2014 TripleScoop MLB Previewas explained by Devon Kendall, The Numbers Guy
Here at TripleScoop, we devote ourselves to two things. The first is Premium Market Research. The second is the wide world of sports. We wanted to combine our analytical research with our love of sports and we’ll be presenting a few items on our findings in sports statistics.
At TripleScoop, we consider this week to be a holy week. It is the start of baseball season. From now until October, if you come visit us, you will always be able to catch a game. When we visit Louisville there is one stop that is a top priority to us – the Louisville Slugger factory. When we go on family outings the first thing we pack is our gloves in case of the occasional game of catch. We have extensive baseball hat collections. We yearn to have an afternoon at the ballpark. We have kept memories from when we were three years old of the Astrodome and its bouncy turf. We had those moments at eleven years old, walking up the tunnels of Wrigley, with hot dogs in our hands, into the buzzing day-game crowd, as wide eyed as ever. We have been to games at Coors Field in September that were much much much warmer than any game at Candlestick we went to in June. The crack of the bat, the smack of the glove, the smell of fresh cut grass. These are all things that are essential to our lives.
Before I talk more about baseball, I must digress (but with purpose).
Water is fascinating. Water is used for drinking, hydroelectric power, cooling systems, agriculture, transportation, recreation, cleaning, cooking, manufacturing, mining, and the list goes on and on. Water is an essential part of our lives but its flow models are what I want to relate to you. Water searches for the point of lowest gravity and travels together building momentum as streams join with other streams to form rivers and rivers join with other rivers to build lakes and seas and oceans. Water has been studied extensively and one area of notice is how water transitions from one section to the next. To begin to predict what water will do, a water surface profile is generated and is joined to the next water surface profile and the connecting conditions are identified. One important thing is that water will not just create a jump from one level to the next on its own. This requires an energy dissipater that induces a jump. However, this dissipater has to be sized correctly because if it is too large a jump will not occur.
To relate hydraulic momentum and water surface profiles to baseball we have created our own TripleScoop baseball surface profiles for MLB teams. We have characterized their flows over the last 25 years. We have looked at energy jumps that may have occurred in the offseason (basically anything that would change the team’s trend) and now we are ready to predict how each team will finish.Which is actually a defense mechanism, a chemical is released that says to other blades of grass, “run for your lives, the mower is on!”
An energy dissipater is usually a block or other obstruction that makes the water travel over it to keep flowing. It dissipates energy because the original flow is erosive and the created flow is not.
That is if they have been in existence that long. Otherwise a team like the Rays has a 15 year profile.
Last season: 81-81
Additions/Subtractions: Mark Trumbo
Prediction: This year appears to be a pivotal year for Arizona. Either they will continue their upward trend or they will hit a peak and turn downwards. As their trend has a mild slope, look for this will most likely be a downturning year. They should finish around .475 at 77-85.
Last season: 96-66
Additions/Subtractions: Brian McCann
Prediction: After years of being one of the best teams in baseball, the Braves hit a low point. They have worked out of that pit, rebuilt, and look to be one of the formidable teams in the MLB for several years. Atlanta should be one of the best teams in baseball this season again, finishing at 99-63.
Last season: 85-77
Additions/Subtractions: Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez
Prediction: For several years all the Orioles had going for them was a nice ballpark. In the last few years, they have improved their team and they have had sharp increases in their trend recently. Look for this to continue this year, especially with their solid offseason additions. They should finish ten games better than last year at 95-67.
Boston Red Sox
Last season: 97-65
Additions/Subtractions: Jacoby Ellsbury
Prediction: What at first looked like a downwards trend for the Red Sox now appears to be a mirage. They made significant changes when their downwards trend began and promptly changed course to another World Series title. They should stay even keel this season with another year of 97-65.
Last season: 66-96
Additions/Subtractions: Rick Renteria/Dale Sveum
Prediction: The Cubs have had a few poor seasons and its looking like Theo Epstein is in full rebuild mode. This year will be another tough one for bleacher bums on Addison St. Give it a few more years before the Cubs improve, and this season they should finish at 62-100.
Chicago White Sox
Last season: 63-99
Additions/Subtractions: Jose Abreu
Prediction: The one thing the Cubs have going for them is that they weren’t as bad last season as their cross-town rivals. The White Sox do not look like a team that will be any good next season. Expect them to sit the entire season in the division cellar and once again unfortunately be the worse team in the windy city. They should finish at 53-109.
