September 13, 2009

The Yankees or the Rest of the Playoff Teams?

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 7:33 pm

On the wonderful PTI show last week, Tony R asked Tony K whether he would pick the Yankees or the rest of the playoff field towin the world series. Tony K took the Yankees. I would certainly take the field! To win the World Series the Yankees need to win 3  series. For the Yanks to have more than a .50 chance to win the World Series they need around an 80% chance (.80 to third power = .51) to win each series. As we will see below, this is probably not the case. The bookmakers have made the odds on the Yankees winning the series to be 2-1,which means they think the Yankees have around a 30% chance to win the series. This implies the Yankees have around around a  2/3 chance t o win each series, which seems more  reasonable. Including games of September 12 here is for each likely playoff team how many runs better than average the team is.


Yankees 1.15, Red Sox 1.12 Angels 0.92, Tigers 0.18.


Dodgers .91 Phillies .38 Rockies .49 and Cardinals .22.

This implies of course, that there is no way that the Yankees have an 80% chance to beat Angels or Red Sox in the ALCS and no way they have an 80% chance to beat the Dodgers (if they make it) in the World Series. As soon as the playoff matchups are set we will post each team’s chance of winning the series. We will adjust each team’s regular season rating based on their likely playoff pitching rotation. Here are a few other interesting baseball tidbits.

  • Toronto has played toughest schedule and Cardinal’s the easiest. Toronto’s schedule is 0.85 runs per game tougher than the Cardinal’s.
  • The Padres play in the best pitcher’s park (1.26 runs per game less than average scored  per team while the Rockies play in the best hitter’s park ( 0.96 more runs than average per game scored  per team).

The math behind all these calculations is described in my new book Mathletics, which is now available on

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