20 July 2017

Ratings and Projections through 7/20: Dodgers Continue Quest for Historic Season

I won't be able to post tomorrow, so this week's ratings and projections post arrives a day early. Today's subject: how very very very very good the Los Angeles Dodgers are.

RPScore Trends for Select Teams Season-to-Date

Top Teams through 7/20:
  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (.652)
  2. Houston Astros (.632)
  3. Washington Nationals (.582)

Projected AL Seeds:*
  1. Houston (105 - 57)
  2. Boston Red Sox (89 - 53)
  3. Cleveland Indians (87 - 75)
  4. New York Yankees (87 - 75; 1st WC)
  5. Tampa Bay Rays (85 - 77; 2nd WC)
  6. Seattle Mariners (80 - 82; 1st out)

Projected NL Seeds:*
  1. Los Angeles (111 - 51)
  2. Washington (98 - 64)
  3. Chicago Cubs (87 - 75)
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks (90 - 72; 1st WC)
  5. Colorado Rockies (89 - 73; 2nd WC)
  6. Milwaukee Brewers & St. Louis Cardinals (83 - 79; 1st out)
*Margin of error (80% prediction interval): +/- 7.3 wins

Comments and Observations:
  • The RPScore gap between the #1 Dodgers and the #4 Yankees is 90 points.
  • That's bigger than the gap between the Yankees and the #20 New York Mets.
  • In real baseball terms, that's a difference of about 14.6 games.
  • In the context of end-of-season projections, that's more than the spread between the Boston's expected first-place finish and the Baltimore Orioles' and Toronto Blue Jays' expected last-place finish in the AL East.
  • That spread may not be so impressive to the Nationals, Astros or the Dodgers themselves, all of whom I project to win their divisions by at least 21 games. 
  • The closest race is in the NL Central, with Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee all projecting to finish within four games of one another.
  • I project a slightly greater than 10% chance that the Dodgers can set an all-time regular season record with 117+ wins.
  • With six wins out of their last 10 games, Colorado may have righted their ship. They remain the luckiest team in baseball, playing 77 points better than their RPScore would expect.
  • The Phillies have climbed their way up to 28th in the RPScore standings this week but remain painfully unlucky, playing 88 points below their RPScore-estimated true record.
  • As if the Yankees weren't struggling enough lately, they finally became the last team to be shut out at least once this season, posting a zero last Sunday at Boston.
  • The home team has posted a record of .538 so far this season with a run differential of +184.

If the Season Ended Yesterday:

If the season ended yesterday, July 19, the Dodgers would be big and unsurprising favorites to win the World Series, with odds at ~2:1.

Probability of Series Victory for Teams Occupying Playoff Spots as of 7/20/17

Good Links:
  • The composition and construction of game balls has come under much scrutiny lately with the soaring home run rate. Can Baseball make baseballs more consistent? Travis Sawchik explores.
  • Matt Swartz just keeps on at it, churning out two more pieces about the price of wins above replacement. In his third piece he provides more evidence that the $-to-WAR relationship is indeed linear (two two-WAR players = one four-WAR player), and in his fourth he discusses the cost of deferred value (i.e. draft picks and compensation).
  • David Laurila interviewed actual, living and breathing professional baseball players and coaches on what it takes to pitch the ninth inning.
  • Speaking of living and breathing, it's important to remember that baseball players are human beings and not simply icons or products. Mary Craig is here to remind us that the words we use to describe these individuals matter.

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