korea, 26-8
Japan, 44-15
USA, 33-20
Mex, 23-16

Wow, the Korea and, especially, Japan differentials are huge! It helped that they had the two Chinas as opponents, of course, but it could be a small warning sign for Korea–undefeated so far–that they managed only 26 runs over the six games. You can’t argue with that pitching, however! The USA total is increased by the 17-0 drubbing of South Africa.

It looks like Japan should be favored against Korea, based on performance against the same set of opponents through the first two rounds. Of course, it’s decided in one game, so don’t place any wagers based on this information. Cuba vs. DR is harder to handicap. Of course, DR is loaded with major-leaguers, and has the better tournament differential, and for these reasons should be the favorite. On the other hand, they played different opponents in the first round, so the data are less meaningful. Moreover, all four teams in the San Juan pool in round 2 were virtually even. It should be a fun (albeit rather wet and cool) weekend in San Diego!

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