Friday, October 13, 2017
2017 Yankees vs. Astros ALCS Postseason Odds
It feels like forever since I’ve had the opportunity or interest to do one of these posts. Actually, it’s been eight days but it feels longer for some reason.
Anyway, the Yankees are back in the ALCS for the first time in five years and while they are facing a team that is probably better than them anything can happen in the playoffs. In fact, the Yankees got here by beating a team that was probably better than them, which seems only fair considering they lost the division to a team that was worse than them this year. Anyhow, like the last time I did this I’m not using 2017 data only, I’m using the Fangraphs Depth Chart projections for the Yankees and Astros which appear to have been updated to include 2017.
This all comes down to trying to allocate playing time over seven games for the position players and pitchers. We’ll assume 27 outs per game times seven games (189 outs) for both teams even though Houston won’t have to bat in the ninth in either of the first two games and the series is only going to go four games. For the Yankees it may look something like this.
I realize Wade and Frazier may not even be on the roster but 1 PA doesn’t change things that much.
When we do the same thing for Houston, we can see how much better they are than the Yankees.
Houston projects to be about 2.76 runs better than the Yankees over seven games which is a massive difference. But SG, how can you say 2.76 runs is a massive difference? It’s like one inning from Tyler Clippard? Well, yeah, in absolute terms 2.76 runs is not much. But pro-rate 2.76 runs over seven games to 162 games and you have an offense that is 63.8 runs better over a full season. That’s fairly significant, no?
The theoretical good news may be that the Yankees have the edge in pitching, but that may not necessarily be true either.
I’m assuming a fairly quick hook on the starters given the depth of the Yankee bullpen here. In an ideal world, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino go 7 innings in their starts and minimize the load on the bullpen but given the potency of Houston’s offense that’s not likely.
So how does that pitching compare with Houston?
Dallas Keuchel may be the key to this series. The Yankees have faced him six times in the regular season over his career and he’s held them to a line of .190/.218/.234. He’s got a 1.41 career regular season ERA against them in 44 innings. Those numbers don’t even include the last time the Yankees faced him in the postseason.
The good news is that batter/pitcher stats are not generally meaningful and even if they were a lot of the Yankees that were there for those games have been replaced by different players. The bad news is Keuchel is a damn good pitcher and a tough challenge and the Yankees may see him three times depending how the series shakes out. Justin Verlander has been a boon for the Astros and there’s no need to delve into specifics with him. The Yankees have had some success against him at times, but he’s also someone who can dominate when he’s on.
Anyway, the Yankees bullpen is probably deeper than Houston’s but they have a pretty comparable top three and their overall pitching staff actually projects slightly better than the Yankees.
In the postseason, the talent is concentrated. These depth charts and projections give us a Yankee team that would project to win around 69% of their games against an Astros team that would project to win around 73%. Change that to 68.7% and 73.3% to account for the one game home field advantage. That gives you these odds for advancing to the World Series:
New York: 45.4%
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