04 September 2012

Indications of the Orioles Winning Over 90 Games

People tend to have a tendency to repeat some variation of Bill Parcels epic quote: you are what your record says you are.  I think more accurately it is that you were what your record says you were.  Wins and losses are one way to measure the talent of a team.  They are certainly the most definitive way to describe what happened, but for various reasons (i.e., non-skill based succession of events) it is not a great predictor for the future.  Though it is not bad.

In a previous post about six weeks ago, I simply illustrated that first half run differential was a slightly better indicator of second half record than it was to simply look at the first half record.  The primary issues of using either are basically that an inflated record can result in a team trying to play out their good hand by adding complementary pieces, increasing their talent level.  First half run differential can also be misleading because a good differential combined with an underperforming record could result in a team selling off their assets.

As we enter September, something new could be happening.  Many teams, such as one like the Twins or Astros, see this time as a chance to look at their younger players and get a read on them against MLB competition.  These teams still want to win, but they often put out a less than their best lineup.  As a result, September can be a pretty peculiar month.

For today, I will be assuming that a team's record to date is an accurate representation of their performance.  I will be trying to determine how many more wins the Orioles will add to their current 75.  To do this, I used Bill James' log5 method.  We get the following table:

Games Left Win Pct. ExWins
Blue Jays 6 0.448 3.7
Rays 6 0.548 3.1
Red Sox 6 0.456 3.6
Yankees 4 0.567 2
A's 3 0.567 1.5
Mariners 3 0.485 1.7
Log5 puts the Orioles at a 15.6-12.4 record for the remainder of the season.  This put the expectation for the team to finish with 90 (91 if you round up) wins.  Last year, Boston would have been the second wild card and they had 90 wins.  In other words, Baltimore is in a strong position.  Within the AL East, the Yankees have largely the same slate with divisional opponents along with the A's and Twins as their out of division series.  The Rays have it a bit harder as their out of division foes include the Rangers and White Sox which are both playoff contending teams.

It should be an exciting month.


Bret said...

nOver a 28 game sample projecting things are useless. The Yankees have an easier schedule (one fewer Rays, one more Jays, Oakland at home instead of road and Min instead of Seattle with King Felix in one game). If the O's don't take 3 of 4 it is highly unlikely they are going to win the division, a split would be a victory for NY. TB on the other hand has a very tough schedule aside from O's/Yanks (3 Texas, 4 at Chicago). Basically all O's fans need to become Rangers fans because they can singlehandedly knock out the WC competitors (7 Oakland, 6 more with LA, 3 with TB). If they play well in those games at least the O's will almost certainly be in postseason, even if it is for a game.

Jon Shepherd said...

More accurately, over a 28 game sample it becomes incredibly difficult to differentiate between several equally talented teams.

I think the exercise does give a baseline for expectations and serves as a useful tool to show the work that remains to be done.

Bret said...

28 games is an awfully small sample size but now is the time to pay close attention. Unfortunately one of those Mariners games is Felix and the O's have no off days before or during the west coast trip. Games like tonight are critical, have to take care of business in games they are supposed to win where the other team has checked out. Oakland has been so hot, maybe they will be cool by the time the O's get in and maybe Felix will be given extra rest or something.

Anonymous said...

"What hurts the Rays is that their path is a little more difficult in that both of their out-of-division opponents in September are strong contenders (White Sox and Rangers), while the Yankees and Orioles have soft series against the Twins and Mariners."

The Mariners are not a soft team, and the O's and Yankees also have to play the Athletics.

The only team who catches a break is the Yankees when they play the Twins. They also play the Red Sox to end the season which helps them a bit.

Jon Shepherd said...

The Mariners are softer than the White Sox. But, yes, there is a gradation of softness or hardness...whatever you prefer.

Liam said...

Don't we have an off day on the 10th, 3 days before the west coast trip? That's gonna be a tough trip against two teams who are still playing hard. I'll be interested to see if the redsox can turn it back on, and if so to what extend. Right now they look like they might not win more than 5 games for the rest of the year, which would make the al east race all the more interesting and help those teams in the WC.