Cool Standings ranks the top collapses

Rays @ Red Sox Game Thread
Hughes' next start pushed back due to back spasms

I don’t want to jinx anything (you don’t believe in that stuff, do you?), but I thought this was pretty neat: Cool Standings put together a list of the biggest collapses in baseball history based on the team’s peak playoff chances. For example, the 2007 Mets had 99.5% chance to make the postseason on Sept. 13th, but we all know what happened there. Amazingly enough, that’s only the third biggest collapse in history. The 1995 Angels had a 99.9% chance (!!!) to make the postseason in August 24th, but they finished the season on a 12-23 skid and one game back of the Mariners. I imagine the internet would have exploded back then.


Rays @ Red Sox Game Thread
Hughes' next start pushed back due to back spasms
  • Joba’s Mom

    Shouldn’t all of these occurrences indicate that the method of calculating playoff probability is highly flawed?

    • bexarama

      Probably not, because there are so many teams that have huge leads that do clinch. Historically they’re really not that many examples when you consider how many playoff teams there have been.

    • radnom

      Its just calculating history probability and in that sense it is 100% accurate. Lets say in an average season, only the eventual 8 playoffs teams at some point get to 99% chance of a playoff spot. This would mean that you should expect to see an epic collapse once every 12.5 years or so. Seems about in line with reality.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that the numbers make no claims or attempt to calculate anything other than historical probability – and there are many other factors that go into a team’s playoff chances. For example, say a team have 99% chance at a playoff birth on September 1st and their top two players go down with injuries. This obviously negatively affects their chances at making the playoffs, but will not bring down the 99% at all. As with any stat, its important to know which factors it considers, and where it falls short.

      • bexarama

        I know some places do do this. I think BP like… I think they were calculating Boston’s playoff odds with Bedard until he went down, and then they plugged in Wieland for his starts using his projections.

        Obviously, it’s hard to factor in some things. Projections aren’t perfect. Like, Youkilis is trying to play (though I know he isn’t playing today) but he’s obviously not 100%. It’s really difficult to pinpoint how much a like 50% Youkilis would help Boston’s odds vs. a 100% Youkilis. And they don’t know if he’s 50% or 75%… and I’m babbling so I’ll stop. You get the point.

    • nedro

      Y’know, Suzyn…

  • Jesse

    I don’t believe in “jinxes”. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  • Jose the Satirist

    Does anyone know what formulas they use to calculate this? I see they have both a “smart” and “dumb” mode.

    • Mickey Mantle’s Outstanding Experience

      Dumb mode just assumes each game is 50/50. Smart mode uses how good the team actually is, the schedule, etc.

  • Ron

    ” I imagine the internet would have exploded back then.”

    IIRC Archie did go down…

  • pollo

    then the mariners took a gigantic dump on us, and buck showalter’s incompetence showed during those 3 games we played at Safeco.

    I forever hate Jay Buhner, Ken Griffey, Joey Cora, Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson.

    We should have been champions that year damnit.

    • AnthonyD

      Game was at kingdome and “saved baseball in Seattle”

    • Joe Torre

      Yeah but then I wouldn’t have given you assholes 4 rings.

    • Mike

      And don’t forget Jack ‘i give you the middle finger’ McDowell… the guy stunk in the last game.

      Remember that epic Leyritz walk off homerun?