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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Why The Dodgers’ WS Odds are So High

There is no Braves team or Brewers club in the AL playoffs to potentially boost the odds of getting to the World Series. The Brewers and Braves have good teams; on paper, though, they don’t come close to those AL teams. As a result, the Dodgers have the highest odds of any team to make the World Series. They might not be favored if they get there, but getting there provides enough of a boost to their overall odds that they end up with the second-highest championship odds in baseball.

Kind of an interesting piece on how FanGraphs is getting their percentages.

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 19, 2018 at 10:51 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, odds, world series

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5747293)
This logic is based on the Dodgers having a 70% chance to win the LDS, and a 65% chance to win the LCS. Those numbers don't make sense.

A team with a .550 W% isn't a 70% favorite against any playoff team, much less one with an equal or better W%.
   2. Sunday silence Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5747316)
the article seems to raise more questions without answering any of them..not convinced.
   3. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5747322)
The Cub s this year could be in the position the cardinals were in 2015. The team with the best record will have to play the 2nd or 3rd best team in the DS, while the 4th and 5th best play in the other.
   4. RMc's Daps of the Dope Artists Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5747334)
The Brewers and Braves have good teams; on paper, though, they don’t come close to those AL teams.

As I like to say, you don't play baseball games on paper...because the cleats would tear it all to hell.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5747338)
The Brewers and Braves have good teams; on paper,

How exactly are the 84 win Dodgers much better than the 86 win Brewers and 83 win Braves? Is this all about Pythag records?

Even still, a 92 win Dodger team would not be a massive favorite over an 83 win Brewers or 85 win Braves.
   6. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 19, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5747342)
This logic is based on the Dodgers having a 70% chance to win the LDS, and a 65% chance to win the LCS. Those numbers don't make sense.

A team with a .550 W% isn't a 70% favorite against any playoff team, much less one with an equal or better W%.


It does help highlight the fact, however uncomfortable the commentariat might be with it, that baseball's playoffs are mostly random and winning championships in this playoff structure comes down more to luck than anything else. Suppose a team were so good that it wins every series it plays 70% of the time--that team's probability of winning the World Series is 34%. One in three.

And no team is that good. In the playoffs you're always playing a strong opponent. Even a team as strong as the 2018 Red Sox, they're on a 111-51 pace. They win 69% of their games. But their opponents will be teams that win 55-60% of their games. Even a historically strong team with home field advantage isn't better than 60-65% to win a given series, and thus only about 1-in-4 to win the World Series. Versus 2-in-5 to lose in the wild card round.

I don't doubt there are some team-construction specifics (two ace starters, strong bullpens, deep lineups, veteran presence, whatever) that affect these odds. But only marginally. The effect of random luck drowns out everything else.

We are inclined to THINK--hell, we know that the Red Sox are significantly better than the Yankees or A's. But a five game sample is too few to lend the result any significance. The Yankees or A's have at least a one-in-three chance to win that series--better than that, probably--and if they do, it doesn't make the Red Sox chokers. It just makes them unlucky.
   7. TomH Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5747359)
Agree; not seeing how the Dodgers have much higher odds than the Cubs. Fangraphs believes the Cubs team ERA will regress significantly from season stats to date, in spite of the rotation swap from Chatwood to Hamels. Yes, I know, 2 reliever injuries.....
   8. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5747362)
I think whichever team has Max Muncy is more or less guaranteed to win.
   9. Baldrick Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:22 PM (#5747373)
A team with a .550 W% isn't a 70% favorite against any playoff team, much less one with an equal or better W%.

If you think they're better than a .550 team, and the other playoff team isn't as good as their record, then you might be in a world where you'd predict the ".550 team" to win 60% of their games against the other playoff team. If so, a 70% chance of winning the series is totally reasonable.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5747379)
If you think they're better than a .550 team, and the other playoff team isn't as good as their record, then you might be in a world where you'd predict the ".550 team" to win 60% of their games against the other playoff team.

Not given the teams we're talking about. Even if you think the Dodgers are a .600 team, their potential opponents are all clearly better than .500. The Cubs much better.

A .600 team doesn't win 60% of its games vs. .550 opposition.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5747397)
Not that it changes the point that there's no way the Dodgers (or any team really) can be a 70% favorite in a playoff series, it is true that due to the discrete nature of the binomial distribution, if the probability of a heads (win) is 55% in each toss, then the chances of winning (at least) 3 of 5 is nearly 60%. The chances of winning at least 4 of 7 is even a bit higher than 60%. Under complete randomness, etc.
   12. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 19, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5747406)
Right, Walt. That's half the story here.
The other half is that they are likely exaggerating the difference in "true talent" between the Dodgers and the rest of the NL.
(There's also a bit about the value of home field advantage but I digress.)
   13. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5747409)
Anyone giving odds that the Dodgers are 70% to win the LDS, I'd be interested in some action.

I wish the Fangraphs Book would open.
   14. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5747423)
I will say... the Dodgers are the best team in the NL.

