Is there correlation between roster size and wins, a surprising answer

With nothing better to do until NFL games begin this Sunday morning I wondered if there was a correlation between how many players appear on a roster during the season and how many wins a team has. The thinking is that a losing team has more players either through call ups from the minors or through waivers and trades to find a winning combination. And that if a team is winning it has less need to bolster the roster. It seems obvious, but is it?

This season the Mariners have used 47 players, 25 position players and 22 pitchers. With fourteen games to go and 66 wins, their win total likely will be 71 or 72 games. In both 2010 and 2011 the Mariners also used 47 players and won 61 and 67 games respectfully. So they are winning a few more games this season, but then the projection for 71 to 72 could fall short. They have lost five of six and they still have four in Detroit. But we will hope for the best.

Last season in winning 75 games they used 41 players. More wins fewer players.

But the theory probably goes out the window, or maybe it was an aberration, but the Mariners used 44 players in both 2007 and 2008. In 2007 they won 88; in 2008 61 wins. It could be they were so bad in 2008 they just figured the heck with it, we’ll go down with the ship with the crew we have.

Observant readers will take note of two numbers however, especially Mariner fans with short memories, something that all Mariner fans need by the way. The numbers were 88 for wins 2007 and 85 for wins in 2009. I bet you thought it had been longer since the team was over .500, I know I was. It has only been four years since the M’s won 85 games. It seems that every year they win 72, but no, once in a while they are good.

Mike Hargrove

Mike Hargrove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is strange about those 80 plus win seasons is that the year between those years, 2008, as noted above, they won 61 games. That begs the question as to how a team can win 88 games, fall to 61 wins the next season, then rebound to 85 the next. One possibility is that during 2007 when the Mariners were winning, Mike Hargrove, Mariner manager resigned and John McLaren took over. But during the losing 2008 season he was replaced by John Riggleman for the last 90 games during which the M’s were 36-54. He was replaced by Don Wakamatsu in 2009 and he lasted until the following season when he was replaced with 50 games left. In other words, managerial upheaval.

It is all Mike Hargrove’s fault. He was the first domino to fall. It’s nice to have a scapegoat now isn’t it? 




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