2009 MLB Playoff Predictions

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who helped negotiate Michael Crabtree's contract?

Hey, playoffs start today, Cliff Lee and whatnot. I'll pick all of the opening series, offering a couple of smart things about all of them, and then give my picks for the remainder of the postseason.

Phils (WARP3 68.4) v. Rox (67.8)
-Closer matchup then you think; Phils have just a tick more value over the course of the season; I'm going to pick the champs, but I wouldn't invest in it. 

-Rox swept the Phils in '07; they keep the ball in the park and the Phils rely heavily on home runs; the problem for the Rox is they will send out RH arms (Cook, Jimenez, Marquis/Hammel) against the Phils left handed power (Utley, Ibanez, and especially Howard, who has a crazy platoon split).  On the other hand, the Rox arms (Cook, Street) keep the ball down, and the Phils power is concentrated up in the zone. 

-The Rox are patient, seeing a lot of pitches (it's good to work counts, Jim offers to his beloved SFG, the two teams which saw the most pitches-per-PA this year were the Yanks and RSox, their being the two best teams in the game isn't coincidental), but the Phils don't walk anyone (2nd fewest in NL). 

-Both of the bullpens are bad.  The Rox seems to have improved recently; it's unclear the Phils have much of a pen plan.  Know whose pen was good?  The Giants.  One real bat at the deadline, this is all I'm saying.

-Phils in 5.  But stay away from this series.

Dodgers (78.3) v. Cards (69.1)
-LA, over the course of the season, was the best team in the NL.  They played badly down the stretch; there are lots of reasons baseball playoffs are hard to predict, one of them is the length of the season makes consideration of season long value numbers less valuable when trying to call a short October series. 

-The Cards, despite Pujols being Pujols, hit much better against RH than LH (they have the lowest OPS in the NL against lefties, which is the determining factor for me in calling this for the Dodgers) LA's going to run Kershaw (if he's the guy the mainstream media is talking about in a month as the new Josh Beckett, you read it here) and Wolf at them.  There are going to be a lot of ground balls in this series, as the Cards arms/Dodgers bats both trend hard that way - if there's a play in this series it might be under the daily run total. 

-LA's bullpen is bananas. 

-The Dodgers hit fastballs well - Carpenter's a fastball pitcher, the Dodgers have had good success against him.

-LA in 4. 

-I'll take the Dodgers to win the pennant, beating the Phils in 6.

Angels (70.8) v. Red Sox (77.3)

-Boston's playing the best ball of the season; they're in good shape to drive past the Angels again this year. Victor Martinez and Billy Wagner were really good upgrades, demonstrating that its possible to tune up an already good ballclub during the season in an effort to win the whole thing (not that I'm complaining about the deal for Freddie Sanchez, which was obviously unassailable)

-LAA did a nice job converting to a walk/homer team (Abreu helped with the former, Morales with the latter) moving away from the small ball with which they were associated for several years.  But they're outmatched here.

-Sox in 4. 

Yankees (82.7) v. Twins (70.7)

-The Twins are good, you see their season long value was the same as the Angels - obviously they come into the postseason playing well and they have Joe Mauer, who probably wins the AL MVP Award (I'd vote for Greinke, but Mauer would be second and an equally good choice).

-But they're gonna lose.  Yanks in 4. 

-New York's been the best team in baseball all season long; they're the best team now.  Does that mean they'll win - nah - it's October, stuff happens.  The Yanks will need one (at least) of their non-Sabathia starters to step up, and a few crucial outs will cause the "A-Rod can't hit in the postseason" shouts to get louder and louder.  But if you're calling it - their weaknesses are fewer than the other clubs, their strengths are more pronounced.  Lets say Yanks in 6 over the Sox, and then in 6 more over the Dodgers.


Blog said...

Since team chemistry has no bearing on results whatsoever, to what do you attribute the overachieving seasons of the Mariners and the Padres?

Jim said...

San Diego was pretty bad; their pythagorean is lower than their actual win/loss (which at 75-87 still isn't glorious), they gave up 131 more runs than they scored. Unless I'm misreading you, which just struck me, and what you're saying isn't "the Padres played better than forecasted" and instead "the Padres won more games than they should have based on how poorly they played." Both claims might be true, actually - the metrics do have the Padres as the worst team in the NL West this year, so you can't say it was a successful season, but I did think they'd be worse than that. I anticipated more of a sell off (Bell/Gonzalez) than took place. I don't have an answer as to why a team outplays its pythag in a given year, but it doesn't appear to be a stable occurrence, to the contrary, a team that wins more games in a season than its underlying metrics is likely to regress the following season. That's a pretty demonstrable rule of thumb. It could be, I guess, that there's some magic in one season that just isn't there the next, I tend toward that its happenstance. I'm sure there are also smart things to say about the Mariners, but its the NL that I watch every day, so I'd have to look it up.

Blog said...

By "results" of course I am referring to wins, as that is the only stat that really matters. The old blog is no longer available, but I recall you saying something like the Padres were the worst team in the league and that they couldn't (as opposed to "wouldn't, though I could be remembering it wrong) win more than 65 games. So winning 75, and with winning streaks of 10 and 7 along the way, they certainly got more bang for the buck (I would be all for the creation of a WPM, or "wins per million" type stat that would tell which team got the best performance dollar for dollar)

Of course I realize that, when winning a game can come down to an unnecessary umpire blowing an incredibly easy fair/foul call ten feet away from him, the margin of error of such a prediction will be necessarily high.

Blog said...

On another note, can somebody tell me why teams feel the need to have a champagne spraying celebration for winning a Division Series? A pennant, yeah, a division title, sure, but a huge plastic sheeted celebration for winning a quarterfinal matchup?

Do NBA teams go nuts over advancing past the second round? Do NBA teams party like it's 1999 after advancing past the wildcard round? Would NHL players douse each other if they had a stupid name for their quarterfinal round? Are street peddlers hawking "LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANNEHEIM DIVISION SERIES CHAMPION" t-shirts as we speak?

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