FanGraphs recently released some new projected standings and playoff probabilities for 2014. Here’s the methodology:
“To generate the playoff odds we simulate each season 10,000 times.
FanGraphs Projections Mode
This mode uses a combination of Steamer and ZiPS projections and the FanGraphs Depth Charts to calculate the winning percentage of each remaining game in the major league season.”
And here is how the computer systems see the NL Central shaking out:
|Expected W||Expected L||Playoff Odds|
You can check out the rest of the divisions here.
As it stands, the Pirates project to go about 84-78. The totals across the league are pretty conservative (no team projects to win more than 90 or less than 71), so there’s plenty of room for them to outperform (or underperform, I guess) their projection. You could also find a more reasonable prediction by accounting for playing time at each position, which the systems don’t do. Tim Williams calculated this a few weeks back by using ZiPS and found about 88 wins for the Bucs.
A second place finish would put them in position to compete for a spot in the NL Wild Card game again. With the Braves, Cardinals, and Dodgers predicted to take their respective divisions, here are FanGraphs’ Wild Card odds for the rest of the National League:
Not a bad starting point. Maybe it hasn’t been the best offseason so far… an extra piece or two could push them over the top. But we’ll see what happens. Still work that needs to be done.