The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

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.

Player Pos PA proj avg/obp/slg Outs BR
Brett Gardner LF 31.00 .260/.345/.409 20.31 3.88
Aaron Judge RF 31.00 .253/.363/.528 19.75 4.99
Gary Sanchez C 31.00 .268/.330/.512 20.77 4.62
Didi Gregorius SS 30.56 .273/.316/.440 20.90 3.78
Starlin Castro 2B 30.00 .278/.315/.435 20.55 3.62
Gregory Bird 1B 30.00 .239/.322/.464 20.34 3.99
Aaron Hicks OF 30.00 .251/.337/.419 19.89 3.86
Todd Frazier 3B 30.00 .235/.324/.456 20.28 3.93
Jacoby Ellsbury CF 14.00 .263/.332/.389 9.35 1.64
Chase Headley 1B 10.00 .258/.337/.398 6.63 1.19
Matt Holliday DH 8.00 .247/.333/.448 5.34 1.07
Ronald Torreyes IF 3.00 .276/.311/.371 2.07 0.31
Austin Romine C 2.00 .244/.290/.365 1.42 0.20
Tyler Wade IF 1.00 .229/.292/.321 0.71 0.06
Clint Frazier OF 1.00 .237/.298/.420 0.70 0.10
Total 282.56 189.00 37.23

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.

Player Pos PA proj avg/obp/slg Outs BR
George Springer CF 32.00 .270/.362/.495 20.42 4.81
Josh Reddick RF 31.00 .283/.343/.465 20.37 4.30
Jose Altuve 2B 30.80 .323/.380/.498 19.10 4.99
Carlos Correa SS 30.00 .289/.368/.503 18.96 4.73
Marwin Gonzalez LF 30.00 .273/.327/.450 20.19 3.84
Alex Bregman 3B 30.00 .275/.341/.464 19.77 4.17
Yulieski Gurriel 1B 30.00 .282/.330/.470 20.10 4.09
Evan Gattis DH 30.00 .255/.308/.485 20.76 4.03
Brian McCann C 20.00 .240/.322/.433 13.56 2.49
Carlos Beltran DH 6.00 .256/.307/.435 4.16 0.72
Cameron Maybin OF 5.00 .252/.328/.385 3.36 0.58
Derek Fisher OF 5.00 .229/.308/.392 3.46 0.51
Tyler White IF 5.00 .249/.321/.426 3.40 0.58
Juan Centeno C 2.00 .249/.294/.346 1.41 0.13
Tony Kemp UT 0.00 .260/.322/.355 0.00 0.00
Total 286.80 189.00 39.99

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.

Pitcher Role IP R
Masahiro Tanaka SP 10.00 4.70
Luis Severino SP 10.00 4.46
CC Sabathia SP 8.00 4.46
Sonny Gray RP 5.00 2.53
Aroldis Chapman RP 4.00 1.27
David Robertson RP 4.00 1.56
Dellin Betances RP 3.00 0.97
Chad Green RP 4.00 1.73
Tommy Kahnle RP 4.00 1.53
Adam Warren RP 2.00 0.97
Jordan Montgomery RP 2.00 1.10
Total 56.00 25.28

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?

Pitcher Role IP R
Dallas Keuchel SP 12.00 5.38
Justin Verlander SP 11.00 5.00
Charlie Morton SP 5.00 2.33
Brad Peacock SP 5.00 2.56
Ken Giles RP 5.00 1.84
Luke Gregerson RP 5.00 2.27
Chris Devenski RP 5.00 2.09
Lance McCullers RP 3.00 1.08
Francisco Liriano RP 2.00 0.97
Will Harris SP 2.00 0.83
Joe Musgrove RP 1.00 0.49
Total 56.00 24.84

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:

Houston: 54.6%
New York: 45.4%

--Posted at 10:19 am by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)


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I think it may have been the pie chart that put the Yanks over the edge in the DS, so…yeah.

Man, I miss the days when SG posted all the time. Thanks, SG. Informative, graceful and hilarious.

If only the good to great Judge can re-emerge in this series.