They lead in the NL in runs scored (in Dodger Stadium) and have upgraded their talent over the season (even with Seager out - they've Machado now, for example). Only Dozier at second and Barnes (half of the catcher tandem) have been a problem offensively (well, also Utley on the bench and their pitchers can't hit). They've four starters with an ERA under 3 - one of whom is Clayton Kershaw* - and a bullpen bloated with good performers and capable starters.
I wouldn't want to play them.

* how you feel about him in the postseason is a different question
   15. Baldrick Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5747425)
Not that it changes the point that there's no way the Dodgers (or any team really) can be a 70% favorite in a playoff series

It's not really that uncommon. 70% isn't that high! All it takes, as you say, is to be 60/40 to win a given game. Plenty of playoff series feature teams with 10-15 win gaps in their underlying ability.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5747433)
The more pressing question I have: Are the Dodgers' odds considered high or low?

   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:21 PM (#5747435)
Plenty of playoff series feature teams with 10-15 win gaps in their underlying ability.

Not in the NL this year.

   18. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:21 PM (#5747436)
70% in a series is no big deal. (Compounding, right?)
70% to get through the NL playoffs is. (Compounding, right?)
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:27 PM (#5747442)
Surely the Dodgers playoff odds have to be downgraded by the still-real possibility that they miss them.

   20. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5747454)
Surely the Dodgers playoff odds have to be downgraded by the still-real possibility that they miss them.


They are. The article breaks down the math. They have a 79.7% chance of winning the west and a 9.3% chance of making it as a wild card. So, there's an 11% chance they miss the playoffs entirely - that seems reasonable enough; the Dodgers are probably a better team than the Rockies. They have a 56% chance of winning the wild card game - that seems reasonable; they should have the edge in starting pitching in that game, so 44% times 9.3% = another 4.1% chance of not making it to the LDS. They then have a 69.7% chance to win the LDS - this is the crazy number - and then, if they win that, a 65.2% chance of winning the LCS - this is also a crazy number.

I mentioned in the latest Gonfalon Cubs thread that the Dodgers probably worry me more than any other NL Cubs' opponent for precisely this reason: if they start playing up to their potential, they're probably the best team in the National League. But I think you have to recognize that they haven't played as well as people expected, the Cubs are a pretty damn good team, too, and the Cubs will have home-field advantage (well, they'll almost certainly have home-field advantage: the Cubs are 5-1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers right now). If you want to say, well, but still, the Dodgers are 53/47 favorites, okay, I disagree, but close enough. But 65 - 70% over an NL team with a similar or better record? No way.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: September 19, 2018 at 01:50 PM (#5747464)
I'm curious about how the Dodgers would line up their rotation. It is not at all obvious who goes behind Kershaw. The better established pitchers - Hill, Wood and Maeda - are performing worse than rookie Walker Buehler and non-prospect guy Ross Stripling. Ryu is healthy and pitching way above his established level. ZiPS rest-of-season puts all of those guys in the 3.50-3.80 predicted ERA range. I suspect some of these fellows are injured, though.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 19, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5747516)
I suspect some of these fellows are injured, though.

It's the Dodgers, they're probably all injured.
   23. Baldrick Posted: September 19, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5747539)
The Fangraphs system obviously thinks the ability to score and prevent runs is more predictive than current W/L percentage. Which, fair enough. Their pythag is .605, and a significant cut above the teams they'd play in the division series. It also obviously thinks the Dodgers right now are significantly better than the Dodgers over the course of the season. Which again, fair enough. They added Machado and Dozier, got Turner back, and have Kershaw right now. Those are four things that were not true for a big chunk of the spring and summer.

Even accounting for those things, I'm skeptical of treating them as a .650+ team, which you'd have to do in order to get the sort of outcomes Fangraphs is producing. But I don't see any part of that which is super unreasonable.
   24. John DiFool2 Posted: September 19, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5747548)
How exactly are the 84 win Dodgers much better than the 86 win Brewers and 83 win Braves? Is this all about Pythag records?


I have no idea at all what it is about. They have the Braves, despite just a moderately difficult schedule going forward, to win less than 50% of their remaining reg. season games, even tho when I go over to BBProspectus they have them at .550, w/ a 3rd order % of .580. They must heavily regress what is a fairly young team and pretty much ignore what Acuna is doing.
   25. perros Posted: September 19, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5747552)
Right now, Buehler behind Kershaw, then Ryu and probably Hill on a very short leash. There's an espn article on the Dodgers that states no matter how much talent and how well managed, there is no guarantee in baseball you will win.

This year's team is like the little girl with the curl in thr middle of her forehead.
   26. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 19, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5747586)

Baseball Prospectus also has the Dodgers with a 17.9% chance of winning the WS. That basically comes from the view based on their Pythagorean record and their component stats that they are much better than their record.
   27. Baldrick Posted: October 20, 2018 at 11:28 PM (#5771916)
Hey look who made the World Series.

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