10 November 2017

MLB Postseason 2017: Recapping the Series That Made Champs of the Houston Astros

It was a bumpy road for the Houston Astros from the regular season to their first ever franchise World Championship. They nearly dropped out vs. the Yankees in the ALCS, when they reached the nadir of their playoff chances. The Dodgers had a chance to bounce them, too. Houston prevailed, however, only occasionally the favorite but eventually the only team left standing.

World Championship Probabilities by Playoff Team over Time

An Astros victory in seven games was the third most likely projected outcome at the start of the series at 14%.

Estimated Probability of Discrete Series Results

The Astros' hopes bottomed out at 12% after their game five loss to the New York Yankees, putting them down 3-2 in the American League Championship series. They would later rebound, of course.

Probability of Winning Various Postseason Series: Houston

The simulator performed slightly above average when it came to Houston's World Series odds throughout the postseason. A Houston win seven games was among the top ranked possibilities at the start of every new round, becoming steadily more likely as the playoffs progressed, but becoming relatively less likely compared to other possibilities according to the model.

The modeled simulation took off in the final two rounds of the postseason. Barely better than chance in the LDS round, the simulator was successful vs. a random guess in the ALCS, NLCS and World Series.

You can review every post of the 2017 MLB Postseason here. Thank you for following along. It was a blast as always.

01 November 2017

MLB Postseason 2017: One. More. Game.

We've been spoiled of late. The 2017 World Series will go seven games. The Series went seven last year too, and in 2014, and in 2011. That's three out of the past four years and four out of the past seven. The current flourish of winner-take-all championship baseball follows an eight-series drought from 2003 through 2010, in which not one World Series went the full seven.

Total of Games Played in Each World Series since 1903

Both the flourish and the drought are uncharacteristic. More series have gone seven games than have gone only six, five or four since the World Series adopted the seven-game format in 1922. Nevertheless, it's a less-than-even proposition: 39% of series in the best-of-seven era have gone the distance.

Frequency of Total Games Played in World Series during the Best-of-Seven Era

So let's savor tonight and keep in mind the lean times when baseball events like tonight's seemed rare. This year's seventh game pits the favored Los Angeles Dodgers against the never-say-die Houston Astros, who have faced adversity before in this postseason. This is it.

World Championship Probabilities by Playoff Team over Time