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09/21/2004 11:16 AM ET
MLB.com introduces the O Zone Factor
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New York -- MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, said today that it has launched a new statistic called the O Zone Factor.

The new statistic, now available exclusively on MLB.com and the 30 individual team sites, measures a team's success at scoring runners from second or third base, as well as its ability at preventing opponents from doing so.

The O Zone calculates the percentage of runners in scoring position (second or third base) that ultimately cross home plate. Take a team's offensive O Zone percentage, subtract its defensive O Zone rate, and the result is the O Zone Factor - a measure of a team's success with runners in scoring position on offense compared to when they are pitching.

"Statistics have always been the DNA of Baseball," said Cory Schwartz, Manager of Statistics for MLB.com. "Baseball and its numbers have been inseparable since the sport's inception over 100 years ago. The O Zone Factor is a new piece of data for fans to use when evaluating the varying strengths and weaknesses of each team's offense, and how well they prevent their opponents from scoring." Schwartz concluded.

Here's an example of how the O Zone Factor works: The Cardinals top the Majors with an O Zone Factor of .064, meaning they are not only efficient at bringing home runners from scoring position, but extremely efficient at preventing their opponents from scoring in those similar situations. The Yankees, on the other hand, rank in the middle of the pack in O Zone Factor, but they lead the majors in home runs and so they have a high winning percentage.

While there are many team statistics which help explain a team's winning percentage and its playoff chances, recent history has shown that a positive O Zone Factor is important : from 1999-03, 34 of the 40 playoff teams finished the season with positive O Zone Factors (meaning they had more success batting than in the field with runners on second and third). Last year's World Champion Florida Marlins had the ninth best positive O Zone Factor and in 2002 the World Champion Angels had the best O Zone Factor of all 30 teams.

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