By The Numbers: NL Edition
It’s that time in the season again. The time when we all look at our teams records and realize that they’re either A) A major disappointment, B) A pleasant surprise, or C) Something in between the two. But to really break down what team is what, I prefer to look at “Postseason Probability”, a colorful graph that can be viewed here: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/probability.jsp?ymd=20121003
But what exactly does that graph mean? What are the stories behind the numbers? And who really is the biggest loser, and the biggest winner? (Stats As Of 9/3/13).
Washington Nationals (-62%) – It’s hard to describe just how pitiful the Nationals have been this season. They started the season at 63% probability to make it to postseason, and have fallen all the way down to a 1% shot. Infact, their time on top of the NL East as the team most likely to make it ended on April 13th, when Evan Gattis (The Grape, as some have come to call him) crushed a 2 run homerun to give the Braves a lead they wouldn’t give up, for both that game and for that season. My mom and I took a trip to every Nationals farm system this year, and you want to know something? We never saw one of their teams win. Seriously. Think about that.
San Francisco (-43%) – The Giants are easy to overlook as being a huge disappointment, because they have that nice cushion of the Nationals being somehow worse than them. Lets not forget that during the past few offseasons, we’ve talked realistically about a Giants Dynasty. No. Seriously. The Giants are lucky that during this offseason we took our sights off of them to rave about how amazing the Nationals are. Well, were.
Arizona Diamondbacks (-39%) – I don’t understand how exactly they Diamondbacks are considered a disappointment. I mean, really, I don’t think many people actually expected them to perform well… They made some terrible trades this offseason (in my opinion), trades that can only really be rationalized by saying “Justin Upton didn’t fit that team”, the baseball equivalent to someone saying “The Supermodel I’m dating is nice and everything, but I just don’t know how she’ll fit into my life.” But still, who am I to judge what the numbers mean? Maybe Justin Upton wasn’t their type. But then again, their numbers to this point don’t lie either.
Pittsburgh Pirates (80%) – Looking at the NL Central is actually pretty funny. 3 teams have a Playoff Probability above 97%, and the other 2 are at 0%. And the funniest part is,the Pirates are leading the pack, with, get this, a 100% chance of making the playoffs. 100% CHANCE. As in, any collapse now would be historical. Amazing. Confusing. However, I would like to say, that I for one saw this coming. All you had to do was look at their farm system and the moves they made this offseason (Hello Russell Martin. Hello Francisco Liriano.) To tell that this team was serious about winning. They started out a bit slow, but soon started picking up a series win here, a series win there, and before you know it we have a 100% chance at the playoffs. Magical.
St. Louis (66%) – Really? This is a “surprise”? I mean you had to figure that the new machine that is the St. Louis Cardinals front office was going to pump out something fantastic this year, didn’t you? I mean sure, maybe being one of the best hitting teams of all time with runners in scoring position was a BIT ridiculous, but come on. 66%? Seriously? The Reds have only improved on their preseason rank by 19% (And they have a 98% chance to make the playoffs!).
Atlanta (58%) – Atlanta made great moves this offseason, and after all the buzz they got this offseason, I’m actually surprised that this number isn’t lower. I mean lets not forget that just like their evil opposite twin the Nationals, we were hailing this to be one of the best teams of the past century, but I guess it makes sense that they started as low as they did, we fully expected the Nationals and them to have a slugfest all season for first in that division. Instead, the Braves got crazy hot at the start of the season, and have just coasted ever since (with the occasional crazy hot streak like they had in again in August).
- Los Angeles (28%) – There’s no better graph to look at then the Dodgers. I mean, to watch them fall so far so far at the start of the season, going all the way down to only a 7% chance to get into the postseason, to then seeing them skyrocket all the way back to 100% is nothing short of amazing. It’s 2 very different graphs, 1 half Nationals, 1 half Pirates. If I were writing this in the first half, it would be very easy to say that they were the most disappointing, but if I was writing it by looking at just the 2nd half, it would be very easy to say that they were one of the most incredible underdogs… ever. But, that’s not how the season works. So, by just looking at it from the terms of where they were at Point A (the Preseason) to where they are at point B (Today), it looks like they’ve only slightly improved, but look harder, and you’ll see that is nothing close to the case.