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November 7, 2008 12:24 pm

Prospectus Hit and Run: Divisionology

5

Jay Jaffe

The most powerful and the most hapless divisions of the Wild Card Era.

The World Series is over, and the Rays lost, but from an analytical standpoint, they're a gift that keeps on giving. One much-discussed topic during their post-season run was the strength of the American League East, particularly during the AL Championship Series, where the Rays met and defeated their division foes, the Red Sox. It's no secret that this year's AL East was a particularly deep division in today's smaller-division setup, as its top four teams-the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays-finished above .500 and ranked among the top six teams on the year-end Hit List. The question is: Where does this division fit in historically?

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The AL Central will be a dead heat, according to the BP staff, with the East and West showing more separation.

Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American League. The National League predictions will follow, along with the staff picks in some fun miscellaneous categories.

Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our preseason MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.

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February 7, 2008 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: The Toughest of Them All?

0

Dan Fox

Tweaking a simple projection system, and addressing whether or not the AL Central is really the game's toughest division.

"Never make predictions, especially about the future."
--Casey Stengel


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There's a rising favorite in the AL Central, as our experts weigh in on everything from division winners to Matsuzaka's line.

Our annual predictions arrive this year as our Hope and Faith series comes to an end. While the beauty of spring training is that every team can think it has a chance, somebody has to take the losses. For today, we concentrate on the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American League. Tomorrow we'll conclude with the National League predictions, along with the staff picks for the World Series.

Each author's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our preseason MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year voting. A slight shift at the bottom of the AL East rankings, a rising favorite in the AL Central, and anarchy in the AL West highlight our staff's guesses.

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BP staffers work their magic and offer their predictions for the American League this season.

When BP welcomes new contributors, we like to test them right away--usually by demanding that they take out their crystal ball. Yes, it's time to wrap up the off-season by predicting what things will look like at the conclusion of the 2006 season.

In part one of this two-part series, we focus on the American League, concentrating on the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year). Tomorrow we'll conclude with the National League predictions, along with the staff picks for the World Series representatives.

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September 1, 2005 12:00 am

Crooked Numbers: In Reverse

0

James Click

Our view of the season would be very different if it had played out exactly in reverse to reality. James rewinds the year, and shows us how.

The length of the baseball season can easily obscure some important trends that are developing. Teams like the A's get noticed because their rise from the depths has been so dramatic that it breaks free of the mass of information built before its arrival. But there are may other trends that can easily escape our eyes because so much of the season has already passed.

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Twelve BP authors kick off the new season with their 2005 AL predictions.

Our authors, august worthies every one, wrap up the offseason with their predictions for 2005. Come Sunday, we will no longer need the future tense, as we'll have actual baseball to discuss.

In part one of this two-part series, we focus on the American League, concentrating on the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year). Tomorrow we'll conclude with the National League predictions, along with the staff picks for the World Series representatives.

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It's Wednesday night, and I didn't write my column early because I was watching the Mariners-Athletics game. Now I sit down, feeling a little vindicated for my season-long fight against local anti-Mike Cameron sentiment. The Mariners face the A's again tomorrow, starting Joel Pineiro against Cory Lidle. The Angels have John Lackey facing Colby Lewis. I don't think this particularly unfair to the Mariners; it's not as if they didn't have their chances to beat up on bad teams, or anything. Their pit is one they've dug themselves with crappy pickups and a low-key battle between the manager and GM, where Piniella seems determined to put the awful pieces he's been given (like Jose Offerman) in crucial game situations where their failures are magnified. Gillick in retaliation doesn't care.

It's Wednesday night, and I didn't write my column early because I was watching the Mariners-Athletics game. Now I sit down, feeling a little vindicated for my season-long fight against local anti-Mike Cameron sentiment.

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People complain that it's unfair to some teams chasing the wild card. Perhaps, but with "natural rivalries" and bizarre interleague schedules, fairness has already been tossed out the window.

The unbalanced schedule rules.

People complain that it's unfair to some teams chasing the wild card. Perhaps, but with "natural rivalries" and bizarre interleague schedules, fairness has already been tossed out the window. At least divisional play can make for great matchups, unlike, say, the thrilling mid-week sweep of the Brewers by the A's in June.

This comes up because there's an awesome division race in the AL West, and I get to see it because I'm lucky enough to be in Seattle. I honestly prefer this year's nail-biting, wonder-if-we'll-make-it marathon to last year's record 116 wins, when it was obvious by the All-Star break that the Mariners were heading to the playoffs.

As I write this, the Ms are two-and-a-half games up on the Angels. Anaheim has put together the weirdest run at .600 ball and a division title as I can remember, a straight batting average and no-strikeout attack. If you look at the raw stats, they're right up with the Mariners in run scoring, despite giving up 16 points of OBP and having a comparable slugging average. Park-adjusted, the offenses aren't close, but I still look at the daily standings and shake my head. Neither team made race-changing trades before the deadline, though the Angels picked up a spare outfielder--Alex Ochoa--who the M's could have used.

Meanwhile, Oakland made moves to improve for the stretch run, trading for Ricky Rincon and Ray Durham, and they're just four games back, with a front-line pitching rotation that can put the hurt on anyone and a dangerous offensive core.

The Mariners play both teams six more times, a home-and-home series each, including a can't-miss-it buy-your-tickets-now September homestand against the Angels and A's starting September 20 (just after the most likely strike date, for my convenience).

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February 26, 2002 7:27 pm

The Daily Prospectus: A Great Race?

0

Joe Sheehan

One of the things I'm really looking forward to this year is the American League West. The two best teams in baseball played here last season, and both the A's and Mariners can be expected to break 90 wins in 2002. Add in the much-improved Texas Rangers, and there's the potential for a three-team race among very good teams that will provide suspense even with the wild card guaranteeing two of them spots in the postseason.

One of the things I'm really looking forward to this year is the American League West. The two best teams in baseball played here last season, and both the A's and Mariners can be expected to break 90 wins in 2002. Add in the much-improved Texas Rangers, and there's the potential for a three-team race among very good teams that will provide suspense even with the wild card guaranteeing two of them spots in the postseason.

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