Tuesday, October 09, 2007

League Championship Series - Objective predictors

I'll have more on the Boston-Cleveland series over the next couple of days, but I thought I'd look at a couple of objective statistical playoff prediction systems on the championship series. The Bill James Playoff Predictor is a toy, an exercise in curve-fitting that probably doesn't have much value. The Baseball Prospectus "Special Sauce" is also a curve-fitting exercise, with more in-depth sabermetric stats, and they think that it has some predictive value. (Follow the link below for more information.) But they're both objective - there's no opinion here, just plugging in of numbers into the formula.

Here's how the Bill James Playoff Predictor sees the League Championship series:

ALCS

1. 1 pt to the lead team for each half-game in the standings (EVEN)
2. 3 pts to the team that scored more runs (BOS - 3)
3. 14 pts to the team with fewer doubles (CLE - 14)
4. 12 pts to the team with more triples (BOS - 12)
5. 10 pts to the team with more home runs (CLE - 10)
6. 8 pts to the team with the lower team batting average (CLE - 8)
7. 8 pts to the team that committed fewer errors (BOS - 8)
8. 7 pts to the team that turned more double plays (CLE - 7)
9. 7 pts to the team that walked more batters (BOS - 7)
10. 19 pts to the team that had more shutouts (BOS - 19)
11. 15 pts to the team whose ERA was lower (BOS - 15)
12. 12 pts to the team that has been in postseason most recently or
    went further (BOS - 12)
13. 12 pts to the team that won season series (BOS - 12)

BOS - 100, CLE - 39


NLCS

1. 1 pt to the lead team for each half-game in the standings (ARI - 2*)
2. 3 pts to the team that scored more runs (COL - 3)
3. 14 pts to the team with fewer doubles (ARI - 14)
4. 12 pts to the team with more triples (ARI - 12)
5. 10 pts to the team with more home runs (TIE)
6. 8 pts to the team with the lower team batting average (ARI - 8)
7. 8 pts to the team that committed fewer errors (COL - 8)
8. 7 pts to the team that turned more double plays (COL - 7)
9. 7 pts to the team that walked more batters (ARI - 7)
10. 19 pts to the team that had more shutouts (ARI - 19)
11. 15 pts to the team whose ERA was lower (ARI - 15)
12. 12 pts to the team that has been in postseason most recently or
    went further (0)**
13. 12 pts to the team that won season series (COL - 12)

ARI - 77, COL - 30

* - The final standings show Arizona 1/2 game ahead of the Rockies, because Colorado played an extra game to get into the post-season. That game counts as a regular season game, but I'm not including it.

** - I've made the subjective judgement that the Diamondbacks 2002 trip to the post-season, with a different front office, different manager and (almost entirely) different players is no more relevant than than Colorado's 1995 trip.

In the two division series where the point ratio was greater than 2:1, the system was correct. That is the case for both of these series.


Here's how the Baseball Prospectus "Secret Sauce" rankings see the series. (Overall ranking is the sum of rankings in various pitching/defense categories, so lower is better)
ALCS

Boston (7.5) over Cleveland (48)

NLCS

Arizona (29) over Colorado (57)

So both of those objective systems point strongly towards Boston-Arizona in the World Series.

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