So, where does all of this leave us? Well, I looked at some of the data from these seasons I described above and arranged them in graphs to give you an idea of what those teams have done on average over the four-year window we’ve been talking about. Let’s just take a quick look and then I’ll make a few points about them.
Here’s win percentage per year and average age for association:
And this is run differential per year with average age on the line:
Finally, this charts the runs scored (blue) and allowed (green) over the time range:
Here’s what this all tells me. On average, when you have a young team, that team will improve over the next few years. In the case of the averages from these 20 samples, there was an average increase of 13 wins over those three years. On average, the “Year 0” team won 71 games and the “Year 3” team won 84 (adjusting for strike years). While that may not inspire a ton of confidence, the fact that teams do, on average, show a marked improvement over that time span is a good sign. To make a note about playoff appearances, I’ll tell you that two teams made it in Year 1, one in Year 2, and four in Year 3.
It’s hard to tell what the Royals’ youth will mean for the future. We don’t know how many players will be in the league for twenty years and how many will flame out in the next eight, but it is apparent that much of the improvement relies on teams using a strong, youthful core to build around for future success. If the Royals were to end up with four position players and one or two pitchers that can give them that core, good moves and decisions could hand the team success in the future. And keep in mind that with some of these teams the success then led to more success within five or ten years after this sample range.
The past says that it’s possible for the Royals to ride their youth into future success. But it also says that teams have to make one or two key moves to strengthen their roster for that success. We’ll see what Dayton has in store for this offseason, but it’s fair to say that the Royals are in a good place to move forward. Whether that success materializes remains to be seen.
At the very least this team should be fun to watch in the coming years.
Feel free to let me know if you want more information, data, etc. about what I did. And let me know what you think this means for their future or if you think I interpreted some data wrong.