2018 Playoff Horse Race Part 1

We’re almost a month away from the end of the 2018 season so it’s time again for playoff horse race, a first glance at contender roster value summarized into a single table.   Like last year at this time, the below table ranks team Total value along with how that value is distributed amongst hitters and pitchers.  Pitchers consists of the sum of starters and relief.  The W-L column (real WAA), is the only value the MLB commissioner considers when deciding who goes to the playoffs.

This model doesn’t delve into divisional standings as there are lots other sites that do that and some very well.  Baseball-reference.com has an easy to read summary of that which I used to manually color code the first column in the below table.

Playoff Horse Race 8/28/2018

TeamID W-L Total Hitters Pitchers Starters Relief
HOU 31 44.9 15.4 29.4 17.7 11.7
LAN 9 35.5 18.0 17.6 12.3 5.3
OAK 26 33.4 11.8 21.6 7.2 14.4
BOS 48 31.7 25.8 5.9 1.7 4.2
CHN 24 31.0 15.7 15.3 3.7 11.6
ATL 16 29.7 13.1 16.7 10.9 5.7
CLE 18 26.3 17.3 9.0 9.2 -0.1
ARI 13 26.2 6.5 19.8 9.2 10.5
MIL 14 24.8 10.7 14.1 5.6 8.4
SLN 15 21.4 8.1 13.3 10.3 3.0
WAS 0 20.6 9.6 11.1 8.2 2.8
NYA 35 20.4 12.3 8.1 5.2 2.8
PHI 9 17.8 4.8 12.9 9.2 3.7
PIT -3 17.3 5.2 12.1 4.3 7.7
COL 11 11.6 16.3 -4.7 -1.1 -3.5

Last year when we did this the Dodgers had a W-L of +53, five games greater than Red Sox have now.  The above table shows the top 15 teams in MLB ranked by total team value according to who is currently listed on their 25 man roster.   Our source for rosters may lag a few days.  This model lumps AL and NL together as the ultimate prize in baseball is the MLB commissioner trophy.  Only one team gets to bring that home.

Teamids colored blue in the first column are teams currently leading their respective divisions and guaranteed a spot in a divisional series if they can hold on.  Green are those who currently hold a wild card spot and tan are teams in the hunt for one of either a wild card or division lead.

Numbers in bold blue are the high for that column, red the low.  With +48 one would expect Boston to lead in team total value.  Chris Sale is missing from their roster who by himself adds +7.25, value to  Starter, Pitchers, and Total columns.  The above shows their value and how they rank in MLB as of now.  All of this will be in flux during the next month which is why this is called a horse race and we’re now at the final turn.

I was surprised to see the Yankees so low in this list and the Dodgers so high.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
34.3 80.7 623 502 70 61 -2.0 4.8 LAN
97.8 57.8 681 527 83 48 -1.0 -0.7 NYA

After perusing their roster manually the Yankees are missing a bunch of top players.  They have the second highest BAT in MLB according to seasonal run differential with only Boston ahead of them.  Judge and Gregorius seem to be missing.  There are some good pitchers missing too so NYA may have an injury problem. This model does not keep track of the DL.  If they come back the above table will be updated to reflect that.

The Dodgers are under performing what their Pythagorean Expectation estimate expects.  PE says they should have a W-L of more than +20, yet their real W-L is only +9.   Since the sum of players on the Dodgers adds to their PE estimate their team value will reflect that.  They also could have made some very positive acquisitions as well.   LAN doesn’t even have a spot in the playoffs right now.  This could all change in September however and the above table will be updated weekly until the final playoff rosters are released.

That is all for now.  An end of month five Cubs status coming Thursday.  Until then ….