Tampa Bay Rays: Statistical Impact of Cheating 2018 Red Sox
By Seth Carter
Tampa Bay Rays’ division rivals are reportedly next on the chopping block for sign-stealing and high-tech cheating. We take a look at how it potentially affected the numbers in the Red Sox 2018 Championship season.
The Tampa Bay Rays had a team ERA of 5.17 in Boston in 2018. That’s an abnormally high number considering their total (including 78 innings in Boston) was only 4.29.
With reports that Alex Cora helped facilitate the Astros high-tech cheating system in 2017, then took it to Boston in 2018, we take a look at the potential impact of the James Bond-level spy operations going on in the Al East.
Cora had a video replay room near the dugout hooked into a camera feed from beyond centerfield. The camera was pointed at the catcher and a person monitoring the feed would send a signal to the batter about what type of pitch was coming.
Here’s a look at how the league hit at home versus on the road.
- The League hit .251 at home in 2018.
- The League hit .245 on the road in 2018.
- Boston hit .282 at home in 2018.
- Boston hit .255 on the road in 2018.
The league was six points better at home than on the road. Boston was 27 points better at home than on the road. You have my attention.
Okay, so the Red Sox’s 27 point differential was a massive difference compared to the rest of the league.
For comparison’s sake, the Rays hit .257 on the road (better than the Red Sox) and .260 at home. The Rays were a more reasonable three points better at home. The only team the Red Sox couldn’t beat out for home average was the Colorado Rockies, and at the same time, they were the only team that was close.
The Red Sox were 21 points better than the league’s average difference in home/road averages.
How about during an 0-2 count? I know this is pretty specific, but an 0-2 count is crucial. If a better knows what speed to expect then in theory, they should have better luck at making contact.
Home/Road with 0-2 counts in 2018
- Boston had a .208 AVG and a .232 OBP at home in an 0-2 count.
- Boston had a .182 AVG and a .218 OBP on the road in an 0-2 count.
- The league had a .172 AVG with a .204 OBP at home in an 0-2 count.
- The League had a .168 AVG and a .198 OBP on the road in an 0-2 count.
While the league had a four-point difference in average and a six-point difference in on-base percentage, between home and road splits, the Red Sox had a 26-point difference in average and 14 points better on-base percentage at home.
The Rays finished 2018 13th in runs scored at home with 371. The Red Sox finished first in runs scored at home with a very distant 468. That number was by far the most in all of baseball.
While they were still good in runs scored on the road, the extreme dominance wasn’t there like it was while at Fenway.
Boston finished tied for fourth in runs scored on the road with 408 – 36 runs behind first place.
Do you think Boston’s cheating tainted their 2018 World Championship?