MLBPET 2011 Baseball Forecast

By Bradford Doolittle. Filed in Uncategorized  |  
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For a number of years now, I've prepared for the Major League Baseball season by running projections for players and rolling them up into team forecasts. The system is a counterpart to and actually predates my basketball system, NBAPET, and as such bears a similar name: MLBPET. Since I've sought to de-emphasis sabermetrics in my baseball work, I didn't really have a place to publish MLBPET's forecasts this season, so I thought I'd throw them up here, just to get them on record. I don't really feel like re-writing the overview of my methodology that I come up with every season, but here's what I wrote last year, for a site for which I used a Royals angle:

"My process (see, I have a process, too) for projecting the baseball season is really pretty simple, though it requires an encyclopedia of data and a spreadsheet that currently takes 31 minutes to open on my laptop. First, I generate projections for several thousand players, dipping deep into the minor-league organizations for each team. The projections are based on recent performance, with the most recent seasons given the most weight. I also apply aging adjustments to player forecasts, based on historical patterns.

"Once I have all those raw projections in the hopper, I then build each team's anticipated depth chart and divide up the playing time. This is an inexact science, but in general, players with a history of being injured or platooned are going to receive the more pessimistic projections for playing time. Once the depth charts are built, the system adds up the runs created and allowed for each team. The data is fitted to a predicted run-scoring environment which is based on league data from the last five years. At the end of this step, I have an initial projection of each team's record, which always turns out to be really close the the official projection.

"At this point, I input each team's predicted runs scored and allowed totals into a simulation engine, in which I've also entered the 2010 schedule. Then the fun begins: I run the simulation 100,000 times to see what happens. What I'm left with are average win totals for each team's run of simulations, as well as their percentage chances for playing on in October. In 100,000 simulations, it would be very unlikely for a team to project to a ZERO percent chance of making the playoffs. So it is for the Royals. So I say again, the Royals can make the postseason in 2010."

There you go. Let's start with the baseline won-loss projections with runs scored and runs allowed. No commentary--the projections are what they are.

NL East        W   L   Pct   RS   RA
Philadelphia  89  73  .549  767  684
Atlanta       88  74  .543  785  706
Florida       84  78  .519  762  731
New York      83  79  .512  759  739
Washington    71  91  .438  708  800
NL Central     W   L   Pct   RS   RA
St. Louis     86  76  .531  799  745
Cincinnati    83  79  .512  778  753
Chicago       78  84  .481  756  780
Milwaukee     78  84  .481  708  735
Pittsburgh    72  90  .444  737  824
Houston       69  93  .426  667  784
NL West        W   L   Pct   RS   RA
San Francisco 89  73  .549  759  681
Los Angeles   85  77  .525  717  672
Colorado      84  78  .519  835  797
San Diego     78  84  .481  682  703
Arizona       72  90  .444  735  822
AL East        W   L   Pct   RS   RA
Boston        94  68  .580  896  750
New York      90  72  .556  879  774
Tampa Bay     85  77  .525  811  766
Baltimore     80  82  .494  831  838
Toronto       68  94  .420  684  812
AL Central     W   L   Pct   RS   RA
Minnesota     83  79  .512  823  791
Detroit       83  79  .512  803  776
Chicago       81  81  .500  798  797
Cleveland     74  88  .457  772  839
Kansas City   67  95  .414  732  875
AL West        W   L   Pct   RS   RA
Texas         88  74  .543  847  763
Oakland       83  79  .512  742  716
Los Angeles   79  83  .488  719  736
Seattle       70  92  .432  656  757

Here are the results of using those baseline projections and simulating the season 100,000 times. List are each team's adjusted average win total, an their percentage chances of winning a division, a wild card berth and just making the playoffs.

NL East         aW     Div      WC      PL
Philadelphia  89.3  43.64%  14.26%  57.90%
Atlanta       88.1  34.55%  14.88%  49.43%
Florida       83.2  12.83%   9.01%  21.84%
New York      81.6   8.71%   6.76%  15.47%
Washington    70.2   0.27%   0.23%   0.50%
NL Central      aW     Div      WC      PL
St. Louis     88.0  50.04%   6.83%  56.88%
Cincinnati    85.3  31.14%   7.52%  38.66%
Chicago       79.7   9.42%   3.12%  12.54%
Milwaukee     78.7   7.37%   2.48%   9.85%
Pittsburgh    73.4   1.64%   0.52%   2.16%
Houston       69.1   0.39%   0.10%   0.49%
NL West         aW     Div      WC      PL
San Francisco 89.2  48.51%  10.52%  59.03%
Los Angeles   85.9  26.53%  11.08%  37.61%
Colorado      84.5  19.64%   9.46%  29.11%
San Diego     78.3   4.60%   2.81%   7.41%
Arizona       72.1   0.72%   0.39%   1.11%
AL East         aW     Div      WC      PL
Boston        94.0  57.78%  21.59%  79.37%
New York      90.2  30.23%  29.05%  59.28%
Tampa Bay     84.8   9.45%  15.35%  24.80%
Baltimore     79.6   2.52%   5.27%   7.78%
Toronto       66.1   0.02%   0.04%   0.05%
AL Central      aW     Div      WC      PL
Minnesota     85.7  39.12%   5.07%  44.19%
Detroit       85.2  35.91%   5.02%  40.93%
Chicago       82.4  20.70%   3.95%  24.65%
Cleveland     75.4   3.86%   0.82%   4.68%
Kansas City   68.1   0.40%   0.06%   0.46%
AL West         aW     Div      WC      PL
Texas         89.8  67.48%   4.43%  71.91%
Oakland       83.5  22.82%   6.51%  29.33%
Los Angeles   79.2   9.11%   2.74%  11.85%
Seattle       69.7   0.59%   0.13%   0.72%

Finally, here is a forecast for each team by unit: hitting, overall pitching, fielding and bullpen. Listed are the club's predicted league rank for each unit.

NL East      HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
Philadelphia   5    3    5   16
Atlanta        3    4   12    6
Florida        6    5   15   13
New York       7    9    6   11
Washington    14   12   14    7
NL Central   HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
St. Louis      2   10    8   14
Cincinnati     4   11    2   10
Chicago        9   15   11    4
Milwaukee     13    7   10   15
Pittsburgh    10   14    4    8
Houston       16   13   13   12
NL West      HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
San Francisco  8    1    3    3
Los Angeles   12    2    1    2
Colorado       1    8   16    5
San Diego     15    6    7    1
Arizona       11   16    9    9
AL East      HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
Boston         1    1    9    4
New York       2    8    5    1
Tampa Bay      6    9    3    9
Baltimore      4   14    8   14
Toronto       13   11   12    8
AL Central   HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
Minnesota      5    5   13    5
Detroit        7    4   10   10
Chicago        8   10    7    3
Cleveland      9   12   11   12
Kansas City   11   13   14    2
AL West      HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
Texas          3    7    2    6
Oakland       10    2    1    7
Los Angeles   12    3    6   13
Seattle       14    6    4   11
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