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Thread: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    The Playoff Odds report at BaseballProspectus.com has always been a useful tool. But it just got a lot cooler with the inclusion of stock-style graphs that show the changes of the odds throughout the season.

    Suffice it to say that the Reds are in pretty good shape.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/odds/
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Red's fan mbgrayson's Avatar
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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    I have been following this tool for several weeks now. I find the daily fluctuations troubling. How can one game won or lost with 40 games left cause a 12% swing in probability? I also don't fully understand (and really haven't tried to understand) why the Cardinals have a better chance than the Pirates given strength of remaining schedule issues, and that they are currently 2 games behind the Bucs. I guess they base this off of current position, with pythag factored in somehow.

    I like seeing the Reds at 98% +, but I don't fully believe it yet. Last year, what were the Cardinals chances down to before their big run, and the Braves collapse? The Reds need to just play one game at a time, day by day.
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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by mbgrayson View Post
    I have been following this tool for several weeks now. I find the daily fluctuations troubling. How can one game won or lost with 40 games left cause a 12% swing in probability? I also don't fully understand (and really haven't tried to understand) why the Cardinals have a better chance than the Pirates given strength of remaining schedule issues, and that they are currently 2 games behind the Bucs. I guess they base this off of current position, with pythag factored in somehow.

    I like seeing the Reds at 98% +, but I don't fully believe it yet. Last year, what were the Cardinals chances down to before their big run, and the Braves collapse? The Reds need to just play one game at a time, day by day.
    Last year, the Braves' chances were about the same, but remember a 98 percent chance means that twice out of 100, the team won't make it. The Braves and Rays both just happened to be two of those 100 lol
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by mbgrayson View Post
    I have been following this tool for several weeks now. I find the daily fluctuations troubling. How can one game won or lost with 40 games left cause a 12% swing in probability? I also don't fully understand (and really haven't tried to understand) why the Cardinals have a better chance than the Pirates given strength of remaining schedule issues, and that they are currently 2 games behind the Bucs. I guess they base this off of current position, with pythag factored in somehow.

    I like seeing the Reds at 98% +, but I don't fully believe it yet. Last year, what were the Cardinals chances down to before their big run, and the Braves collapse? The Reds need to just play one game at a time, day by day.
    I'm not sure how calculate playoff odds but I'm willing to guess that run differential plays a key part in it. It's probably why the Cards are ahead of the Pirates in playoff odds. I think when they went on that run last year, the Cards playoff odds were something like 1%. It goes to show you that playoff odds is a nice thing to look at but of no importance.
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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I'm not sure how calculate playoff odds but I'm willing to guess that run differential plays a key part in it. It's probably why the Cards are ahead of the Pirates in playoff odds. I think when they went on that run last year, the Cards playoff odds were something like 1%. It goes to show you that playoff odds is a nice thing to look at but of no importance.
    Or the 1% suggests exactly what it was, the biggest comeback in the history of the game and incredibly unlikely to be repeated.

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I'm not sure how calculate playoff odds but I'm willing to guess that run differential plays a key part in it. It's probably why the Cards are ahead of the Pirates in playoff odds. I think when they went on that run last year, the Cards playoff odds were something like 1%. It goes to show you that playoff odds is a nice thing to look at but of no importance.
    Mike, playoff odds are baseball's version of probability. You're basically suggesting that an entire mathematical premise and calculation has no bearing.

    As Doug said, that it was the biggest comeback in the history of baseball suggests that perhaps the 1% was accurate.

    One percent means that only roughly one time in 100 will a team come back from that deficit. Those odds seem to be on the money if you consider there are at least 10 teams in that situation every year and never before has a team come back from that deficit.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    Mike, playoff odds are baseball's version of probability. You're basically suggesting that an entire mathematical premise and calculation has no bearing.

    As Doug said, that it was the biggest comeback in the history of baseball suggests that perhaps the 1% was accurate.

    One percent means that only roughly one time in 100 will a team come back from that deficit. Those odds seem to be on the money if you consider there are at least 10 teams in that situation every year and never before has a team come back from that deficit.
    I understand what you're saying. It's just an entertainment factor for me. I don't put any real stock in it though. Sports is so fluid and unpredictable, using probability factors doesn't tell much, at least for me. If we were talking about economic data or actual tangible data that isn't fluid but set in stone, my opinion would be different. The Rays pretty much had the same percentage to make the playoffs as the Cards last year yet they did. We see teams that have a low percentage of making the playoffs make it all the time. The Rockies were probably in the same position when they went on their run a couple of years ago.
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by mbgrayson View Post
    I have been following this tool for several weeks now. I find the daily fluctuations troubling. How can one game won or lost with 40 games left cause a 12% swing in probability? I also don't fully understand (and really haven't tried to understand) why the Cardinals have a better chance than the Pirates given strength of remaining schedule issues, and that they are currently 2 games behind the Bucs. I guess they base this off of current position, with pythag factored in somehow.