Last season: 90-72
Additions/Subtractions: Bryan Price/Dusty Baker
Prediction: The Reds have been a quietly good team for a few seasons. They have hit a spot in their profile that is analogous to that of brackish water. Brackish water is when seawater backs up into freshwater such as happens along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana. It creates an aerobic condition that is damaging to the environment. The Reds are trending in a flatline condition. With a managerial change, that will either induce their trend to move upwards or downwards, expect the Reds to do worse this season at 86-76.
Last season: 92-70
Additions/Subtractions: David Murphy/Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir
Prediction: The Indians had a sharp increase in production last year due to several team changes. They hit a minimum in their cycle so look at them to hit a maximum in a few more years. In the meantime, they will do nothing but improve and they should finish at 96-66.
Last season: 74-88
Additions/Subtractions: Brett Anderson, Justin Morneau/Todd Helton, Dexter Fowler
Prediction: While other teams in Denver have turned around their bad fortunes quickly to national success, the Rockies have been trending downwards since their last postseason appearance in 2009. Their trend hasn’t been as sharp in recent years, so much like Arizona this year is a pivotal year. Their offseason moves are just significant enough to get them to 81-81.
Last season: 93-69
Additions/Subtractions: Ian Kinsler, Brad Ausmus/Prince Fielder, Jim Leyland
Prediction: Detroit has been climbing for a long time. With several offseason moves, they showed they aren’t comfortable standing still. The managerial change was because of Jim Leyland’s retirement and the Tigers did fairly well replacing his Hall of Fame credentials with a young bright mind. The Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder swap is very important to what happens next to this franchise. Fielder provided protection in the lineup for Miguel Cabrera but Kinsler is a productive hitter. Expect this team to take a small step back, but not much because they rely on the reigning MVP and a Cy Young littered rotation. They should finish at 91- 71.
Last season: 51-111
Additions/Subtractions: Jesse Crain, Dexter Fowler
Prediction: The Astros have had 3 seasons of 100 loss baseball. Their team for several seasons has been young and there weren’t many changes made from last season. However any young team always starts to grow up. Expect the Stros to have another 100 loss season, although it will be an improvement from last year, finishing at 57-105.
Kansas City Royals
Last season: 86-76
Additions/Subtractions: Norichika Aoki
Prediction: The Kansas City Royals will be this year’s Pirates. They have been subtly improving and expect them to make the postseason this year. They have had sharp improvements recently and this year expect that trend to continue as they finish at 97-65.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Last Season: 78-84
Additions/Subtractions: Raul Ibanez
Prediction: The Angels have great players but they have been trending downwards for a while now. These next few years could be particularly frustrating for Angels fans as their team will continue this trend. Next season the Angels will finish at 74-88, so look for several significant changes to come.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Season: 92-70
Additions/Subtractions: Dan Haren
Prediction: However electric the atmosphere was at Chavez Ravine last fall, this team has been hinting at good run for a while now. They have been fairly consistent in the past 15 years, never bottoming out, but never maxing out their potential. This year they should improve but not by much. They should finish at 95-67.
Last Season: 62-100
Additions/Subtractions: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Prediction: Fun fact for the day: Miami is the only franchise that has never lost a postseason series. The problem with that is that it they have only made the postseason twice and it has been over ten years since they last did. They are trending downwards fast. They made a significant signing with Saltalamacchia, but don’t expect that to turn things around. They should finish with another 100 loss season at 60-102. Maybe in a five to ten more years they will make the postseason and win the World Series again.
Last Season: 74-88
Additions/Subtractions: Ryan Braun/Corey Hart
Prediction: Milwaukee had built up a lot of steam heading towards consistent finishes in the postseason but that is no longer the case. Last season was rough, and this season should be rougher for the Brewers. They should be a fairly uninteresting team finishing at 68-94.
Last Season: 66-96
Additions/Subtractions: Kurt Suzuki
Prediction: The Twins have been falling fast to the bottom of the standings. They have had significant losses to their team and never hit a full rebuilding mode. That is what they face over the next few years. This year they will finish worse than last year, but barely missing a 100 loss season at 63-99.
New York Mets
Last Season: 74-88
Additions/Subtractions: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Prediction: The Mets appear to have turned around their fate. After peaking with a postseason berth in 2006, they have been struggling since. However it appears like they have hit a minimum in their wins profile. They should improve upon last season to reach 80-82.
