Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dodgers' 2012 Playoff Chances Just Went Up 17%

Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday about the impact of adding a fifth playoff team / second wild-card team to each league, as MLB has announced will happen for the first time this season. Of course, the article is mostly about how this basically locks the Yankees and Red Sox (and Rangers) for the playoffs. Whoopee for them!

The Wall Street Journal asked Ben Alamar, the founding editor of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, to build a statistical model of the changes. His conclusion: The teams that will receive the greatest reward from the addition of the two wild cards are the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, and the Texas Rangers—teams that have won a combined 11 American League championships under the old wild-card system, need any help at all.

Using the statistical projections for those teams simulating this season 3,000 times, the Yanks, Red Sox and Rangers are now virtual locks to make the playoffs, while the Tampa Bay Rays, a small-market party crasher three times since 2008, got a healthy bump as well. The Yankees now have a 94% chance of reaching October, the Rangers an 85% chance and the Red Sox an 80% shot. The extra wild-card spot improved the chances of the Rays to 56% from 29%.

But what about the NL West? What impact will an extra wild card team have on those five teams' fortunes? The Giants' chances just went up from 53% to 57%. The Diamondbacks' chances went from 27% to 32%. Colorado stayed even at 12%, San Diego went from 8% to 10%, and the Dodgers' chances rose from 6%...to 7%. Yay.

(When we pull this off this year, by the way, I'll remember the Alamar.)

In fact, the only teams with worse "new" percentages of making the playoffs are Mets (4%), Blue Jays (4%), A's (1%), Royals (1%), Twins (1%), and the Pirates, Mariners, Astros, and Orioles (each with 0%). So I suppose we can be proud of the fact that we're at the top of the bottom third?

Note: Other projections of playoff chances under one / two wild card scenarios were not so discouraging for the Dodgers.


Fred's Brim said...

How do we have less of a chance than San Diego?

Hideo Nomo said...


Like a tramp stamp!

Franklin Stubbs said...

Damn, four teams with a statistically insignificant chance of making even the new playoff format. That's doesn't speak well for competitive balance.

Franklin Stubbs said...

Wrong thread! Move along, nothing to see here.

Jason said...

Are we sure Ben Alamar and his publication are even real? I mean, come on, JoQAS?

Say it out load... Wait for it...

There it is.