NL Wild Card game

Colorado plays Arizona in the NL Wild Card game tonight.  Let’s look at these two teams starting with team status.

72.8 -24.0 824 757 87 75 19.7 -1.6 COL
58.3 112.1 812 659 93 69 -17.3 0.9 ARI

Arizona has the third best PITCH, derived from run differential, in MLB but their overall pitching staff according to our valuation of who is on their pitching roster is more mid tier for the 10 playoff teams.  If they win tonight we’ll show where they stand in the field of 8.  Colorado’s pitching is under water and their BAT is good.  They have the worst pitching of the field of 10 playoff teams.

Notice the difference between Unearned Runs above average (UR) highlighted.  Arizona has terrible fielding while Colorado has been excellent, one of the best in MLB.  We’ll see how that plays out tonight.  Giving up runs due to errors  sunk many a team in the playoffs (shout out to the 2003 Chicago Cubs!).

Let’s see what the betting market (Ouija Board) has to say.  Lines have been converted into probabilities of winning.  In order to bet a line your expected probability must be higher than the probability set by the market.

DATE 10_04 8:05_PM COL ARI
LINEAWAY COL [ 0.392 ] < 0.383 >
STARTAWAY 1.78(0.573) Jon_Gray_COL
LINEHOME ARI [ 0.623 ] < 0.632 >
STARTHOME 5.44(0.621) Zack_Greinke_ARI
COL 87 75 ARI 93 69

We use a 0.10 margin threshold.  To bet the ARI line you would need an expected probability of 0.63 + 0.10 = 0.73.  That’s not going to happen.  The regular season deltaWAA says ARI has a  0.58 chance of winning with no other information.  The playoffs are different however and win/loss records in regular season do not affect post season that much.  We need to look at lineup-starter combos.

Jon Gray is a Tier 3 starter (i.e. average).  Greinke is Tier 1.  Tiers are introduced here.   Greinke however has a history in the playoff season.  Here is his pitching line.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX -0.02 58.3 3.55 9 2 Zack_Greinke_TOT PITCH

He is almost completely average in the playoffs.  Which Greinke will pitch tonight?  The top tier regular season Greinke or the average playoff Greinke?

Now let’s look at lineups.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 10042017
7.25 Charlie_Blackmon_COL CF 725
-0.29 DJ_LeMahieu_COL 2B 682
0.23 Carlos_Gonzalez_COL RF 534
7.20 Nolan_Arenado_COL 3B 680
1.93 Trevor_Story_COL SS 555
2.75 Gerardo_Parra_COL LF 425
4.01 Mark_Reynolds_COL 1B 593
-3.11 Jonathan_Lucroy_TOT C 481
-0.44 Jon_Gray_COL P 43
TOTAL WAA=19.53 PA=4718 WinPct=0.579

That’s a Tier 1 regular season MLB lineup.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 10042017
0.27 David_Peralta_ARI LF 577
-1.28 Ketel_Marte_ARI SS 255
8.38 Paul_Goldschmidt_ARI 1B 665
7.62 J.D._Martinez_TOT RF 489
4.60 Jake_Lamb_ARI 3B 635
1.24 A.J._Pollock_ARI CF 466
0.42 Daniel_Descalso_ARI 2B 398
-2.52 Jeff_Mathis_ARI C 203
-0.90 Zack_Greinke_ARI P 70
TOTAL WAA=17.83 PA=3758 WinPct=0.591

That is also a Tier 1 MLB regular season lineup.

We have the following lineup – starter pairs for this game.

  1. 1-3 Tier 1 ARI lineup vs. Tier 3 COL starter
  2. 1-1 Tier 1 COL lineup vs. Tier 1 ARI starter

According to our runs table pair 1 yields 5.1 runs for ARI, pair 2 yields 4.3 runs for COL.  This can be simulated to generate an expected probability using the real distributions but it’s not finished today.  My eyeball guess at this says ARI is greater than 60% making COL less than 40%.  Each line in this game a discard.  When our expected probability comes close to the house, the house has the advantage and we can’t win in the long run.  We only bet when we have a clear advantage.

If Greinke pitches as a Tier 3 starter then both teams will be at 5.1 runs and ARI would have an expected probability of 0.53 according to our playoff deltaWAA table.  This puts COL’s chances at 0.47 well above the COL of 0.383.   Although we don’t have this modeled yet, the huge difference in fielding should push COL over the top making their line a betting opportunity.  That’s a lot of ifs ands or buts however.    This is all still a work in progress here which will continue throughout the off season.

Another aspect of the game is relief pitching.  Woe to the team who gives up late inning runs.  Here are the relievers on each team’s playoff roster.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+086+ 3.40 Chris_Rusin_COL PITCH
+055+ 3.04 Pat_Neshek_PHI PITCH
XXXXX 1.01 Greg_Holland_COL PITCH
+055+ 0.99 Pat_Neshek_COL PITCH
XXXXX -0.13 Mike_Dunn_COL PITCH
XXXXX -0.78 Scott_Oberg_COL PITCH
XXXXX -0.90 Carlos_Estevez_COL PITCH
Total 7.64

Rusin came up through the Cubs’ system and Neshak was an All Star acquired by COL from PHI. This is a capable relief staff.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+042+ 4.47 Archie_Bradley_ARI PITCH
XXXXX 1.81 David_Hernandez_ANA PITCH
XXXXX 1.09 Jimmie_Sherfy_ARI PITCH
XXXXX 1.01 Andrew_Chafin_ARI PITCH
XXXXX 0.17 Jorge_De_La_Rosa_ARI PITCH
XXXXX 0.17 Fernando_Rodney_ARI PITCH
XXXXX -0.21 David_Hernandez_ARI PITCH
Total 8.51

Both relief staffs about the same value so neither team gains an advantage from that.

That is all for now.  ALDS playoffs tomorrow which will pit the two best teams in MLB according to this data model against each other.  Friday the Cubs play.  Due to a scheduled power outage we may be out of service all day.   The Cubs will probably face this guy.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX -0.36 74.7 3.74 12 4 Max_Scherzer_TOT PITCH

That’s his value line in the playoff season after almost 75 innings pitched.  Until then….