I don’t like that this is based on Fangraphs data.

We always do better riding on top of Marcels.

Could we please have a pie chart of the amount of posts without pie charts versus the amount of posts with?

Those odds are close than I thought.  What does Vegas say?

Dear Overlord SG,

Thank you for this post. Is it asking too much of our great Leader to post NLCS projections, if thou hast the free time?

Thank you and many blessings.

[7] Current odds:

Game 1: Astros -180/Yankees +160, Total 8, -120 to the over.

Series: Yankees +145/Astros -165. Yanks were +150 yesterday, so a slight move with Yankee money. Still, the value is on the Yanks.

[8] I can put something up.  Probably won’t go up until tomorrow though.

[8] I can put something up.  Probably won’t go up until tomorrow though.

Continuing from the last thread:

No one doubts Bryce Harper’s talent, even with some curious blips in consistency.

But the 1996-2002 teams were a lot more fun to root for than the A-Rod and high-cost-to-try-to-recover-that-glory teams that followed. This has a chance to be like the 1996-2002 teams, a sheer pleasure to watch and root for. A-Rod may be more amusing now, but it was a drag at the time (except, perhaps, for one great postseason run).

Am I sure that clubhouse chemistry means anything (and isn’t just a by-product of winning)? I’m not, although I can’t entirely exclude the possibility. Do I know he won’t mature? No, I don’t.

But I do think they can win without him, and if they can, I’d prefer it to winning with him. And it isn’t as if the money can’t go to other things they might need far more - e.g., starting pitching.

I enjoyed rooting for Arod a lot especially in 2007 and 2009.

[14] Pretty much every player and manager talks about the importance of clubhouse chemistry. Is it possible they’re all parroting back cliches to get sportswriters to shut up? Sure. But it’s probably important.

Holiday DH batting 8th

I doubt good chemistry HURTS a team.  But there are tons of examples of great teams who hated each other, even had fistfights.  I’m not just talking about the 1970s Yankees either.

On the other hand, Waldman (yes, I’m quoting Suzyn Waldman) was talking about how the early 90s Yankees, who were terrible, had great clubhouse chemistry, loved each other, all went out as a group.

Chemistry is overrated and nobody even would even notice unless the team stinks. Reggie, Nettles, Thurm, Billy for instance.

As I posted yesterday, Holiday the DH today.

The A’s of the early 1970’s had lousy team chemistry. Hmmm? Was that in large part owing to one Reginald Martinez Jackson? Carried over to the 1970’s Yankees.

Rogers Hornsby once urinated on a pitcher he thought had done a bad job.  Don’t know whether that was a good team though.

The Yanks are set up for their window to be open for the next ~5 years, if not more. You don’t waste that by eschewing expensive elite talent in favor of your “homegrown” inferior talent. I will be very upset if the Yankees stay below the luxury tax threshold going into 2019+, because this means they are minimizing their chances for championships.

[14] The 96-02 teams had a young core but also many FA additions over the years who were just as important to the team’s success. Cone, Key, Wells, Clemens, Mussina, etc.

For the record, I enjoyed watching Arod play every minute he was on the Yankees (except for exactly one play). On the other hand, I pretty much kept hating Clemens as I had always done.

Waldman meant the 1890s.


[23, 24]
Totally agree. In no way am I suggestiong they don’t spend the money (and certainly not that they limit themselves to cuddly recent prospects). I just prefer they consider spending it elsewhere than on Harper, who seems like a melt-down-level dick.

[23] Agree, but I wouldn’t even say 5 years. Go all in right now. It is quite possible that Judge, Severino, Didi, and Sanchez, are at their peak and will be different players in 5 years. (I mean, I hope they sustain this level, but I don’t expect it.) The Yankees FO should be trying to make the team WS favorites in the Spring.

22 But what you’re overlooking is the player had a leach on his back.

Need to evaluate on a season by season basis. We might think, hey our OF is looking pretty good for 2019, we don’t need Harper use the money elsewhere! But come that off-season, who knows? I mean, the Mets probably thought their rotation was set for the next 3-5 years and now the only person they can count on is DeGrom.

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