Who’s feeling lucky?

Posted by Steve

I decided the All-Star Break was a good time to look at pythagorean records and see who’s had lady luck on their side.  Pythagorean records are adjusted to reflect runs scored vs. runs allowed totals.  For instance, the Arizona Diamondbacks have scored 371 runs and allowed 401, yet their record stands at 47-43.  On the other hand, the New York Yankees have scored 462 runs and allowed 392, but they sit at an unlucky 42-43 (simultaneous aw in 3…2…1… AWWWW).

Because this is my post and I am allowed to plaster my opinion throughout whenever I please, I’ll also be including my updated post-season picks.  Without further ado (it’s good to limit ado whenever possible), here you go.  I’ll start with the AL East, because it’s mandated by law to begin with the AL East in any league-wide discussion.

AL East Actual Record Pythagorean Record PECOTA’s Pre-season prediction
Boston Red Sox 53-34 52-35 92-70
Toronto Blue Jays 43-44 45-42 80-82
New York Yankees 42-43 49-36 93-69
Baltimore Orioles 38-49 42-45 74-88
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 34-53 33-54 75-87

The most notable thing about the AL East is how much better than Yankees expected record is than their actual record.  While they’re likely to make a run, they’ve probably dug themselves too deep a hole.

On the otherhand, can you imagine how unbearable it would be if the Yankees came back to make the playoffs?  I couldn’t handle all the coverage.

AL Central Actual Record Pythagorean Record PECOTA’s Pre-season prediction
Detroit Tigers 52-34 52-34 85-77
Cleveland Indians 52-36 50-38 90-72
Minnesota Twins 45-43 48-40 91-71
Chicago White Sox 39-47 36-50 73-89
Kansas City Royals 38-50 41-47 66-96

This is going to be an exciting race.  I expect the Twins to heat up and get in the thick of things as the summer progresses.  Very tough division to call.

AL West Actual Record Pythagorean Record PECOTA’s Pre-season prediction
LA Angels of A 53-35 49-39 86-76
Seattle Mariners 49-36 44-41 73-89
Oakland Athletics 44-44 46-42 80-82
Texas Rangers 38-50 40-48 80-82

I have a lot of thoughts on this division.  First, I’m fairly certain that Seattle is a fluke.  They’ve come out of nowhere, and they’ve done it mostly without Felix Hernandez pitching well.  There are other reasons for my thinking this:  They’ve been lucky, their PECOTA record is horrible and their GM is Bill Bavasi.  He’s bound to do something stupid.

I think the Angels are worse than their record indicates, and I think the A’s are better than their record indicates.  LA doesn’t have the offense to sustain their current pace, and Oakland has weathered a crapton of injuries.  Pythagorean Oakland is only three games behind Pythagorean Anaheim.  Oakland is historically a second-half team (Billy Beane always gets what he needs at the deadline) and they’re getting Harden, Street and Piazza back.  I really think the A’s will make a run at this thing.

NL East Actual Record Pythagorean Record PECOTA’s Pre-season prediction
New York Mets 48-39 45-42 86-76
Atlanta Braves 47-42 45-45 82-80
Philadelphia Phillies 44-44 43-45 87-75
Florida Marlins 42-47 42-47 79-83
Washington Nationals 36-52 33-55 66-96

Boy, the Mets have really cooled off.  For all the talk about how great this division was, it suddenly looks mediocre.  Philly has gone through a ton of pitchers, but they have a couple MVP caliber hitters that will keep them in it.  I expect the Mets to get another starter and the Braves to get bullpen help.  This should be a three-team race.

NL Central Actual Record Pythagorean Record PECOTA’s Pre-season prediction
Milwaukee Brewers 49-39 48-40 85-77
Chicago Cubs 44-43 47-40 85-77
St. Louis Cardinals 40-45 36-49 81-81
Pittsburgh Pirates 40-48 38-50 76-86
Houston Astros 39-50 40-49 80-82
Cincinnati Reds 36-52 41-47 71-91

A quick glance shows us the Brewers are fortunate to even have a 4.5 game lead over the Cubs.  The Cubbies have been a bit “unlucky,” mainly because they lost their first six one-run games of the season.  After a slow start, the Cubs are the hottest team in baseball.  I’m pretty sure the days of 8.5 game leads on the division are over; this could come down to the last week of the season.

