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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Are Any Of MLB’s Breakout Teams For Real?

Statheads know that it usually takes roughly 70 games for baseball results to really start meaning something. On the first day of May a year ago, the New York Mets were 17-9 and the Los Angeles Dodgers were 12-16. Needless to say, both these teams’ fortunes would change: The Mets immediately collapsed into oblivion; the Dodgers went 80-55 the rest of the way and made the World Series. So the sensible move would be to sit tight and ignore the standings for a few more weeks.

But we obviously aren’t going to do that — it’s too much fun to speculate about which hot starts are for real. And MLB’s first full month had plenty of interesting results: As some favorites’ playoff chances have receded, other teams have put themselves in strong postseason position already. Here are the teams that have improved the most in our MLB Elo ratings since opening day:

....

We can break the most improved teams into a couple of groups. One features teams that were on the edge of contention before the season and whose hot starts solidified them as teams to be reckoned with in the playoff race. The other contains clubs who were not “supposed” to be this good (or even good at all) in the eyes of the preseason projections. These teams are in an interesting spot because their playoff odds are still low despite their promising showings. So how well they maintain their surprising performances will have a big effect on their decision-making around July’s trade deadline.

A consideration of team performance so far- something to bookmark for future months, to see how things change.

 

QLE Posted: May 02, 2019 at 06:07 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlb, statistics, teams

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 02, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5837648)
I was surprised to see the Cubs on the list of teams with the "largest change in ELO ratings" since the start of the season - they're #8. Part of it is that the Cubs losing 2 of 3 in Texas to open the season doesn't look as bad in retrospect as the Rangers are #1 on the list. And the Cubs have played two other teams ahead of them on the list - Arizona (#4) and Seattle (#6) - and the Cubs are a combined 6-2 against those two teams. So, it makes sense when I think about it. Even counting the 1-6 start, the Cubs are currently playing at a 93-win pace (16-12) and, in retrospect, they've accomplished that against a slightly tougher schedule than expected.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: May 02, 2019 at 05:32 PM (#5837744)
The Cubs currently lead the NL in run differential and in fewer games than most NL teams.
   3. Jacob Posted: May 03, 2019 at 03:44 AM (#5837866)
No mention of the Padres?! They won't win the division, but are Wild Card contenders. They won only 66 games last year. Though the run differential of -4 isn't good. That's for sure.

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