Explaining the World Baseball Classic’s ‘Total Quality Balance’

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

As is often the problem in tournaments that use pool play, sometimes two or more team are tied for a single place (or places) in a group. Despite only being a week old, the 2013 World Baseball Classic has already stirred up heated debate after Chinese Taipei, Korea, and the Netherlands all tied atop Pool B with identical 2-1 records.

It was announced that for this WBC, such a problem would be resolved by the ‘Total Quality Balance’ (TQB) instead of previous tiebreakers used. Despite the complicated terminology and formula, TQB is simply a fairer way of determining run differential.

The official definition of TQB:

“TQB is the sum of runs scored divided by the number of innings played on offense, minus the number of runs allowed, divided by the number of innings played on defense. For purposes of determining TQB, only the scores from the games between the tied teams are to be used in the calculation.”

What the formula does is to take in slightly adjust the formula for runs differential, which is runs scored minus runs allowed. The tweak is slightly farer in the rare case in which two teams have the same run differential but one team used fewer innings to score or gave up an equal number of runs in a larger amount of innings.

Once TQB has been simplified, it is easy to calculate the TQB, or ‘Fancy Run Differential’. Only games against those tied for the place are taken into account. All of the winners were victorious when they were the home team.



Sat, Mar 2, 12:30 PM Fri, Mar 1, 11:30 PM Chinese Taipei 4, Australia 1


Sat, Mar 2, 7:30 PM Sat, Mar 2, 6:30 AM Netherlands 5, Korea 0


Sun, Mar 3, 2:30 PM Sun, Mar 3, 1:30 AM Chinese Taipei 8, Netherlands 3


Mon, Mar 4, 6:30 PM Mon, Mar 4, 5:30 AM Korea 6, Australia 0


Tue, Mar 5, 12:30 PM Mon, Mar 4, 11:30 PM Netherlands 4, Australia 1


Tue, Mar 5, 7:30 PM Tue, Mar 5, 6:30 AM Korea 3, Chinese Taipei 2

With games 1, 4, and 5 removed from the equation, these are the results:


Runs Scored

Offensive Innings

Runs Allowed

Defensive Innings


Run Differential

Chinese Taipei





















And your Pool B winner is Chinese Taipei, with an ‘impressive’ .24 TQB! As you can see, using run differential would have had exactly the same results as the TQB. We will likely see a tie again in the future, and the losers can commiserate with Korea and Canada as losers of a tiebreaker in Classic lore.

About Gabriel Fidler

Extra Innings UK covers baseball around the world, focussing on the sport at the national team level, with features on prominent players, scouting reports, and occasional breaking news. We are fully credentialled by MLB and have covered the World Baseball Classic, continental championships, and the U.S. minor leagues.
This entry was posted in Asia, Chinese Taipei, Europe, 한국, 조선, Netherlands, South Korea, Tournaments, World Baseball Classic, 中華 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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