2014 MLB Season: Run Pools

By Carlton Chin
Colorado Rockies Stadium
Isaiah Downing – USA TODAY Sports

Some MLB fans participate in a “run pool” where teams get credit for “run squares” in a similar way to bingo.  The winner is the team that covers all run squares from zero runs to 13 runs. The most common pool goes up to 13 runs; however, some pools may differ on run totals. Participants are randomly assigned teams. These types of pools are commonly called “run pools” or “13 run challenge pools.” Note that teams do not get any extra credit for repeating a square.

Current leaders of the pool for the 2014 baseball season have matched 10 of the 14 run squares. Laggards have covered seven of the 14 squares. However, one of the main drivers of predicting the winner of the pool is which squares are covered. For instance, based on 2014 game scores, it is much harder to score 13 or 12 runs (roughly one percent for each event) than to be shut out (eight percent). In addition, the most common result is for teams to score two to four runs (roughly 12 to 14 percent for each of these squares).

Based on this season’s baseball results as of Friday evening, April 18, 2014, we estimated the odds of each team winning a 13 run pool. The leaders include:

— Colorado Rockies, missing just the 0, 7, 11 and 13 (14 percent chance of winning pool)
— Pittsburgh Pirates, missing the 6, 9, 10 and 13 (12 percent chance of winning pool)
San Diego Padres are distant laggards, needing to cover everything from the 7 though the 13 (0.2 percent chance of winning pool)

The Rockies, with their hitters’ park, is a favorite to win the run pool.

Carlton Chin is a quant researcher and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.

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