A Fun Thought

Dave · April 16, 2009 at 11:45 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Whether the M’s deserve to be 7-2 right now or not, the fact is that those wins don’t get taken off the board. They’re in the bank, and they aren’t going anywhere.

Because of that, even if you haven’t changed your opinion one iota about the strength of the roster (and honestly, you shouldn’t have changed it much – nine games is too small of a sample to mean much), you need to add three wins to whatever you thought the team’s final record was going to be. Math requires you to.

You thought they were a 75 win team on Opening Day? That would be a .463 winning percentage. If they play .463 ball over the rest of the season, they’ll win 71 more games. 71 + 7 = 78.

You though they were a 78 win team on Opening Day (hey, me too!)? That would be a .481 winning percentage. If they play .481 ball over the rest of the season, they’ll win 74 more games. 74 + 7 = 81.

You can do this for basically any expected record. Almost everyone should just add three wins to their expected record to find their new expected record. If you were really high on this team and thought they would win 90, you only add two wins (.555 * 153 = 85 + 7 = 92).

Most of us, we’ll add three wins. So, now, I “expect” the M’s to finish 81-81, based on their current roster, assuming no injuries/trades/etc…

Given that, I’d say it’s likely – not possible, likely – that the team will still be playing meaningful baseball in September. Seriously – get ready for some kind of pennant race. The M’s are in this thing, and barring a summer sell-off of all the expiring contracts, they should be all year.


67 Responses to “A Fun Thought”

  1. stevie_j13 on April 16th, 2009 3:02 pm

    I think Uncle Ted summarized my thinking pretty well. If he is right about LLN (and I suspect he might be, as Dave and the others are probably right about the stats), then I should have more license to feel good about this team.
    Part of me just worries about the example of the 2007 Mariners. Many who followed that team, including myself, kept saying, “They’re not this good. They’re not this good.” Then they lost 15 of 17, and it hurt even more because they had outperformed expectations so much and were so close to riding that good luck into the playoffs.

  2. Oolon on April 16th, 2009 3:10 pm

    While I might have to add 3 games due to the hot start, I’m tempted to subtract 3 games due to the team’s fascination with “doing the little things”…

    If we start consistently bunting in the 4th inning of scoreless games with our 6th place hitter to move a runner from 2nd to 3rd – it has to have a negative effect on our total wins. My preseason estimate (77) assumed that Wakamatsu would be a capable manager, these small ball tactics have me wondering.

  3. Wilder83 on April 16th, 2009 3:26 pm

    The real question is, how many games do you take away for the Washington Nationals?!

    This season has already been full of excitement. It really does have a 2001 feel to it. I just hope we don’t absolutely bomb to finish out April.

  4. skjes on April 16th, 2009 3:28 pm

    I’m trying to avoid reading too much into the current series against the Angels. On the one hand, yeah, the M’s are winning and are looking good doing it. On the other hand, the Angels have three starters on the DL, plus Nick Adenhart was killed in a senseless DUI accident (with the entire team dealing with the fact that his next start would have been that Tuesday and his impending funeral). These really are games the M’s are supposed to win.

  5. Ron Stevens on April 16th, 2009 3:40 pm

    Given that they have won 7 of nine,and
    with your premise that they are a .481
    team,I calculated that they have a 32%
    chance of finishing the regular season
    with 82 to 89 wins;they’ve got a 50%
    chance of winning 82 or more.

  6. Ron Stevens on April 16th, 2009 3:52 pm

    I should have one less win;
    it should be 81 to 88,and 50%
    chance of winning 81 or more.

  7. Mike Snow on April 16th, 2009 3:56 pm

    Ron, I don’t know what you’re using that affects your formatting, but please remember to use the space bar after you type a comma.

  8. droppedrod on April 16th, 2009 4:07 pm

    It’s been some time since I took a stats class, but does Dave’s logic work when the estimated record for the team isn’t based on a true sample? In other words, is a prediction that the team will finish .500 really a “statistic” in the true sense of the term?

