The O Zone, a creation of MLB.com, measures a team's ability to score runners once they have reached second or third base, as well as its ability to prevent opponents from scoring runners from second or third.
It is a statistic not unlike football's red zone and hockey's power play -- stats that have become the accepted standards when measuring a team's ability to succeed when inside the 20-yard line, in the case of football, or when it has a man advantage, as in hockey. And conversely, in preventing opponents from cracking the end zone or finding the back of the net.
Each team has an "offensive" O Zone Factor percentage, detailing its ability to score runners from scoring position, as well as a "defensive" O Zone Factor percentage that measures its ability to prevent its opponents from bringing home runners from scoring position. The "O Zone Factor" is the result of subtracting the defensive value from the offensive value and, the higher the number, the more likely the team is to win.
Let's say the Cardinals scored 43 percent of runners who reached second or third in 2012, while only allowing 37 percent of opposing teams' runners in scoring position to reach home. Subtract .370 from .430 and the result is .060 -- that would be St. Louis' O Zone Factor.
In most cases, teams with higher O Zone Factors are teams that find themselves in the playoff hunt, while teams with lower rates were not contenders.
Here's how the O Zone Factor is calculated:
RS RISP% = The percentage of runners who scored after reaching scoring position
RS RASP% = The percentage of opposing runners allowed to score after reaching scoring position
O Zone Factor = The difference between RS RISP% and RS RASP%
A new section featuring detailed O Zone statistics and related winning percentages will be available soon.