23 June 2017

Ratings and Projections through 6/22: Houston Astros at High Water Mark

The Houston Astros are playing at the top of their game, posting their highest RPScore of the season thanks to yesterday's road victory over the Oakland Athletics. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers are ascendant and the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals are hanging on, despite their skids.

RPScores Trend for Select Teams (Season to Date)

Top Teams through 6/22:
  1. Houston Astros (.622)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.610)
  3. New York Yankees (.585)

16 June 2017

Ratings and Projections through 6/15: Astros, Yankees Battle for Top Spot

The New York Yankees are charging hard for that top RPScore spot, but the Houston Astros remain kings of the hill for now.

RPScores by select teams (season to date)

Top Teams through 6/15:
  1. Houston Astros (.604)
  2. New York Yankees (.602)
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers (.594)

09 June 2017

Ratings and Projections through 6/8: Astros, Nats on Pace to Win 100+

The top three teams remain the same on the RPScore leaderboard, with the Washington Nationals threatening to break into the club. Meanwhile, my projections continue to expect the Houston Astros to win well over 100 games.

Win Projections with 80% Prediction Intervals

Top Teams through 6/8:
  1. Houston Astros (.619)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.591)
  3. New York Yankees (.589)

Projected AL Seeds:
  1. Houston (106 - 56)
  2. New York (95 - 67)
  3. Cleveland Indians (87 - 75)
  4. Boston Red Sox (86 - 76; 1st WC)
  5. Seattle Mariners or Tampa Bay Rays (82 - 80; 2nd WC)

Projected NL Seeds:
  1. Washington Nationals (100 - 62)
  2. Los Angeles (98 - 64)
  3. Chicago Cubs (86 - 76)
  4. Colorado Rockies (93 - 69; WC)
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks (90 - 72; WC)
  6. St. Louis Cardinals (81 - 81; 1st out)

Comments and Observations:
  • Edinson Volquez broke 2017's no-hitter drought last Saturday, June 3rd, blanking the Arizona Diamondbacks. There were seven one-hitters this season prior to that game.
  • The no-no contributed to the weakest offensive outing of the season by any squad, with the D'backs only posting 0.01 Base Runs.
  • Speaking of Volquez's feat, it prompted Craig Edwards at FanGraphs to wonder if the no-hitter is starting to lose its cachet (thanks to its frequency in recent years).
  • That same day, the Dodgers set the season's new high water mark with seven stolen bases against the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • On Wednesday, June 7, the New York Mets and the Texas Rangers played the closest game of the season, tying at 3.54 Base Runs apiece (in actual runs, the Mets edged the Rangers 4-3).
  • The Astros and Nationals are still projected to win their respective divisions by 20+ games, while the Cubs have broken back into the playoff picture thanks to last weekend's sweep of St. Louis.
  • The Nats have surpassed the Dodgers in the NL projections, which now expect Washington to win 100 games as well as home field advantage through the NLCS.
  • Those same Nats have yet to break into the top three, but they're making a run for it, having improved their RPScore by 11 points in the last week and taking two of three from LA in LA.
  • The Giants finally scored double digit runs in a single game! They beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-0 last Friday, becoming the last team to score 10+ in a game this season.
  • In fact, six teams scored 10+ that night, which was a season high.
  • Six teams scored 10+ again on Tuesday.
  • The Diamondbacks still have yet to allow 10 runs in one contest in 2017.
  • The home team is playing .562 ball through June 8, with a run differential of +267.

Good Links:

02 June 2017

Ratings and Projections through 6/1: Houston Astros Best in Baseball

The top three remain the same but the order has changed. As of this morning, RPScore says that the Houston Astros are the best team in baseball. Projections based on RPScore expect the 'Stros to win 103 games (give or take just under ten wins). The Los Angeles Dodgers are the only other squad that should top 100.

Win Projections with 80% Prediction Intervals

Top Teams through 6/1:
  1. Houston Astros (.608)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.602)
  3. New York Yankees (.580)

Projected AL Seeds:*
  1. Houston (103 - 59)
  2. New York (94 - 68)
  3. Cleveland Indians (90 - 72)
  4. Boston Red Sox (87 - 75; WC)
  5. Tampa Bay Rays (85 - 77; WC)
  6. Baltimore Orioles (81 - 81; 1st out)

Projected NL Seeds:*
  1. Los Angeles (100 - 62)
  2. Washington Nationals (97 - 65)
  3. St. Louis Cardinals (86 - 76)
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks (91 - 71; WC)
  5. Colorado Rockies (90 - 72; WC)
  6. Chicago Cubs (84 - 78; 1st out)
*80% prediction interval of +/- 9.7 wins

Comments and Observations:
  • In the most recent simulation, the miracle, curse-breaking, championship-reigning Cubs miss the playoffs by two games.
  • In last week's simulation, I had the Minnesota Twins landing the second wild card in the AL. Today I have them five games out.
  • The Astros and Washington Nationals are both poised to wipe the floor with their respective divisions. The median outcomes in this week's simulation have Houston winning the AL Central by 25 games and the Nats winning the NL East by 22.
  • The Astros have also been super lucky, but not as lucky as the Colorado Rockies whose win rate is outpacing their RPScore by 99 points.
  • The San Francisco Giants remain the only team not to score more than eight runs this season, while the Diamondbacks remain the only team not to allow double digits.
  • The Nationals and Yankees lead all of baseball in runs per game (5.5) without leading in total runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, homers, total bases, walks or stolen bases.
  • Last Saturday's slate of games, which included a doubleheader, was the most offensively moribund of 2017, producing only 6.1 runs per game.
  • Looking at it another way, that Saturday, May 27, was a great day for pitching with five shutouts tying the high water mark set on... Friday, May 26.
  • The home team is winning at a .550 clip this year with a run differential of +185.

