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.

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.