The Odds Of Winning

Dave · April 1, 2010 at 9:57 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The guys at Replacement Level Yankee Weblog posted their season simulation blowout on Tuesday, using the inputs of five different projection systems and running them through Diamond Mind’s baseball simulation engine 1,000 times each to produce projected standings for the 2010 season. Since we’re all trying to figure out just how good this team may be, and how likely they are to give us a playoff team to root for this year, I thought it’s worth pointing out.

If you aggregate the projections together, the Mariners are projected to finish 81-81 and place second in the AL West. That might sound like a disappointment, but the key is in the playoff odds – in those 1,000 seasons, the Mariners ended up on top of the AL West 25.6 percent of the time and won the wild card 3.8 percent of the time. In other words, in nearly 3 out of 10 runs of the season, the M’s ended up playing October baseball. I’ll take that. Given where the team was just two years ago, who isn’t happy with 30 % odds of making the playoffs?

Even better, Dan Szymobrski’s ZIPS system (which wasn’t included in RLYW’s run because they were licensed by ESPN for use in their baseball preview) actually has the M’s as favorites in the AL West and winning the World Series more often than all but six other MLB clubs.

This is a roster with flaws. We all know that. We’ll spend a lot of time dissecting every last possible spot to upgrade the team as the year goes on, I’m sure. But, warts and all, there is a non-zero chance we’ll be throwing a parade this winter. Be concerned about the offense, the back of the rotation, the lack of depth on the middle infield, but don’t lose sight of the big picture – the 2010 Mariners are a legitimate contender.

Comments

21 Responses to “The Odds Of Winning”

  1. hansk on April 1st, 2010 10:21 am

    I hate to be a pessimist, but I have to wonder…

    #1 did this system account for Lee not playing the whole season? And how did it treat Bedard?

    And #2 I’m not sure how much I trust it since every site I read predict every team in tr AL west to be above .500. How canwe finish second with a .500 record??

  2. Liam on April 1st, 2010 10:24 am

    From the link,

    The Mariners may have the best defense in baseball, although it’s hard to imagine them improving on last year’s. Adding Cliff Lee is a big boost obviously, although he’s not starting the year with the team thanks to an abdominal injury which may linger a bit. I’ve got Erik Bedard penciled in for about two months of starts, if he can make more than that he should help them exceed these projections. Conversely if he can’t then they’ll probably be a bit worse.

  3. CCW on April 1st, 2010 10:30 am

    As Dave has pointed out in other places, the M’s are a team that on average projects to win 81 games but that has (relative to most other teams) a lot of upside and a lot of downside, due to youth and health issues. I assume the reason that they get to the playoffs so often with such a pedestrian projection is that there are (a) quite a few seasons in which they win 90+ games and roll into the playoffs, (b) relatively few in which they win 85 and just miss, and (c) quite a few in which they lose 90 and don’t even come close.

    I believe this makes sense… but I certainly could be wrong.

  4. MX on April 1st, 2010 10:46 am

    I can’t wait for opening day just because everyone can stop predicting and watch the real thing.

  5. Evan on April 1st, 2010 10:47 am

    Those projections say that the Mariners are more likely to win their division than all but 4 other AL teams. Only the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, and Twins are more likely to finish the year atop a division.

    So, yes, there’s a big tail on the bottom end of our possible outcomes, and our average result is solidly mediocre, we have a good chance to win in 2010.

  6. profmac on April 1st, 2010 11:16 am

    Mike Salk just said Buster Olney announced a trade between the M’s and the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez… Please God let this be true!!!

    Is it? :)

  7. dlukas on April 1st, 2010 11:24 am

    Even without Monte Carlo modeling it’s pretty intuitive that the 2010 Mariners are a high-varability team–high risk, high reward.

    What’s really unique, though, is that most teams with high variability are not as equipped to be competitive long-term as the Mariners are. So in a way, we have the best of both worlds.

    Regardless, it’s April now–sun is staying out longer and longer, everything’s blooming… I’m ready for some baseball.

  8. Borat4President on April 1st, 2010 11:25 am

    Look at the calendar.

  9. profmac on April 1st, 2010 11:27 am

    I. hate. buster. Olney.

  10. Alex on April 1st, 2010 11:28 am

    Mike Salk just said Buster Olney announced a trade between the M’s and the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez… Please God let this be true!!!

