Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Quick Playoff Preview

This is not going to be extensive like those you will find elsewhere, but I just wanted to get on record with my picks (recognizing as always that a short series can easily turn any which way and not to take any prediction too seriously). And yes, my method of setting probabilities is flawed, as I treat PW% as the actual true W%, do not adjust for home/road, do not adjust for pitching matchups, etc. Anyway:
A’s v. Twins
A’s: 574, 529, 497 (W%, EW%, PW%), 4.81 R/G, 4.53 RA/G (park adjusted)
Twins: 593, 578, 553, 4.94, 4.22
Rooting for: A’s
As you can see, the Twins beat the A’s in every category, and the A’s component stats indicate a sub-.500 performance this year. While the A’s are my preference (like many sabermetricians, I have a soft spot for Billy Beane, but more importantly because they have my favorite player in baseball, Nick Swisher). One must remember that the Twins don’t have Liriano, who contributed to much of their success, but it’s still hard to pick against Minnesota.
P(Twins win game; Log5 based on PW%): 55.6%
P(Twins win series; above result, Binomial distribution): 60.4%

Dodgers v. Mets
Dodgers: 543, 546, 549, 5.27, 4.83
Mets: 599, 568, 572, 5.31, 4.65
Rooting for: Mets
Surprisingly, the Dodgers have below average defense, but their offense is strong enough to be equal, park-adjusted, with the vaunted Mets attack. This is a case where I am going to pick the upset: the Mets played poorly down the stretch, and really have a paper thin starting rotation (Glavine +7 RAA, El Duque -7, Trachsel -10, Maine +6).
P(Mets win game) = 52.3%
P(Mets win series) = 54.3%

Tigers v. Yankees
Tigers: 586, 597, 561, 5.23, 4.30
Yankees: 599, 608, 624, 5.86, 4.83
Rooting for: Yankees
The Yankees offense is by far the best in baseball, even more powerful then it was for most of the year with a full crew of Abreu, Sheffield, and Matsui. As Baseball Prospectus pointed out yesterday, the Tigers bench is putrid (Vance Wilson, Alexis Gomez, Ramon Santiago, Neifi Perez, Omar Infante). Their starters aren’t as good as everyone thinks they are; Verlander has a 4.63 eRA, Robertson 4.77, Rogers 4.35, Bonderman 4.51. This is a series the Yankees should win.
P(Yankees win game): 56.5%
P(Yankees win series): 62.1%

Cardinals v. Padres
Cardinals: 516, 513, 494, 4.90, 4.78
Padres: 543, 534, 555, 4.80, 4.46
Rooting for: Padres
This is a far cry from past Cardinal teams, limping down the stretch, with a surprisingly bad rotation (only Chris Carpenter ranks above average). The Padres have solid starters, a better bullpen, and almost as good of an offense. They are my pick.
P(Padres win game): 56.1%
P(Padres win series): 61.3%

I like the Dodgers over the Padres in the NLCS, the Yankees over the Twins, and the Yankees over the Dodgers in a World Series rematch of 1981…and 1978…and 1977…and….and 1941. But I am pulling for a Subway Series because I want to see the two best teams in baseball square off (although all of the NY hype for that is hard to stomach). But in the modern playoff system, that rarely happens.

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