Looking into the Crystal Ball: Predictions for the Rest of the Year

Written by Caleb on June 23, 2011 – 12:06 pm

The season is 46% completed, so it is well past time to start making predictions on the finishing order of the National League. The previous statement is completely sarcastic (still need to find that sarcasm font), however I do think a significant amount of the season has been played, enough so that we should, by now, have a clearer picture of how teams will continue to play and how the season should finish. Using the Pythagoren W-L formula from Baseball-Reference, I am going to predict how the final season standings will look. As a note, current Pythagorean W-L records are within 2 games of actual wins and losses through the games on June 21, except for the Giants who statistically “should” have four less wins and the Astros who “should” have three more wins. With the calculations this close to the actual records, I feel moonwalk bounce house confident the formula will provide a reasonably accurate prediction. As with all predictions, mine will probably be wrong. If the Braves go on a tear and win the NL East, I will happily eat crow.

Let’s start with the NL West.

Wins Losses
ARI 85 77
COL 84 78
SFG 77 85
LAD 73 89
SDP 71 91

The results are not entirely surprising. Arizona has been playing the best baseball of those five teams recently. San Francisco’s loss of Buster Posey will dramatically affect their offensive output and, more than likely, their pitching output. Colorado seems to always hang around and be in contention towards the end of the year and the prediction parallels that statement. With just one run separating the two, it is a toss-up on which team wins the division.

Wins Losses
CIN 87 75
STL 85 77
MIL 84 78
PIT 77 85
CHC 66 96
HOU 65 97

The NL Central is the closest race with three teams separated by three games. It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals respond the next six to eight weeks without Albert Pujols. With Pujols having a sub-par year, I believe the Cardinals can stay within striking distance until he returns. This is especially true if Lance Berkman can continue to provide some power.

Cincinnati has played well, and if the Cardinals do struggle without Pujols, I can easily see this team stringing together a few series wins and pulling away from Cardinals and Brewers.

I do not see Milwaukee competing with those two for the rest of the year, but with an injury here or there to Cincinnati and Milwaukee finally healthy, there is a slight possibility for the Brewers to test the Reds to the end of the season.

Wins Losses
PHI 100 62
ATL 91 71
WSN 83 79
NYM 78 84
FLA 71 91

The NL East appears to be the easiest to predict. A majority of analysts predicted that the Phillies and the Braves would finish first and second. I’m surprised at how easily the Braves will win the wild card race. I was expecting it to come down to the wire (which I’m sure it will), even in the formula. A four-win lead is not something I am even willing to predict now.

The Phillies have played exceedingly well considering the injuries they have had to endure. I have no reason to doubt their ability to play at this high of a level throughout the rest of the season. Their offense should continue to play at a high-level and of course their pitching staff should still be un-hittable.

However, I am dubious of the Braves continuing as they are. The pitching will continue to be excellent, of that I have very little doubt. What about the offense though? Even as awful as the offense has been, the Braves are still predicted to win 91 games. Thank you pitching staff. What happens if Uggla starts hitting .250 and his home run total trends towards thirty for the year? Heyward is predicted to return to last year’s form at some point this year and Prado should be ready to contribute as soon as the infection is knocked out. What does this offense look like in a few weeks with a healthy lineup and an effective Uggla?  Is the team still on pace for 91 wins or is it on pace for 95?

The four playoff teams will consist of NL East winner Philadelphia, NL Central winner Cincinnati,  NL West winner Arizona, and the wild card winner, Atlanta. The Phillies will face off against the Diamondbacks with the Braves will face the Reds. The NLCS will have the Phillies and Braves squaring off. I am too biased to make and actual prediction on that game, so I’ll just leave it at that.

What do you think? Will the offense turn around? Will the Phillies continue to dominate? With nice games remaining with the Phillies, what do you think the Braves’ record will be against them for the remainder of the season?

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