Cubs Pirates 8/1/2020

It’s back to the future when the Cubs play Pirates again after beating them yesterday even after another relief meltdown. In a normal season July and August are in the wheelhouse for this data model with regards to handicapping. These 2 months are like the boring parts of an Indy 500 or golf tournament. Contestants pace themselves and there is enough data to discern the great from the good from the mediocres from the not so good from the ones bringing up the rear. This is true for team records as well as players. This model beats Vegas the most in July and August.

April and May there is a general lack of data where both teams and players are bunched together making it difficult to discern. In September expanded rosters cause teams way ahead and way behind to work the new guys and not care so much about winning. This model is still ahead of Vegas in September but not as much.

In this bizarre pandemic season we’re a little over a week into it which is like the second week of April in a normal season. We don’t even start compiling a league until after two weeks data are in the books.

By the time we can reliably rank players the season will be half over this year and 3/4 over when handicap can begin so this presents a problem. Somehow Vegas handicaps from day one and the only way that can be done is by relying on historical data.

It has been decided, rather arbitrarily, to use three year split data for players to compile league rosters and lineups and enter them into the simulator. Today we’ll cover this game as if it were a normal mid season game with a full dataset to work from.

Forget the standings for now let’s get to the handicapping.

PIT CHN 08_01_8:15_PM

  WAA Vegas TC Sim EV L S R
PIT -33 0.377 0.330 87 -1.44 -1.69 -3.96
CHN 55 0.643 0.670 104 1.89 -1.63 1.40

Cubs won 55 games more than they lost in 2017.2018, and 2019.  Pittsburgh lost 33 more than they won during that period.  Vegas giving Cubs a 64.3% chance of winning today and TC Sim has them higher at 67% which translates into an Expected Value on a 100 unit bet to be 104 which isn’t enough so this game is a discard.

Cubs have a much better lineup, both Starters not so good as we’ll see below, and PIT relief is almost maxed out -4.00 in the wrong direction.  Cubs relief above average.  All of this is based on 3 year data which means Craig Kimbrel is their best reliever. 🙂


Starters WAA WinPct IP Tier
Mitch_Keller_PIT -2.92 0.226 48.0 -1.69
Tyler_Chatwood_TOT -2.75 0.462 328.1 -1.63

Mitch Keller is new to MLB and came up from minors last season and didn’t pitch so well.  He pitched very well in AAA last season however.   Normally new starters coming in mid season cause the entire game to be discarded.  At 48 IP over 3 years means Mitch Keller is close to being an unknown quantity right now.

PIT Lineup

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA
XXXXX -1.55 Adam_Frazier_PIT LF-2B-RF 1414
XXXXX -1.60 Kevin_Newman_PIT SS-2B 628
+072+ 8.00 Josh_Bell_PIT 1B 1816
XXXXX 0.48 Colin_Moran_PIT BAT-3B-2B 980
XXXXX 1.76 Bryan_Reynolds_PIT LF-RF-CF 546
XXXXX 0.65 Gregory_Polanco_PIT RF-LF 1113
XXXXX -0.76 Phillip_Evans_PIT BAT 61
-121- -3.97 Jarrod_Dyson_PIT CF-LF-RF 1079
XXXXX -1.01 John_Ryan_Murphy_PIT BAT-CR 300
Total 2.00 TIER=-1.44

Josh Bell had a breakout season last year ranked #19 in MLB according to this data model.

CHN Lineup

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA
+094+ 6.97 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B-RF-LF 1756
+040+ 11.09 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B-2B 1969
+025+ 14.26 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B-SS-3B 1714
+149+ 5.00 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF 1606
XXXXX 2.90 Willson_Contreras_CHN CR 1381
XXXXX 1.66 Jason_Heyward_CHN RF-CF 1559
XXXXX 1.03 Nico_Hoerner_CHN SS 82
+150+ 4.98 Ian_Happ_CHN CF-2B-LF-RF-3B 1031
XXXXX -1.43 Victor_Caratini_CHN CR-1B 545
Total 46.46 TIER=1.89

Cubs still have a lot of good players which is why they’re hitting so well this season so far.  Rank is for all MLB players who made an appearance any time during last 3 seasons.  Cubs have 5 players ranked, 3 in the top 100 in this lineup which is very good.  Tier 1.89 means they’re almost a complete standard deviation above league average for lineups as of today.   Perhaps in a future post we’ll cover top MLB lineups.

That is all for now.  The 1984 Cubs start a new series with the Expos tomorrow.  Until then ….