Let us go back to a simpler time, when the Astros had yet to win a World Series, the Las Vegas Golden Knights were preparing for the expansion draft, and the hype for The Fate of the Furious was taking over the internet. I am, of course, talking about March 2017.
In my last few posts in this series, I discussed my predictions and conclusions for 2018 MLB end-of-season win totals and playoff odds. However, I decided to step back in this article and examine how this methodology works in greater detail, as well as how it applies to a season where we already know the results, the 2017 season.
Last week, I released my updated end-of-season record forecasts for each of the thirty MLB teams. In case you missed it, I highly recommend checking it out here, as well as the first part in this series released in April, where I used the small early season samples to predict a more accurate “on-pace” record for end-of-season wins.
On Twitter, someone pointed out that my predictions weren’t very revolutionary, as they matched the same conclusions that can be seen on Fangraph’s Playoff Odds website. If you take the team with highest chance of winning each division, plus the next two teams with the highest wildcard probabilities, Fangraphs had the exact same playoff picture as I did, down to Seattle making their first postseason since 2001 by snagging the second wildcard, the Nats winning the NL East despite being 5.5 games back of first at the time of data collection, and the Brewers/Diamondbacks going 1-2 with the NL wildcards.
As the dog days of summer continue to roll on, all thirty baseball teams have finally reached the informal halfway point of the season, and get a well-deserved break as the country focuses on the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. As such, I decided to see how my end of season forecasts have changed based on all of this new data that is available.