Just when the MLB season 2014 had got underway in Australia we released our picks for the 2014 Baseball Futures. Now a couple months into the season, we feel it is a good time to look back at what we thought in late March.
Below is the full list of AccuScore win projections for all 30 teams as well as the Vegas O/U lines as of late March. In line with Vegas we had a strong belief that Nationals, Tigers and Dodgers would be able to reach 90 wins.
At the moment we believe Nationals and Tigers are able to reach 89 wins, while Dodgers are projected to reach 88 wins. These teams together with A’s, Giants, Blue Jays, Brewers and Angels have a better than 70 % change of reaching playoffs. Below is the full list of AccuScore projections as of 13th June.
What about those Texas Rangers?
There has been a lot of talk about the Texas Rangers injury situation. We don’t disagree with the consensus opinion, the Rangers have been hit by a lot of bad luck in form of injuries to key players. The following members of the Rangers organisation, all of whom can be thought of as members of the Active Roster under normal circumstances, have been injured for at least some part of the 2014 season:
Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Martin Perez, Yu Darvish, Joe Saunders, Tanner Scheppers, Alexi Ogando, Adrian Beltre, Jurickson Profar, Geovany Soto, Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland. As of today at least Martin Perez, Matt Harrison and Prince Fielder are out for the season and Jurickson Profar is unlikely to play this season.
Without the core crop of starters and with a constantly changing lineup, manager Ron Washington has been forced to mix and match. Under these circumstances the Rangers are off to a decent start playing just under .500 ball (32-34). According to our projection for the remainder of the season things does not look very bright though, as we project them to finish with 73 wins and 89 losses.
An interesting question is of course how the team would have feared with all of their injured key players being available? We made some analysis and run some simulations to find an answer to the question. We made the assumption that all of the players mentioned above would have been able to play from the beginning of the season and projected their playing time and performance up to this date.
Even with the best possible rotation and lineup available the Rangers would not have been projected to do much better than what they have done so far this season. The projected season-to-date Win Totals is just one win better than the actual (33 wins vs 32 wins). The players the Rangers have fielded this season have been overachieving (compared to our pre-season player projections) but their advanced metrics* shows that this is not necessarily because of good luck. FIP (3.99) for Rangers this season is actually over a half run lower than ERA (4.63) and as FIP should reflect ERA, and is based on so called pure statistics (strikeouts, walks and homeruns), we can say that the overachievement of the 2014 Rangers (calculated in Wins) have not been a result of their pitchers being lucky. With batting the same kind of reasoning has to be done a bit differently. We can look at wOBA, which should reflect general hitting, and compare it to league average wOBA. When this is done we compare the outcome to Runs Scored per game. Rangers hitters have a wOBA of 0.314 compared to the league average of 0.312. They have scored 4.26 runs per game while the league average is 4.17. So hitting has been about league average and there does not seem to be much luck involved here.
All in all we feel that the players that have been wearing the Rangers jersey this season might have been overachieving and are doomed for regression. So far they have been playing close to .500 ball, but for the rest of the season we feel they are probably going to play closer to .400 ball. Without Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez and Matt Harrison they have too many big holes to fill.
*Advanced metrics [wOBA (weighted on-base average) and FIP (fielding independent pitching)] was used to project player performance. Both wOBA and FIP has been adjusted for park effects.