Baseball’s Unusually Top-Heavy Landscape | FanGraphs Baseball

This is another post about the standings and the projections. We’ll do other stuff soon. Just not yet. All right, so, these are our current projected standings for 2017. The top six teams, along with their projected win totals:

  • Cubs, 95 wins
  • Dodgers, 94
  • Red Sox, 93
  • Indians, 92
  • Astros, 91
  • Nationals, 91

One quality representative from every division. That’s a pretty damn even spread. I also recently opened the team projections up to community debate. Earlier today, I analyzed the results, and here’s the community’s top six teams:

  • Cubs, 96 wins
  • Dodgers, 94
  • Red Sox, 93
  • Indians, 93
  • Nationals, 91
  • Astros, 90

There are some slight single-game shifts in there, but the level of agreement is strong. The projections identify six obvious favorites, and you, as a group, expect similar results. There’s nothing particularly strange about baseball having a tier of elites, but this time around we’re talking about six teams projected to win at least 90 games. That’s uncommon!

It’s true that these numbers could shift downward before the start of the season if, say, important players get hurt. Never forget that sometimes spring training has a certain nefarious quality. On the other hand, these are the general projected records, and they don’t yet take strengths of schedule into account. Once they do, I’d expect upward shifts, since a really good team never has to play against itself. Setting this stuff aside, let’s just look at a plot, which I whipped up after…

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