    Is it?

    Happy April 1st

  11. profmac on April 1st, 2010 11:36 am

    Buster Olney and Collin Paisley are dead to me. Dead.

  12. julian on April 1st, 2010 11:45 am

    One of the arguments made about the M’s is that they’re a “high risk, high reward” team who may do really well or very poorly. But the linked simulation results don’t suggest this at all – basically, all the teams have the same standard deviation for wins. Do we have anything more than speculation to support the high-variance theory?

  13. Carson on April 1st, 2010 11:57 am

    And #2 I’m not sure how much I trust it since every site I read predict every team in tr AL west to be above .500. How canwe finish second with a .500 record??

    You don’t have to go that far back to see those same sites picking the M’s to win the AL West with their Felix/Bedard 1-2 punch, while these projection systems disagreed.

    There’s a difference between how John Kruk arrives at his his opinion and a how a simulation does.

  14. jjracoon on April 1st, 2010 12:28 pm

    If Bradley has the year they want and Griffey doesnt cancel it out and the rest of the oft injured can play most of a full season the playoffs are probable. Like Dave said earlier in the week IF we can get through April in contention then some semblance of a consistent rotation and lineup will take us the rest of the way.

    Let’s get this party started!!!!!!!

  15. jjracoon on April 1st, 2010 12:35 pm

    April Fools jokes aside – When Kotchman and Gonzalez are compared side by side, what amount of wins difference would Adrian make?? Obviously he SHOULD get a lot of RBIs with Ichiro & Figgins in front if him but how much more???

  16. Mere Tantalisers on April 1st, 2010 12:35 pm

    Worth pointing out that the Ms are heavily dragged down by a very pessimistic CHONE projection, and these runs on DM were calculated to have about 2 months of Bedard. In a lot of ways the team’s success is tied to his recovery and ability to stay healthy, which pretty much reiterated what you’ve been saying. This is a feast or famine kind of team.

  17. RoninX on April 1st, 2010 12:36 pm

    There’s a difference between how John Kruk arrives at his his opinion and a how a simulation does.

    I’ve always said I that the projection system I trust the most is the one with the highest hotdog input. I heart BBTN!

  18. PackBob on April 1st, 2010 2:00 pm

    Seems like 100 years since the Ms got off to a fast start with the bats. If no one’s hitting at the start, it could be a hole too deep to climb out of when/if Lee/Bedard return. On the other hand, good hitting the first month could carry the replacement-level pitchers. Whether or not the Ms are playoff contenders could be more or less determined this first month.

  19. joser on April 1st, 2010 2:11 pm

    Whether or not the Ms are playoff contenders could be more or less determined this first month.

    It’s going to depend a lot on how the other AL West teams do in that first month, too.

  20. MKT on April 1st, 2010 3:07 pm

    in those 1,000 seasons, the Mariners ended up on top of the AL West 25.6 percent of the time and won the wild card 3.8 percent of the time

    If we had total ignorance about the AL West, or for that matter if we had a lot of information and concluded that all of the teams were about equal, we would project the Mariners to win the AL West 25.0% of the time. So the 25.6% figure means that the M’s are pretty much indistinguishable from the average AL West team.

    Which is probably a good assessment, more prognosticators seem to agree that the Angels will be less dominant and the rest of the West has caught up. Moreover being even with the AL West is a lot better than being in the cellar. But even so, with all the off-season moves and excitement and what-not, and then the news about Lee being out initially and Sweeney being in and etc., it’s a bit of a letdown to see that in the end, we’re right where the most ignorant initial forecast would put the Ms: 1/4 chance of winning the division.

  21. Adam S on April 1st, 2010 4:37 pm

    Unless I misunderstood the methodology, one key thing to keep in mind is that the projections take a mean estimate for each team and look at the random variance of playing 162 game season NOT the potential variance of the estimate.

    I.e., the experiment says the various projections say the Mariners are a team that will score about as many runs as they allow. And the results show the chance that such a .500 team will win the division given the three opponents. This doesn’t consider the chance that the Mariners “true talent level” actually makes them a .520 team or a .550 team or a .480 team.

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