National League Team Projections

Here they are:
NL East:
Mets 87-75, Phils 82-80, Braves 80-82, Marlins 78-84, Nationals 67-95
Kind of a boring projection, it looks a lot like last year.  The top 3 teams all have issues with their pitching.  The Mets will win because the front line talent in their lineup is just too good.
NL Central:
Cards 86-76, Cubs 84-78, Astros 83-79, Brewers 81-81, Pirates 78-84, Reds 73-89
I didn’t think the Astros would look this good, Pettite is gone and I’m not factoring in a return for Roger just yet.  I’m still projecting a very strong defense to support the pitching staff.  Adam Everett is a great defender, but I may not have accounted for just how bad the outfield defense is going to be.  The Cardinals are good mainly because they have Pujols.  The Cubs spent a lot of money, and have greatly improved their team, but will come up a bit short.  They spent great player money on good players (Soriano and Ramirez)  and good player money on average (Lilly) or not so good players (DeRosa, Marquis).
NL West:
Padres 83-79, Giants 82-80, Dodgers 80-82, Diamonbacks 80-82, Rockies 75-87
Padres have very strong pitching (both starting and relief) and a great pitcher’s park.  Their defense suffers a bit in left field with Sledge and Cruz replacing Dave Roberts, but the new platoon will certainly outhit Roberts.  They aren’t a great team, have a few top players getting long in the tooth, but are the best bet in a weak division.
Barry Bonds, whether you like it or not, is going to break the all time homerun record this year, and he’s going to do it with a team that has just enough to make one more playoff run.  The Dodgers are woefully short on power.  The Diamondbacks are potentially a very good team, but they really can’t count on Randy Johnson meeting his solid CHONE projection (198 innings, 3.75 ERA)
The projections don’t seem to have much variance.  I don’t really think we’re going to see 10 teams with 5 wins of each other.  What the final team records are depends on this:
True Talent + Luck + Injuries
We can’t predict luck, we can only crudely project injuries (like assuming Miguel Tejada will have more plate appearances than JD Drew).  For true talent, we may or may not project that correctly, though comparing the results of projection systems to a theoretical maximum, we seem to be doing fairly well.
For the NL East, my predictions have a standard deviation of 7.4 wins for those 5 teams.  I constructed a crude simulator that adds the element of luck and gives me a final record.  Here’s how it works:  Say a team is projected to have a .535 winning percentage.  So flip a coin (well, actually a random number generator) 162 times and see what record you come up with.  That team might play as expected, might get lucky and win 96 games, and might only win 74.  Repeating this exercise for the 5 teams in the NL East, in a typical sim I usually get an observed standard deviation of around 10 wins.
In plain English, I think 1 or two teams are going to win 90 games in the NL this year.  I don’t know which, but the Mets and Cardinals are where the smart money will be.


One Response to National League Team Projections

  1. Pizza Cutter says:

    Oh great, the Cubs look like they’ll be in a pennant race. I live near Wrigley Field (I know, rough life…) It means that this summer, our neighborhood will be majorly crowded… then apparently they’ll lose and we’ll have to listen to another winter of complaining about the curse of the goat/Chicago Fire/Steve Bartman. Thanks Sean. Thanks a lot.
    This is something like blaming the weatherman for forecasting a cloudy day…

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