    Saying, before the season starts, that the team will finish 81 and 81, regardless of how you get there, isn’t based on a sample of this team’s past performance. Once you have an adequate sample of the team’s performance, then you can apply Dave’s math. If the team goes .500 through the first 80 games, adding 3 wins to the predicted win total after a 6 game streak in August seems to work better.

  9. DLCheeZ on April 16th, 2009 4:15 pm

    But I don’t understand why we shouldn’t look at the strength of schedule first, before determining that we’re 3 games ahead of where we thought we would be.

    So let’s look at strength of schedule. In April, the Mariners face the following:

    The 2008
    AL West Champs
    AL Central Champs
    AL Central Runners Up
    AL East Champs and AL Pennant Winners

    It’s not all A’s and Tigers. Though let’s acknowledge that the Tigers currently are tied for first in their division.

    As it turns out, the teams we’ve beaten so far all have sub .500 records. Why is that? At least part of that is because the 2009 Mariners are handing out beatings like Halloween candy.

    NOBODY thought the M’s would finish April above .500 and somehow, they’re a 5-8 run away from making that a reality. You’d better believe this team is 3 games ahead of where we thought they would be.

  10. Dylan S on April 16th, 2009 4:51 pm

    “This also assumes that either “opponent difficulty” for the first nine games is roughly the same as for the remaining 153…”


    “To be fair, Dave’s post is not entirely accurate unless you assume that the competition faced to date is comparable to the overall level of competition that you anticipated that they would face throughout the season”


    No, Dave’s post doesn’t assume that. It assume that the remaining 153 games are as difficult as the whole 162 games (which they are). The post assumes nothing about the first nine games and gives them no consideration going forward. Dave’s post is making the same prediction he made before the season except now assuming that the M’s play a 153 game season and start off with a record of 7-2.

  11. Gregor on April 16th, 2009 5:15 pm

    No, Dave’s post doesn’t assume that. It assume that the remaining 153 games are as difficult as the whole 162 games (which they are).

    Of course, the assumption you state implies that the first nine games are also as difficult as the whole 162 games, and hence as the remaining 152 games.

  12. beckya57 on April 16th, 2009 6:30 pm

    Calm down, Dave. They will have injuries, after all; for starters, Ichiro’s ulcer could recur, and Jr is only one hamstring pull away from a lengthy DL stint. I agree that this is a .500 team, and that’s a huge improvement from last year (plus they’re a whole lot more fun to watch), but playoff talk is WAY premature. Lots of teams start strong and then regress to their true level later. I think Jack Z and Wakamatsu are building for 2010 or 2011, and that’s exactly what they should be doing.

  13. joser on April 16th, 2009 7:24 pm

    Yeah, because if there’s one thing Dave has been guilty of over the past few years, it’s his excessive optimism.

    The folks that run this blog just can’t win. When they state an unpopular opinion and are proven right, they never have anyone who disagreed come back and acknowledge that. When they’re realistic about the limitations of the team, they’re accused of excessive negativity, of being “haters” or somehow wanting the team to fail.

    And now, when they express a little optimism, they’re told to “calm down.”

    Sometimes I wonder why they bother. (And then I remember: they’re fans.)

    (FWIW, I think the brain trust is building for 2010-11 too; but clearly they’re also trying to balance that with winning now and turning the fanbase around — which, for their employers, is just as important. Hence the Griffey signing.)

  14. joser on April 17th, 2009 1:49 am

    An unfun thought: In the opening days of the 2008 season, the Royals went 6-2 and held first place in the AL Central for 11 days, until April 14th. A week later they had fallen to last place, on their way to a 72-90 record.

  15. DMZ on April 17th, 2009 1:53 am

    That’s not going to happen again since they have Bloomquist to keep them focused and motivated.

  16. joser on April 17th, 2009 12:35 pm

    Oh smacks forehead of course! How could I have overlooked that?

  17. joser on April 17th, 2009 12:36 pm

    Wait, the M’s had Bloomquist last year. Are you saying he’s going to focus the Royals on losing 100+ games this year?

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