07 July 2017

Ratings and Projections through 7/6: Dodgers Lead, Nats Crack Top Three

For the first time since I began weekly updates this season, we have a new top three in the RPScore rankings and significant movement atop the end-of-season projections.

RPScore Trends for Select Teams Season-to-Date

Top Teams through 7/6:
  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (.6312)
  2. Houston Astros (.6311)
  3. Washington Nationals (.573)

Projected AL Seeds:*
  1. Houston (106 - 56)
  2. Cleveland Indians (90 - 72)
  3. Boston Red Sox (90 - 72)
  4. New York Yankees (89 - 73; 1st WC)
  5. Tampa Bay Rays (84 - 78; 2nd WC)
  6. Kansas City Royals (82 - 80; 1st out)

Projected NL Seeds:*
  1. Los Angeles (107 - 55)
  2. Washington (95 - 67)
  3. Chicago Cubs or Milwaukee Brewers (87 - 78)
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks (93 - 69; 1st WC)
  5. Colorado Rockies (87 - 75; 2nd WC)
  6. Chicago or Milwaukee (1st out)
*Margin of error (80% prediction interval): +/- 7.8 wins

Comments and Observations:
  • While the Nats edged the Yankees for the RPScore three-spot, the difference between the two teams is only about .0002.
  • They have more in common than statistical proximity: the Yanks and Nats are the final teams yet to be shut out this year.
  • But the Big Apple's AL representatives have fallen behind in a more important category: their end-of-season projection.
  • The Boston Red Sox now project to win the AL East by one game, with the Yanks facing off against the Tampa Bay Rays to determine the wildcard.
  • Speaking of falling behind, the Chicago Cubs are now in a dead heat with the Milwaukee Brewers in projections to win the NL Central.
  • In fact, the Cubs' championship hangover is of historic proportions, says Rob Arthur.
  • The stakes are high: as the Rockies and Diamondbacks still hold the projected NL wildcard spots, second place in the Central likely means being the first team out of the playoffs.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers are... good. Very good. GREAT even. There's a 10% chance LA could clear 114 wins this year.
  • Thanks to the Dodgers blazing a trail to 107 wins (give or take seven or eight) the last place San Francisco Giants project to finish 40 games back in their division.
  • That would still be "good" enough to finish six games ahead of the struggling Philadelphia Phillies in the NL.
  • Those Phillies might not be great, but they sure are unlucky, playing 82 points below their RPScore.
  • The Rockies have been as lucky as the Phils have been unlucky, their .568 win rate over 80 points better than where they should be.
  • They probably didn't feel too lucky last Saturday when they gave up three triples to the Diamondbacks.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks became the fifth team this season to knock three three-baggers.
  • The not-quite-the-worst-team-in-baseball San Diego Padres rank 30th in runs, hits, doubles and total bases.
  • The significantly better Houston Astros lead the majors in runs, hits, double, dingers and total bases.
  • The home team is .542 this season with a run differential of +188.

Good Links:
  • Matt Swartz kicks off his FanGraphs residency with a superb post about labor economics in baseball.
  • Twenty-five-year-old phenom, potential Hall of Famer and future record contract holder Bryce Harper has decided to futz around with his swing. Travis Sawchik says it's working.
  • In case you weren't aware, Clayton Kershaw is one of the reasons that the Los Angeles Dodgers are good at winning baseball games. According to Jeff Sullivan, Kershaw has the best opponent swing rate when behind in the count and it's not even close.

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