Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Extremely Early CAIRO 2011 MLB Projected Standings
Around this time every year I like to run projected standings for the upcoming MLB season. It’s very limited in telling us much about how 2011 will play out since there are still a lot of roster changes coming, but it may give us some sense of how the offseason has impacted teams to this point and it also shows us how things would look if nothing changed from now until April. Which won’t happen.
Since this point is not readily comprehensible for people of limited intelligence I’ll reiterate it. It’s too early to construct meaningful rosters for a lot of teams, so these projections will favor the teams that have essentially completed their 2011 rosters.
In addition to that, projection systems are inherently limited. They are designed to estimate a player’s true talent based on what they’ve done so far and also by factoring in things like age and how similar players have performed in the past. They will generally be in the ballpark for the general population of MLB players, but they can miss significantly on individual players which can obviously affect certain teams more heavily than others.
So, anyway, using the depth charts from the wonderful MLB Depth Charts and includng playing time from players on the 40 man roster who don’t necessarily figure to be part of the the opening day 25 man rosters to account for organizational depth and playing out next season 10,000 times, here’s how CAIRO v0.3 sees things as of December 27, 2010.
W: Projected 2011 wins
L: Projected 2011 losses
RS: Projected 2011 runs scored
RA: Projected 2011 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC: Wild card win percentage
PL: Playoff percentage (Div + WC)
W+/-: 2011 projected wins minus 2010 actual wins
RS+/-: 2011 projected runs scored minus 2010 actual runs scored (positive means they are projected to score more)
RA+/-: 2011 projected runs allowed minus 2010 actual runs allowed (negative means they are projected to allow fewer)
The only reason I am showing wins and losses to one decimal place is so I don’t have to answer questions about why the wins and losses don’t add up to exactly 2430. There is no way to imply that something like this can be precise to that level.
Did I mention that it’s still too early to do this, and that it shouldn’t be taken seriously?
I guess it’s not exactly news that Boston and Philadelphia look to be the two best teams in baseball right now. Although it’s easy for lazy analysts to make the claim that Tampa Bay is going to be bad because they lost Carl Crawford and their whole bullpen, it’s just not true. They’ve won the AL East in two of the past three seasons, and they have a ton of pitching talent in the minors. Jake McGee looks like a potentially dominant closer. They also won 96 games last year despite getting very little production out of first base and DH. Losing Crawford hurts, but Desmond Jennings is another good prospect who has a chance to mitigate that a bit as well.
Toronto tends to project worse than they actually end up doing every year, mainly because they’ve always seemed to get better than expected pitching. They’ve lost John Buck and Shaun Marcum from last year’s team, and CAIRO is expecting Jose Bautista will not hit 54 HRs again which explains most of their drop.
The Orioles tend to project better than they actually end up doing every year, but perhaps they’ll Buck that trend in 2011.
As for our Yankees, they’re still a good team. They’re just not as good as Boston on paper right now. That doesn’t mean they can’t win the division, it just means that they need some players to exceed their projections (A.J.?) and/or some players from Boston/Tampa Bay to underperform some of their’s. If they can add Andy Pettitte or some league average starter who can give them 180 innings or so that’s probably worth another two wins over Ivan Nova/Sergio Mitre.
Right now the AL Central looks pretty tightly bunched at the top between the White Sox, Tigers and Twins. Cleveland should be able to hold off KC for fourth place, although if Melky-mania runs wild who knows?
The West looks like Texas’s to lose, even without Cliff “The Big Train” Lee. LA of A could pick up about three wins if they sign Adrian Beltre, but that alone doesn’t seem like it’d be enough to get them up to Texas’s level.
I don’t know if the Phillies are as good as Boston, although they may be a better short series team. They are almost certainly the tallest midget in the circus known as the National League, but they’re not some 110 win juggernaut on paper. The Braves seem to be the second best team in the NL East and should at least be a strong contender for the wild card.
The Cardinals still appear to have the best front-line talent in the NL Central although Milwaukee has improved themselves significantly. The Reds are not far off from the top either.
The NL West is also tightly bunched at the top, with only about four wins separating first place through fourth.
Did I mention that it’s too early for this to be taken too seriously?
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