Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 18, 2005
BASEBALL: AL Predicted Standings
If you've followed my EWSL reports thus far (Established Win Shares Levels are explained here, the AL East EWSL report is here, and the AL West EWSL report is here, and the AL Central EWSL report is here), you'll notice that the total wins for the American League's 14 teams don't add up to 1134, i.e., 81 wins per team. Assuming for the sake of argument that the AL finishes with a .500 record in interleague play, however, 1134 wins have to come from somewhere. That's not necessarily a flaw in the system; I rate 23 players per team, but each team will get a few wins from the end of the bench and a few more from new arrivals (I don't have figures handy but if I recall correctly the average team uses something like 35-40 players a year). There's also a natural process at work: if the established players in the league were producing exactly what they did last year, there would be no room for the turnover in personnel - new arrivals, old players departing - that is a constant in the game.
Specifically, EWSL produces enough Win Shares for 74.7 wins per AL team in 2005 before applying the age adjustment, and 71.2 wins after. That does seem low to me, but there you have it. If we project those totals upwards proportionally across teams - a debatable assumption, I know, but an unavoidable one if we're trying to keep the system essentially objective - what do the age-adjusted EWSL standings look like?
For the most part, that looks just about right to me, and naturally it looks a lot like last year's standings. In general, I would expect the Twins and Indians to be most likely to exceed these records, and maybe the Tigers, although it's debatable at whose expense (although a few wrong turns could lead the Royals to a 110 losses).
Let's also stack up how the age adjustments affect various teams. Here's a table showing the net age adjustment to each team's record, with 100 being a team with no adjustments, higher being a team that was adjusted updward, etc.; in short, the teams most likely to have young, improving talent are at the top, the teams that depend most on declining older players are at the bottom (although given the nature of the method, pure rookies aren't included):
Of course, it's probably not a coincidence that the teams most likely to see decline from their established talent are the teams with the most of it, and it's no surprise that the overall trend is for the league's established players to decline. For completeness, here are the standings you'd get from EWSL if you don't apply the age adjustment: