05 November 2013

World Series Probability Added: Papi Deservedly WS MVP

My absolute favorite sabermetrical tool on the Internet is FanGraphs' win probability graph. Based on Tom Tango's win expectancy calculations, each graph tells you the story of the game it depicts. What were the most important plays? Who was the MVP? Who was the goat? How improbable was the comeback? You can answer all of these questions with one interactive chart. It's as beautiful as it is elegant.

Their work inspired the graphs I designed to chart World Series probability following every day of postseason play, but my charts couldn't do what FanGraphs' do... until now! With managing editor Dave Cameron's permission, I combined FanGraphs' play-by-play win probability data with my projected World Series probability numbers. The result is the graph you see above, which charts the ups and downs of the 2013 World Series at the play level.

But wait: there's more! Using the same data, I designed an interactive chart using Tableau Public, complete with leaderboards and a table of the Series' top fifty plays. Mouse-over the chart to get information about each team's chances following each play of this year's Fall Classic.

So, what were the most important plays? Who deserved to be MVP? Who was the biggest goat? How close did the Cardinals come to winning it all, and how close did the Red Sox come to blowing it? Find out with my interactive chart below the jump.

01 November 2013

MLB Postseason Projections 2013: BoSox, Projections Win Big

This article is part of a continuing series examining the postseason prospects of the eight seven six five four three two one remaining MLB playoff teams in 2013.

While I (begrudgingly) congratulate the Boston Red Sox for their third World Series title in ten seasons having beaten the St. Louis Cardinals, I'm also engaging in a bit of self-congratulation. By beating the Cardinals in six games, the Red Sox confirmed Rational Pastime's day-one projections. All in all, the system performed very well this year.

Wednesday's game may have been the clincher, but it was Monday's game that had the biggest impact. Game 5 sent Boston's title odds surging from 57% to 83%. While the Cardinals were still very much alive as Game 6 began, it was the previous loss that put them on life support.

The BoSox run was fairly dominant. There were twenty-three days of playoff baseball this fall (not counting play-in games), and Boston topped the WS% leaderboard in all but six of them. Read on to see just how dominant their campaign was.