04 November 2016

2016 MLB Postseason: Recapping the Projections

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.

First of all, thanks to all of you who have followed my 2016 MLB Postseason projections. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed producing them.

My RPScore projections had their best postseason since 2013, when they correctly projected the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals in six games.

Most of the error occurred on the American League side of the equation. My RPScore ratings continually under-projected the success of the eventual AL Champion Cleveland Indians, ranking them below both the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox (teams the Tribe handily dispatched). Picking the Chicago Cubs was the right call, however (and I certainly wasn't alone in that projection). Ultimately, the simulator correctly picked four of the seven postseason series, missing the final result by an average of 1.7 games.

The eventual final outcome ranked highly on the list of possible outcomes throughout the postseason. A Chicago Cubs win over the Cleveland Indians in six games was in the top 5% of all projections before the start of the postseason, just outside the top decile at the start of the Division Series, in the top 25% at the start of the LCS and fourth out of eight at the start of the World Series. Always better than a coin flip, the accuracy of the projection suffered as my model continued to underestimate the Indians.

The RPScore rating system was most successful on the margins this postseason, correctly identifying the Cubs as a powerhouse and the top-seeded Texas Rangers as unsustainably outperforming their true record. While keeping in mind there's a wide margin of error here (probably around .050), my power ratings were unable to account for the success of the Dodgers and Indians or for the struggles of the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox.

I'll be back with at least one more post: a World Series Probability Added analysis of the 2016 World Series. Check back soon for the conclusion of my 2016 MLB Postseason coverage.

02 November 2016

Indians, Cubs Evenly Matched for Epic Game Seven

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.

With the exception of "play ball," there is perhaps no more exciting phrase in sports than "game seven." And that's what we have tonight: a game seven between two teams sharing a combined 176-year title drought. One way or another tonight, one of the two longest championship slumps in Major League Baseball will end. Which one will it be?

By the narrowest of margins, my simulator has the Chicago Cubs as the favorites in tonight's deciding game of the 2016 World Series. But fear not, fans of the Cleveland Indians: the game is essentially a coin flip. Between the Cubs' superior RPScore and the Indians' home field advantage, the two squads are almost as evenly matched as possible.

In theory, this should make for a classic that will echo through the ages. In practice, nothing is assured. What is assured: RP will be back soon after the conclusion of the 2016 World Series with a recap of the playoffs and the model and simulator's performance this past month. For those of you who have been following my coverage this far, thanks as always for your readership.

01 November 2016

Cubs Survive, Tribe Still Big Favorites

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.

The Chicago Cubs staved off elimination for at least one more game, but they remain 3:1 underdogs to the Cleveland Indians. The math here is pretty simple. The Cubs need two wins, but the Indians only one. The Cubs enjoy the statistical advantage in RPScore, but the Indians enjoy the advantage of playing on their home turf.

The Tribe's home field advantage and the Cubbies' RPScore advantage just about cancel each other out. That means tonight's game, and the potential seventh game, are essentially coin-flips.

Tonight's game is 50-50. A 50-50 chance of either team winning tonight means a 50% chance of a game seven, which would itself be 50-50. The Indians win it all if they win tonight (50%) or tomorrow (25%). Add 50% to 25% and you get the Indians' 75% shot.

If the Cubs survive, we're in for an epic game seven and a preview of the (very obvious) projections for both teams. If the Indians win, we'll have the end of 68-year-old title drought and a 2016 postseason recap. Tune back in for either one after tonight's big game.

30 October 2016

Tribe Huge Favorites to End Sixty-Eight-Year Title Drought

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.

The Cleveland Indians are one win away from their first World Series title since 1948. There's an 86% chance the Tribe will get there, according to my simulations. The Chicago Cubs will need to force a seventh game in Cleveland if they're to end their far longer, more legendary drought. It's not out of the question, but the odds are long.

In 41 out of every 100 runs of the simulator, Cleveland completes the feat tonight on the North Side of Chicago. Will the Cubs keep their World Series dreams alive? Will the Indians close it out at Wrigley? Either way, I'll be back with new projections or a recap of this exciting 2016 MLB postseason.

29 October 2016

Indians, Favorites Again, Steal One in ChiTown

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.

The first World Series game on the North Side of Chicago in 71 years was an instant classic, if not a favorable one for the home club. A 1-0 pitchers duel put the Cleveland Indians up 2-1 in the 2016 World Series, which they are now projected to win 58% of the time.

There is a scant 15% chance, according to my simulator, that the Indians can win-out and finish the series in Chicago, clinching their first title since 1948; the most likely outcome is that the Tribe wins it all in game six at home. The Chicago Cubs, on the other hand, will need to push the series back to Cleveland if they're to have a chance to end their 108 year drought—an 85% possibility. There's a 43% chance of a World Series game seven.

27 October 2016

Cubs Rebound versus Tribe, Reclaim Frontrunner Status

This post is one in a series about the 2016 MLB Playoffs and World Series.

Last night, the Chicago Cubs did unto the Cleveland Indians what the Indians did unto them the night before. By knotting up the 2016 World Series at one game apiece, the North Siders established themselves as 65% favorites as they head back home to Wrigley.

In the most frequently simulated scenario, the Cubs win out and claim their first World Series title in 108 years at home in game five. The Indians best hope is a seven game series that ends with Cleveland claiming its first title in 68 years at Progressive Field.

Game three will have the greatest impact of any game in this postseason thus far. Check back afterwards to see how it affects each team's standing in the remaining contests of the 2016 postseason.