Accuscore's MLB Postseason Preview 2016

By Tomi Rantanen

Full disclosure of MLB Postseason 2016

The stage is set for the month of MLB postseason before the next baseball World Champion is crowned. After 162 games (or 161 for some…) of regular season per team, only 10 hopefuls out of 30 made the cut – and in two days’ time this number is reduced to eight. To not to keep everyone in suspense for the whole month, Accuscore reveals how the MLB postseason is likely to run out.

NOTE: As it stands, the pitching rotations for several teams heading to the postseason are not completely set or at least not public knowledge. In the simulations we have used the rotations and lineups from mlb.com

Wild Cards

In simulations the Wild Card games are extremely evenly matched and in all fairness, predicting playoff series of single game is more of a crapshoot than exact science. But this is what the simulations reveal:

 

American League Wild Card

 

National League Wild Card

Team

Toronto Blue Jays

Baltimore Orioles

 

New York Mets

San Francisco Giants

Starter

Marcus Stroman

Chris Tillman

 

Noah Syndergaard

Madison Bumgarner

Win %

52.0%

48.0%

 

53.1%

46.9%

Odds %

57.2%

42.8%

 

50.0%

50.0%

Accuscore’s article on the wild card games can be found here.

Divisional Championship Round

Heading straight to the Divisional Championship round in MLB postseason are the regular season winners of their respective divisions: in American League Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, in National League Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals.

AL: Boston Red Sox (3.) vs Cleveland Indians (2.)

Let’s start with the already set pairing of American League 2nd and 3rd seeds, Cleveland Indians vs Boston Red Sox. The Sox were in a world of trouble early on the season and seemed to be heading for another disappointing season. But they (finally) managed to patch the leaking boat before too late and rode the heavy hitting offense to a straight playoff-spot, their first since winning it all in 2013. Boston scored the most runs in all of MLB and were surprisingly solid defensively in the end, with their struggling pitching department finding their stride at the eleventh hour.

Cleveland was hardly a contender before the season, ranking 9th in American League by Vegas point totals. Accuscore however predicted the Indians to win their division, as they did. Their young core of playmakers had a solid season overall, without many dips in form and the pitching department showed some real potential – but injuries are now riddling the Indians. Carlos Carrasco is already out for season, but also Danny Salazar and Corey Kluber have nagging injuries, although the latter is a probable starter for Game 2 vs the Red Sox.

Accuscore prediction: Red Sox in 4

AL: Toronto Blue Jays (WC) vs Texas Rangers (1.)

Somewhat of a surprise winner of the American League, Texas Rangers have performed great all season and managed to stay healthy in the process. They won plenty of games where they seemed out of touch and outplayed, which shows the team is ready to put up a fight in the postseason as well. Statistically speaking the Rangers are surprisingly mediocre, with only the hitting percentage in top ten of MLB. Defense as a whole has been a sore spot: Rangers were only 21st in ERA and stuck in the bottom third of the MLB in most defensive categories. However, it’s enough to score one run more than your opponent, right?

Accuscore simulations bid Toronto Blue Jays against the Rangers, in a matchup that might turn out to be a proper shootout. Toronto's heavy hitters must get their game going first against the Orioles in the Wild Card game, but it is certain they're not happy with only making it through to Divisional Round. It is expected that Toronto will put up a fight, especially when playing at home and fight back after the Rangers are likely to win their own home stand. It all comes down to home field advantage and the Rangers handle the pressure with the slimmest of margins.

Accuscore prediction: Rangers in 5

NL: Los Angeles Dodgers (3.) vs Washington Nationals (2.)

Another matchup already set is the National League East vs West throwdown between the Dodgers and Nationals. Interestingly enough the teams only faced each other six times during the regular season and the Dodgers dominated those meetings picking up five wins. Three games were played in Washington, where the hosts managed to take their single victory.

Both of the teams have extremely tight defense and the pitching rotations rate among the best in the league, as is expected from top teams in the NL. The offense left a little something to be desired for as Nationals ranked 8th and Dodgers only 11th in the NL in hitting average.

In Accuscore simulations, the Dodgers get the edge in starting pitchers. Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer is the only starter managing a win over his Dodger counterpart, albeit each and every game is decided with less than 3% margin.

Accuscore prediction: Dodgers in 4

NL: New York Mets (WC) vs Chicago Cubs (1.)

The team to beat in this year’s MLB postseason is definitely the regular season dominating Chicago Cubs. Pretty much everything clicked for the Cubs and they’ve been virtually unbeatable from the get-go. The amazingly deep pitching pool only seemed to get better as the season progressed and in the end Cubs had five qualified pitchers under the ERA of 4.00.  They scored second most runs of all the teams heading to postseason and allowed by far the least, of course. If the Cubs stay healthy, there’s a good chance there’s no stopping them in postseason either.

Speaking of staying healthy, the Wild Card bound Mets probably have their own opinion. Incredibly unlucky with injuries to starting pitchers, they’ve somehow been able to promote unlikely heroes to step in and fill the shoes of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. Making it to postseason is a feat by itself, but facing a team of Cubs caliber is just too much for the banged up Mets.

Accuscore prediction: Cubs in 4

League Championship Series

 

AL: Boston Red Sox (3.) vs Texas Rangers (1.)

Having beaten their first obstacles of the postseason in Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays respectively, Red Sox and Rangers face each other in the MLB postseason American League Championship Series. In regular season they played six games head to head, each winning their home stand with 2-1 record. All of the games were high-scoring encounters, with the lowest score of 8 and highest 17.

With Red Sox improved pitching and extremely dangerous batters, the simulations indicate them to be favorites against the Rangers despite the home field advantage.

Accuscore prediction: Red Sox in 5

NL: Los Angeles Dodgers (3.) vs Chicago Cubs (1.)

The Dodgers were one of the few teams causing Cubs any problems during the regular season. Out of seven games played the Cubs did win four, but in three losses they suffered twice were they shut out completely. If there ever was a low scoring playoff series, this one looks very much like it. The Cubs won three of four at home which puts them in the driver’s seat with home advantage. But it is extremely close and the Dodgers are not likely to go down easy.

Accuscore prediction: Cubs in 7

World Series 2016

Chicago Cubs vs Boston Red Sox

According to Accuscore simulations, the MLB postseason culminates in a final series between two traditional baseball behemoths, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. With Red Sox winning the title in 2014, it is the Cubs that many wish to finally clinch the World Series after paltry 108-year dry spell.

In a nutshell the World Series matchup is a classic: Boston’s heavy hitters vs Chicago’s endless aces on the mound, offense vs defense. With both teams on top of their game in those particular areas, it might turn out to be a battle between the arguably underrated Boston’s pitching and Chicago’s offense.

Each and every simulation of the World Series results in a home win, giving the edge to All-Star game winners, the American League. When the dust settles, the wait continues in Chicago as the Red Sox are crowned champions for the second time in four years.

Accuscore prediction: Red Sox in 7

Accuscore's MLB Postseason 2016
Accuscore's MLB Postseason 2016