I won’t be breaking any news here, but I’ve been working tonight on strength-of-schedule adjustments for the PECOTA projected standings, and the AL East remains the strongest division in baseball by some margin. What follows are the average projected third-order wins by division:
1. AL East 85.6
2. NL East 81.5
3. AL Central 81.1
4. NL West 80.7
5. AL West 79.7
6. NL Central 77.9
So, we have two divisions that look like outliers: the AL East is clearly stronger than any other division, the NL Central is clearly weaker, and the other four are bunched fairly tightly together.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that these figures change for each individual club once we account for the fact that a team cannot play itself. From the Yankees’ standpoint, for example, the AL East is only an 82.8 win division rather than a 85.6 win division, since once of the nice things about being the Yankees is that you never have to play the Yankees.
In fact, the general impact of this strength-of-schedule adjustment is to widen the standings gap between the strongest teams and the weakest ones, because of the sort of self-immunity effect that I just described. Seven teams gained at least a game in the standings as a result of the adjustment, and almost all of them were pretty strong clubs to begin with:
Note that the Cubs, who have probably the easiest schedule in baseball, are the only team to gain two wins. Also, it’s a little strange that the White Sox gained a win, but the improvement was merely fractional (77.4 to 77.8, which now gets rounded up). These teams, meanwhile, lost one or more win.
This adjustment will be reflected in future versions of the projected standings.
Also, a quick word about the depth charts: we’re aware that players who have switched teams are showing up in the wrong places in many instances. This will be fixed once the new round of the PECOTA cards actually goes up on the site. The projected standings themselves are not affected by this problem. Nor is PFM, which should be working fine. As always, we appreciate your patience.