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If the Season Ended Yesterday: Yankees Over Phillies


If the playoffs started today, the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Brewers would advance, and the Yanks would eventually defeat the Phils in a 2009 redux of the Fall Classic. So says our Log5 postseason simulator based on estimates of true talent by Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs.

Of course, you don't need a simulator to tell you that a World Series match-up between the winningest teams in their respective leagues is the most likely individual outcome. More interesting is what the simulator tells us about the runners up and home field advantage. More analysis after the jump.

Probability of Postseason Series Victory 8/22/2011
Team Seed WP3 WAR%
NYY 1 0.628 0.685 74.6% 42.6% 26.4% -2.0%
TEX 2 0.607 0.624 40.3% 18.6% 9.8% -0.9%
DET 3 0.531 0.539 25.4% 7.3% 2.6% -0.3%
BOS WC 0.628 0.674 59.7% 31.5% 19.2% -1.5%

PHI 1 0.631 0.622 71.0% 46.3% 23.0% 2.3%
MIL 2 0.561 0.590 56.2% 24.8% 9.5% 1.1%
ARI 3 0.481 0.571 29.0% 11.8% 3.4% 0.5%
ATL WC 0.555 0.562 43.8% 17.1% 6.0% 0.8%
AL 58.1% -4.7%
NL 41.9% 4.7%

Figures of Note
  • The National League has home field advantage in the World Series this year, and the magnitude of the effect is proportional each team's LCS chances. Thus, the Phillies gain the most, the Yankees lose the most, and the effect on the Diamondbacks' and Tigers' chances is negligible.
  • Had the AL won the 2011 All Star Game, the Red Sox and Phillies would have an equal shot at winning it all (20.7%).
  • Think the added value to taking the division instead of the wild card is negligible? Even though the two AL East behemoths are rather evenly talented, the Yanks are ~15% more likely to reach the ALCS than the Sox and ~10% more likely to win it. This is because of the top seed's home field advantage and more favorable draw.
  • Don't rest easy, Yankees fans. Our simulator projects the BoSox--who are 10-2 against the Bombers this year--to dispose of the defending AL champion Texas Rangers and advance to the ALCS.
  • The Rangers are 4:1 to retain the pennant.
  • If the Giants were leading the NL West (with the same true talent numbers), our simulator would give them a 28.8% chance to reach the NLCS, 11.7% to win the pennant, and only 3.3% to successfully defend their title.
  • The simulator favors the Brewers to return to the NLCS for the first time since, well, ever, considering that they were in the AL until 1998 (they did beat the California Angels to win the AL Pennant in 1982).
  • The AL's overall talent level provides a major boost to their World Series chances. With the Diamondbacks dragging down the NL field, the Junior Circuit is nearly a 2:3 favorite despite the Senior Circuit's 4.7% home field advantage.
  • Replacing Arizona with the second-place Giants has no significant effect on the numbers.
  • Should you take issue with our figures, then convince your friends to take this bet: our simulator puts the Diamondbacks at 28:1 to take the Commissioner's Trophy.

Methodology: Our simulator predicts the outcome of every possible single-game match-up in every potential five- and seven-game series match-up between the eight teams currently in line for a playoff berth. We use the Log5 method, adjusting each number to reflect a 0.540 home field advantage (based on Matt Swartz's findings). The simulator does not adjust for roster discrepancies, pitching rotations, or any stadium-specific home field advantages that may or may not exist.