New York Yankees
Last Season: 85-77
Additions/Subtractions: Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hiroki Kuroda, Carlos Beltran/Robinson Cano
Prediction: The Yankees have been very good for a very long time. Their trend has not been this low since 1995, the year prior to their first World Series title of their modern dynasty. They didn’t sit still this postseason but they have made what appear to be too large of changes to overcome. They should hit a wall and have another disappointing season as their downward trend will continue. Look for the Yankees to finish at 82-80.
Last Season: 96-66
Additions/Subtractions: Luke Gregerson/Brett Anderson, Seth Smith, Grant Balfour
Prediction: The Athletics are the quietest, most lethal team in baseball. They have a very sharp upwards trend, which will only lead to more huge seasons from their green collar baseball. They should have a 100 win season finishing at 102-60.
Last Season: 73-89
Prediction: The Phillies have lost a lot of momentum since their World Series title in 2008. With no significant offseason moves, this next season will be see the Phillies losing more momentum. Look for them to finish at 68-94.
Additions/Subtractions: Edinson Volquez
Prediction: The Pirates are moving to be one of the elite teams in the National League. They have improved sharply and this should lead to more improvement over the next few years. They improved their rotation still moving into this season, and look for the Pirates to top 100 wins along with Oakland at 104-58.
San Diego Padres
Last Season: 76-86
Additions/Subtractions: Josh Johnson
Prediction: The Padres, much like the Reds have a flatline trend. Either this year will be good or this year will be bad. Or it could be much of the same. Instead of improving or declining, the Padres should stay very much the same. Look at them to finish at 76-86 just like last year.
San Francisco Giants
Last Season: 76-86
Additions/Subtractions: Tim Hudson
Prediction: The Giants have been one of the better franchises of the last five years. However, it appears that they hit their maximum and they are on a downward trend. This coming season should be much like last season, with the Giants finishing 74-88.
Last Season: 71-91
Additions/Subtractions: Robinson Cano, Corey Hart, Lloyd McClendon/Eric Wedge
Prediction: Seattle sure had a busy offseason. They added power to their lineup to supplement their rotation. They changed managers to McClendon who has been the pitching coach for a powerful rotation in Detroit. After years of declining play in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle should finally turn things around. Just it won’t be by much, as they will finish four games better at 75-87.
St. Louis Cardinals
Last Season: 97-65
Additions/Subtractions: Mark Ellis, Jhonny Peralta/Carlos Beltran
Prediction: St. Louis is a baseball town. The Cardinals have been contenders for years, leading to four World Series berths in the last ten years. St. Louis’ young rotation should keep their upward trend but it will start to flatten out. The Cardinals should finish at 99-63.
Tampa Bay Rays
Last Season: 92-71
Additions/Subtractions: Grant Balfour
Prediction: This is by far my favorite graph to look at. Tampa was a very bad team for a very long time until all of the sudden they had a management change in 2005 (cause for a jump), and two years later, they jumped from being the worst team in baseball to the World Series. That was not an apparition as they have continued to contend in the American League. They should expect to contend once again and improve this year to 95-67.
Last Season: 91-72
Additions/Subtractions: Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder/Ian Kinsler
Prediction: The Rangers had some near misses on World Series recently. They showed a good, steady rebuild from their bad years around 2003 and that’s what led to their current state being an elite team in the American League. It seems that they hit their peak already though. They don’t have a sharp decline, but they will still decline from last year. They should finish at 86-76.
Toronto Blue Jays
Last Season: 74-88
Prediction: The only team from America’s hat did almost nothing to change their fortunes from last season. This will lead to Torontonians endlessly hoping for the Maple Leafs to start playing again once August comes around. Look for the Blue Jays to finish at 70-92.
Last Season: 86-76
Additions/Subtractions: Doug Fister, Matt Williams/Davey Johnson
Prediction: The Nationals have used two first picks in the draft recently to rebuild their franchise. They took a little while to improve their team since they moved to Washington but that rebuild is starting to bear fruit. They chose a very intelligent baseball mind in Matt Williams as their new manager. Their improvement should continue this season. Expect the Nationals to finish at 92-70.
The major league playoffs tend to have no tendencies. However we will still make our predictions for which teams will make the World Series and win it.
Out of the National League we predict that the Pittsburgh Pirates will make the fall classic.
Out of the American League we predict that the Oakland Athletics will find October magic and make the World Series.
And our prediction for the World Series Champion is the team led by Andrew McCutchen, the Pittsburgh Pirates.