2016 AL/NL Western Division Rankings – PLA Consensus Model Projections

By: Joe Botana

Proverbs 11:14  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

14 Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is [
a]victory.

Proverbs 15:22  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they [
a]succeed.

 Last week, we introduced a new statistical model, based on consensus ratings from popular existing models. Inspired by the Biblical wisdom quoted above, as well as by “poll of polls” and “analyst consensus” estimates used in political science and finance, our “PLA Consensus Model” seeks to predict the outcome of the upcoming baseball season based on the collective wisdom of other.

In today’s installment, we’ll begin on the geographic periphery of MLB, specifically on the “left coast”, and predict the outcome of the AL and NL Western Divisions. Tomorrow, we’ll stay on the periphery, but move to the “right coast” to predict the outcome of the AL and NL Eastern Divisions. Over the weekend, we’ll move to the center of the map and of my personal baseball affinities, to predict the outcome of the AL and NL Central Divisions. Finally, on Sunday we will look at the playoff picture six months before it begins, based on the model’s projections.

AL Western Divison

     Team    League-Div     W         L          Rank    StDevDiv  StDevWins

Houston           ALWD        90.3     71.8         1.00              0.00          2.06

Texas                ALWD        84.3      77.8        2.25              0.50           2.87

Seattle              ALWD        80.5      81.5        3.25             0.96            2.89

LA Angels        ALWD        78.5      83.5        4.00             0.82           3.11

Oakland           ALWD        75.0      87.0        4.50            1.00             7.39

The model predicts with a high degree of certainty that the Houston Astros will win the AL West, and forecasts a total of 90 wins with a fairly tight spread. It also forecasts the rest of the finishing order with relatively little disagreement. The only area with a high degree of uncertainty is how many games the A’s will win.

Based on the model’s projections, it would be surprising to see Texas overtake the Astros, even if the former overachieve and the latter underachieve by reasonably foreseeable amounts. It would be more likely that Texas and Seattle could switch second and third place, or that Seattle and the Halos could swap third and fourth. Finally, if the A’s perform at the top end of their reasonably expected range, they could conceivably pass the Halos for fourth, or potentially even Seattle for third place. The AL West ranks as “average” in terms of Division Strength (50.4% index) and uncertainty as to team final position (3.3 vs. 3.9 average) and division wins (18.3 vs. 19.6 average) index values.

NL Western Division

Team    League-Div     W         L          Rank    StDevDiv  StDevWins

LA Dodgers   NLWD        88.5     73.5         2.25            0.96          3.11

SF Giants       NLWD        88.3      73.8        1.50            0.58          2.36

Arizona           NLWD        85.5      76.5        2.25            0.96          5.20

San Diego      NLWD        74.8      87.3        4.25            0.50           1.71

Colorado        NLWD        70.5      91.5        4.75             0.50           6.19

The model’s consensus prediction for this division is interesting in that it predicts that either the LA Dodgers OR the San Francisco Giants will win the NL West. That is because the consensus wins gives the Dodgers the slightest of advantages at 88.5 vs. 88.3 wins. However, the consensus finishing position places the Giants on top with an average finishing position of 1.5 compared to the Dodgers and Arizona tied for second at a finishing position of 2.25.

This is the only instance where the model gives two different predictions for the top position. Because of the very narrow margin in consensus wins and the more definitive margin in predicted finishing position, we’ll take the San Francisco Giants as the model’s prediction for the NL West, but with a great deal of trepidation and uncertainty.

In fact, unlike the case of the Astros in the AL West, it would not be at all unexpected to see any of the three top teams swap places. This is clearly a two-speed division, with the Padres and the Rockies fighting it out for fourth vs. fifth place, but with no realistic likelihood to capture one of the three top spots.

The NL West also ranks as “average” in terms of Division Strength (50.4% index) and uncertainty as to team final position (3.5 vs. 3.9 average) and division wins (18.6 vs. 19.6 average) index values.

Tomorrow we will reveal the model’s predictions for the two east coast divisions.

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