…Where the S stands for spreadsheet. Baseball Prospectus’s Clay Davenport reran his LCS projection numbers and has come up with new figures to express the odds of each team advancing to, and then winning, the World Series. Before we go into how greatly the computer favors the Yankees I want to quote from Davenport’s post, because his methodology is a special kind of wonkiness.
Game 3, LA vs Philladelphia, expecting Kuroda (for the Dodgers) and Lee to pitch. The Phillies had a team EQA of .276; in a 4.5 rpg environment that works out to 5.22 runs (.276 divided by .260, raised to the 2.5, times 4.50 = 5.22). Home game, so raise by 4% to get 5.43. They’re going against a RHP, and they had a .779 OPS aginst RHP, and .781 overall. Run scoring changes with the ratio of OPS, squared, but we can only count on the starter to be in the game for about six innings (and frequently less). So we’ll have six innings with a run rate of 5.43 * (779/781)^2, and three innings where we’ll use the 5.43 rate, so now we have them at 5.41. Their opponent, Kuroda, carries a 4.82 NRA but, once again, he’s only in the game for six innings. The other three go to the Dodger bullpen, which we’ve rated – by taking the average NRA of the five relievers most likely to be used – at 2.88. The total Dodger team rating with Kuroda becomes 4.17. So we take the Philly run total of 5.41, multiply by 4.17/4.50, to get an estimate of 5.01 runs.
If we do the same math for the Dodgers, we end up with an estimate of 3.89 runs. The win probability for the Phillies is just the Pythagorean percentage from 5.01 runs scored and 3.89 allowed – or .624.
Because we don’t typically use it here, NRA is defined as, “Normalized Runs Allowed. ‘Normalized runs’ have the same win value, against a league average of 4.5 and a pythagorean exponent of 2, as the player’s actual runs allowed did when measured against his league average.” Now that we have the spreadsheet nerd business out of the way, we can see how much the computer favors the Yankees.
Using the above-described simulation, the Yankees would win 73.34 percent of the time in the ALCS against the Angels. That’s a pretty heavy advantage against the Angels, and I suspect the teams are a bit more evenly matched than that. Even more remarkably, the Yankees win the World Series in these simulations 40.55 percent of the time, against 8.3 percent for the Angels, 28.4 percent for the Dodgers, and 22.7 percent for the Phillies.
Unfortunately for the computers, they’ll play the real games on the field. But we can still have fun with the numbers these players produced during the season. If nothing else, this shows just how dominant the 2009 Yankees were, and should continue to be.