Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yankees, Indians Teams To Watch -- Brewers Slipping

Teams on the Rise

Teams on the Fall

The Teams to Watch ranking is something of an über-metric within Baseball Playoffs Now. First we strip out all teams in 1st, 5th, and 6th places in the division. There is no reason that a 1st place team should be a team on the rise, since everyone already knows they are pretty good. Likewise, there is no reason that a 5th or 6th place team should be a team on the fall, since it's common knowledge that club is having a rough season.

For the same reasons, we strip out the top 8 teams by win-loss percentage for teams on the rise, and the bottom 8 teams by WL% for teams on the fall.

There are four important indicators in Teams to Watch that signal a team's direction: run differential, overall ranking, overall ranking versus win-loss percentage, and trends over the past 10 games. The first two make sure of a team's quality, the third - also known as overrated/underrated teams - is sort of a hidden measure of how a team is doing against public perception, and the fourth keeps this formula current.

Teams on the Rise must have above-average numbers in every single one of those measures, and Teams on the Fall must have below-average numbers in all of those indicators. Only one to five teams qualify for each label at any one time, and we present the top three to you.

The Milwaukee Brewers are 12th in win-loss percentage with a 36-33 record (.522), earning third place in the second-toughest division in baseball. Last month the Brew Crew stunk up the joint and plummeted to last in the division, but a recent surge put them right back in the running. After an interleague fight with old AL Central foe Minnesota, however, Milwaukee is beginning to need life support. Their vital signs:

- 0.957 runs scored for every 1 allowed
- #15 overall ranking, with a rating of 49.6% (relative to the Cubs at 100% and the Mariners at 0%)
- an overrated team, with their 12th-place win-loss percentage too good for their 15th-place ranking
- below-average record over the last 10 games (losing a series at home to the Twins and only going 3-3 against Colorado and Houston, two teams in fifth place)

On the other hand, the Yankees are 10th in win-loss percentage (37-33, .529) and 3rd in the AL East, with promising indicators: 1.055 runs scored for every 1 allowed, #8 overall (combined with a 10th-place win-loss percentage to make them an underrated team), and excellent 7-3 last 10 games (second-best in baseball).

Likewise, the Indians are 20th in WL% (33-37, .471) and 3rd in the AL Central. They score 1.076 runs for every 1 allowed, are #13 overall (much better than their win-loss percentage ranking), and are 8th in baseball over the last 10 games (6-4, with 2-2 away and 4-2 home).

It's also worth noting that the Yankees and Indians are in the top half of the strength of schedule rankings. Since the overall ranking indicator takes into account an infinite strength of schedule, the quality of opponents is a somewhat-large factor in the Teams to Watch measure.

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