Good Links:

26 May 2017

Ratings and Projections through 5/25: Dodgers #1, Astros Project to Win 99

The Los Angeles Dodgers are tops in RPScore, the Houston Astros are poised to finish with 99 wins and parity is the watchword of the American League so far this season.

Win Projections with 80% Prediction Intervals

Top-rated Teams through May 25:
  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Houston Astros
  3. New York Yankees
Projected AL Top Seeds:
  1. Houston (99 - 63)
  2. New York (94 - 68)
  3. Cleveland Indians (90 - 72)
  4. Boston Red Sox (87 - 75; WC)
  5. Minnesota Twins (84 - 78; WC)
  6. Tampa Bay Rays (83 - 79; 1st Team Out)
Projected NL Top Seeds:
  1. Los Angeles (97 - 65)
  2. Washington Nationals (95 - 67)
  3. Chicago Cubs (90 - 72)
  4. Colorado Rockies (92 - 70; WC)
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks (90 - 72; WC)
  6. St. Louis Cardinals (87 - 75; 1st Team Out)
Comments and Observations:
  • Since my last post, the Chicago White Sox threw a one-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on May 19 and Houston one-hit the Detroit Tigers on May 22. Those were the sixth and seventh one-hitters of the season.
  • On May 24, the Cincinnati Reds caught the Indians stealing three times, the second time this season that happened (the Red Sox caught the Milwaukee Brewers stealing three times on May 9).
  • The Nationals continue to struggle with their pen and with subpar opponents, but my model still expects them to win the moribund NL East by 22 games.
  • The Indians should win their division by six games, the narrowest projected margin in the AL.
  • And yet, there are 14 American League teams within ten games or fewer of a playoff spot.
  • There are only six NL teams expected to finish that well.
  • The Rockies are playing well and winning better; Colorado's .633 win rate is 108 points above where RPScore expects them to be.
  • The Miami Marlins are almost as unlucky as the Rox are lucky; the Fish aren't great this year, but they're about 97 points better than the .356 win rate they've actually posted.
  • The Diamondbacks have scored the third-most runs in baseball this year even though their modal production is only one run.
  • The San Francisco Giants still haven't scored 9+ this season; the D'Backs still haven't allowed double digits.
  • The home squad has won 54.9% of games this season, with a run differential of +133.

19 May 2017

Debut RPScores 2017 and Observations about the Young Season

My RPScores and projections are making their formal debut of the 2017 season. Some of these numbers will surprise you. Others will confirm your suspicions. Remember that the season is early and the data still rely heavily on preseason projections. Follow the links to the main rating and projection pages for a full methodological explanation.

Win Projections with 90% Prediction Intervals

Top rated teams through May 18, 2017:
  1. Houston Astros (.606)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (.595)
  3. New York Yankees (.590)
American League projections:*
  1. Houston (102 - 60)
  2. New York (96 - 66)
  3. Cleveland Indians (88 - 74)
  4. Baltimore Orioles (84 - 78; WC)
  5. Boston Red Sox (84 - 78; WC)
  6. Tampa Bay Rays (83 - 79; First Team Out)
National League Projections:*
  1. Los Angeles (98 - 64)
  2. Washington Nationals (96 - 66)
  3. Chicago Cubs (89 - 73)
  4. Colorado Rockies (88 - 74; WC)
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks & St. Louis Cardinals (87 - 75; WC)
  6. Milwaukee Brewers (80 - 82; First Team Out)
*90% prediction interval = +/- 13.3 wins

Observations and comments:
  • The Nationals have occupied the top RPScore spot for most of the season, and the top three for almost all of it, having dropped out in the middle of this week.
  • That's okay for now, since the Nats still project to finish a whopping 22 games over any NL East rival.
  • The New York Yankees may in fact be good again, currently projecting to finish with 96 wins, a 12 game lead in the division and a less than 5% chance of posting a losing record.
  • Despite rocky starts, my model and projections still like the Cubs and the Dodgers.
  • And despite being the best team in the game according to RPScore, win-loss record and simple Pythagenpat, RPScore still thinks the Houston Astros are outpacing their true record by about 100 points.
  • The only team yet to allow double digit runs in one contest is the... Arizona Diamondbacks?
  • Meanwhile, the only team that has yet to score 9+ in a single game is the San Francisco Giants.
  • The Washington Nationals lead in park-adjusted BaseRuns produced, while the New York Yankees are best in BaseRuns allowed and BaseRuns differential (both park-adjusted).
  • Last Sunday's slate was the first this season with 17 games, producing a season-high 190 runs between them.
  • However, Monday's 11.5 runs plated per game was the highest so far in 2017.
  • It was that same Sunday that the Angels matched the 2017 high water mark with five bases stolen in the same game, set earlier by the Reds on April 10th versus the Pirates.
  • Through May 18, 2017, the home team has won 55.6% of the time with a run differential of +154.

04 November 2016

2016 MLB Postseason: Recapping the Projections

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

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.

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.