I still like the Brewers though.  Both teams have a good offense(Brewers have scored 34 more runs) and decent starting pitching (Cubs have been better so far).  The Brewers have a better bullpen.

One comforting fact is that with the Cubs ownership change in limbo they probably won’t be able to go out and add a big piece at the deadline, whereas I expect the Brewers to make a move or two.

By the way, if the rumored trade of Tony Gwynn Jr. for Akinori Otsuka was in fact nixed at the last minute by The Brewers because of Bill Hall’s injury, I might break my keyboard.

NL West Actual Record Pythagorean Record PECOTA’s Pre-season prediction
San Diego Padres 49-38 53-34 86-76
Los Angeles Dodgers 49-40 48-41 80-82
Arizona Diamondbacks 47-43 41-49 88-74
Colorado Rockies 44-44 43-45 79-83
San Francisco Giants 38-48 43-43 79-83

The division of terrible offense.  San Diego is one injury to Jake Peavy or Chris Young from just about being a .500 team.  They have two aces and a great bullpen… and not much else.  Adrian Gonzales and Mike Cameron are good but San Diego has a poor offense overall.

The same story goes for every team basically.  The Dodgers have an amazing bullpen and solid starting pitching but a pretty crappy offense (With Juan Pierre in the leadoff spot?  Shocking!)

My Picks

I know this is what you’ve all been waiting for (rather than the interesting comparisons to pythag. and pecota).  I’m finding that most of my picks are pretty similar to my pre-season predictions for The Racquet.

AL East

Pretty safe bet saying Boston here.  Sticking with my pre-season pick.

AL Central

Even though I think the Twins will make things interesting, I’m switching off them and taking Detroit (with Cleveland for the wild card).  Detroit’s offense is scary-good.

AL West

This is probably my biggest stretch.  I’m sticking with the A’s despite their nine-ish game deficit to Anaheim.  The A’s have been ravaged by injuries and still sit at .500.  They have great pitching and they’re getting players back.  Beane will make moves, and Anaheim will come back down to Earth.

NL East

Also sticking with my pick here.  The Phillies have hung around .500 and are well within striking distance.  The Mets are faltering, and the Braves just don’t seem that great in any area… More or less decent at everything.  I just think Philly has the best team.

NL Central

The Cubs make me nervous, but if I picked the Brewers before the season, I sure have no reason to change that when they have a 4.5 game lead, right?  …Right?

NL West

I’ve decided to switch off the Dodgers to the Padres, mainly because I don’t like Juan Pierre.

Ok, that’s not why.  I just think the Padres have great starting pitching, and Peavy and Young have out-performed their already lofty expectations. Those two will be enough to carry the Pads.

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5 responses to “Who’s feeling lucky?

  1. Not even a few hours after I say Bavasi will do something stupid, and we get word that Ichiro has signed a five year, $100 million extension. Perfect! Twenty mil a year for a guy who can’t hit for power and will be 38 by the end of his contract. This won’t screw up this season for them (something else will) but this is funny nonetheless.

  2. Sweet post —
    And on the topic of the rumored Gwynn for Otsuka trade falling through: Otsuka had “forearm tightness” at roughly the same time Hall was injured and that probably had something to do with it too. Someone on bf suggested this trade would maybe get done over the break if Otsuka proved to fine. I hope so, because that’s a trade you have to make if you’re the Brewers. Coaches love them some Akinori Otsuka.

  3. About the Pads: Gonzalez’s OPS in June was .720 and in July (only 8 games, but still) it’s .401. he also only has 2 HR since June 1st. I only know this cause he’s been terrible for my fantasy team the last month and a half.

    By the way I think this is the year the A’s don’t have an insane second half come-back and I think they’ll finish like 7-8 games out.

  4. I don’t know why I’m posting this here, but I found the headline hilarious. From the Royals website:

    Meche gets front row seat in All-Star Victory.

    Also, the most expensive tickets anywhere in Kaufman Stadium (even row 1 behind the Royals dugout) is 32 dollars!! That’s insane.

  5. Awesome headline — and while i’m no expert on baseball revenue, I imagine its kind of a catch-22 (you like that term) because they cant charge alot for tickets because they suck and cant draw people to the stadium, but they cant really have a big payroll because they make little money.

    also I think Adrian Gonzalez fouled a ball off his foot and had a bad bruise and thats why he’s been so bad. I have him in my NL only league and he’s been brutal

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