Comparing Division Projections
Last week I did a statistical comparison of a handful of system's team win totals. Here I am going to take a division-by-division graphical approach to highlight: the amount of agreement between they systems in each division, which teams are the favorites within each division, and the relative spread in talent within each division. I use the same six projection systems from last week.
The AL East, unsurprisingly, has two tiers that are separated by a big gap. Three 90-win teams and two sub-80 win teams. No other division has quite the spread. All the projection systems see these two tiers, and all the systems but PECOTA project the same NY-BOS-TB-BAL-TOR ordering. This is the most consistently-predicted division, with only PECOTA as a slight outlier. CAIRO and OLIVER see the biggest spread between the two tiers.
I readjust the y-axis for each division, so even though the spread between the lines looks similar in this case it is much less than in the AL East. And ignoring Kansas City most of the projection systems see not much separating the top-four teams. Even so Minnesota seems to be the team to beat with only OLIVER not projecting the most wins for Minnesota, and OLIVER has them a close second to Cleveland. Again CAIRO and OLIVER has the biggest spread, in this case between Kansas City and everyone else. Vegas, the FANS and PECOTA all have the same ordering.
First note that the scale here is very small, there is little variation in the number of wins projected across teams in this division. Because the range of win projections is small the differences in win totals across projection systems result in very different orderings. OLIVER and CHONE like Texas, but don't think much of anyone else in the division. The other systems are pretty high on Seattle, while only Vegas thinks much of LA (Rich can take solace in at least someone respecting the Angels). But again because just 5 or 10 wins separates every team in every system there is broad consensus that the division is anyone's to win.
The NL East has, like the AL East, has a large spread in talent and board consensus over the ordering of teams, although not as a clear front-runner like the Yankees in the AL East. Three systems like Philadelphia the best and three Atlanta. After that all the systems see a pretty clear ordering of Florida, then New York, then Washington.
Here we have our first, and only, division with the same team projected at the top by all systems (although the Yankees were very close). After St Louis, there is a general consensus that Cincinnati, Milwaukee (dark blue) and Chicago (light blue) form a second tier and then Pittsburgh and Houston a third. The spread in talent between St Louis, at the top, and Pittsburgh and Houston, at the bottom, is quite large and seen across the six systems.
The NL West, like the AL West, is fairly muddled. Each system sees either Colorado (dark purple) or Los Angeles (light blue) as the top team, although the FANS like Arizona too. In any case each system sees the top teams fairly tightly clustered. Vegas and PECOTA see less than five games difference in talent between the top four teams. These two are also fairly down on the fifth team, San Diego.
All of this will, of course, be moot in a little over a week when the season actually starts and we can watch some baseball again.