    I like seeing the Reds at 98% +, but I don't fully believe it yet. Last year, what were the Cardinals chances down to before their big run, and the Braves collapse? The Reds need to just play one game at a time, day by day.
    There are basically two parts:

    1. Estimate how good the team really is. It does this using a higher order win % that adjusts for things like underlying stats and strength of schedule. See more here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/standings/

    2. Run a whole bunch of simulations of the rest of the season and see what happens.

    Once you run enough simulations, you get to a pretty narrow estimate of the possibilities for the rest of the season.

    To my knowledge, this system is essentially based on the assumption that team quality doesn't change for the rest of the season. That is, if the team plays as well as well as it has so far for the rest of the year, how are things likely to play out. So if you have a major injury or simply go on an extended winning/losing streak, things can change quickly.

    In that sense, I think your intuition is right. One game shouldn't have that much influence. Still, I think it's a pretty interesting look at things. Fun to look at and think about -- but I probably wouldn't go to Vegas with it.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    This whole conversation reminds me of why I do not and will never bet on sports. It's too unpredictable to form any sort of conclusion on what will happen or what will probably happen.
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

    “I just want to tell everyone Happy Easter and Happy Hanukkah.” says on the day before Easter

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I understand what you're saying. It's just an entertainment factor for me. I don't put any real stock in it though. Sports is so fluid and unpredictable, using probability factors doesn't tell much, at least for me. If we were talking about economic data or actual tangible data that isn't fluid but set in stone, my opinion would be different. The Rays pretty much had the same percentage to make the playoffs as the Cards last year yet they did. We see teams that have a low percentage of making the playoffs make it all the time. The Rockies were probably in the same position when they went on their run a couple of years ago.
    Baseball odds are based on tangible data, though. With Pythagorean win expectation and historical data, we have tangible data that has given us the ability to measure odds. Those numbers weren't pulled out of thin air.

    You're correct there's some unpredictability, but when you build a 7-game lead with 40 games left, it's a lot less unpredictable. When it does happen, its' the exception and not the rule.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    Baseball odds are based on tangible data, though. With Pythagorean win expectation and historical data, we have tangible data that has given us the ability to measure odds. Those numbers weren't pulled out of thin air.

    You're correct there's some unpredictability, but when you build a 7-game lead with 40 games left, it's a lot less unpredictable. When it does happen, its' the exception and not the rule.
    I would argue though that the tangible data in sports is still fluid. To me, strength of schedule doesn't tell the whole story, esp. in baseball. A down team can always be dangerous down the stretch. There is no Law of Baseball Epic Failure that says that a horrible team will remain horrible the rest of the season. Even if you look at historical data in sports, that's a bit deceiving because there is a great chance that what happened in the past will never happen again.

    That is different than something like economics where the data given can be applied to a historical model to create a future possibility. The laws of economics very rarely change. I'm only using economics as an example because it's sort of up my alley, so to speak. The same applies for other areas where projections are made.

    Again, I think these projections are fun but I put less stock in them than any projections that are made in other areas (economics, science, business, etc).
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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Interesting that Pirates have a larger chance of winning the division than the Cards. Yet the Cards have the larger chance of making the wild card over the Pirates.

    Not sure I get that, but interesting outcome.

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I would argue though that the tangible data in sports is still fluid. To me, strength of schedule doesn't tell the whole story, esp. in baseball. A down team can always be dangerous down the stretch. There is no Law of Baseball Epic Failure that says that a horrible team will remain horrible the rest of the season. Even if you look at historical data in sports, that's a bit deceiving because there is a great chance that what happened in the past will never happen again.

    That is different than something like economics where the data given can be applied to a historical model to create a future possibility. The laws of economics very rarely change. I'm only using economics as an example because it's sort of up my alley, so to speak. The same applies for other areas where projections are made.

    Again, I think these projections are fun but I put less stock in them than any projections that are made in other areas (economics, science, business, etc).
    I honestly don't see how, in your economic example, September call-ups (for instance) would be any different than minor market fluctuations in economic analysis. It seems they both amount to the same thing. Sure, they would change the probability by a few percentage points, but not enough to discredit the model.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: BP's Improved Playoffs Odds Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    I honestly don't see how, in your economic example, September call-ups (for instance) would be any different than minor market fluctuations in economic analysis. It seems they both amount to the same thing. Sure, they would change the probability by a few percentage points, but not enough to discredit the model.
    Economics is governed by known laws. Those minor market fluctuations can be predicted by other things going on with the economy (supply of commodities, tax rates, interest rates increase/decrease etc). I think it's easier to formulate a model based on given data as to whether or not the market will suffer the next couple weeks than it is to predict whether or not a september call-up will do well on the major league level.

    In my previous Law of Baseball Epic Failure or LBEF, the only team I think that can apply to is Houston, lol.
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

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