AccuScore: Dodgers rise, Angels tumble

Jonathan Lee, AccuScore

AccuScore provides baseball predictions and projections by calculating the probability teams have of winning each game, their division and making the playoffs. Using projected starting lineups, baseball predictions are created by simulating each game of the season one play at a time, 10,000 times. Visit AccuScore for weekly updates for all baseball and sports predictions.

American League

At the start of the season the AL looked like a six-team race for five playoff spots. After a week and a half of action not much has changed. No team gained more than 3.4 percentage points in playoff probability while only one team lost more than 1.1 percentage points.

The Rangers and Tigers remain the most likely playoff participants as major favorites in the AL West and AL Central divisions respectively. Texas has started the season 8-2 and looks just as strong as it has the past two seasons when making trips to the World Series. Detroit is off to a 6-3 start with its offense performing as expected, scoring the second most runs in the league. Both teams are over 93 percent likely to win their respective divisions.

AL East powers Tampa Bay, New York and Boston are all between 65.9 percent and 69.3 percent likely to make the playoffs. The extra wild card allows for the possibility for all three teams to reach the postseason. After two weeks, all three teams project to do just that. The Yankees are the slight favorite to win the East at 34.1 percent.

The sixth contender at this moment is Los Angeles. The Angels, however, have started slowly at 3-6 and were the only team to make a major shift up or down, losing 11.0 percentage points in playoff probability. The Indians, White Sox and Blue Jays all made minor gains this week and are the only other teams in the American League with double-digit playoff odds. The Orioles, Mariners, Twins and Royals remain major long shots for the postseason.

American League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 28-Mar 15-Apr % Diff Win Div
Chicago White Sox 11.1% 14.5% 3.4% 2.7%
Tampa Bay Rays 63.5% 65.9% 2.4% 29.4%
New York Yankees 67.0% 69.3% 2.3% 34.1%
Cleveland Indians 8.6% 10.2% 1.6% 1.5%
Toronto Blue Jays 16.8% 18.2% 1.4% 4.0%
Texas Rangers 97.5% 98.9% 1.4% 93.4%
Detroit Tigers 96.4% 97.7% 1.2% 95.5%
Baltimore Orioles 0.9% 1.3% 0.4% 0.2%
Seattle Mariners 0.7% 0.9% 0.3% 0.0%
Minnesota Twins 0.5% 0.2% -0.4% 0.0%
Kansas City Royals 2.8% 2.0% -0.8% 0.3%
Oakland Athletics 4.5% 3.4% -1.1% 0.2%
Boston Red Sox 68.9% 67.8% -1.1% 32.3%
Los Angeles Angels 60.2% 49.2% -11.0% 6.3%

National League

The senior circuit remains wide open after two weeks of play. No team in the National League is even 50 percent likely to win its division or 75 percent likely to make the playoffs. Nine teams are at least 20 percent likely for the postseason.

Defending World Series champion St. Louis is the most likely playoff participant at 71.5 percent. The Cardinals have won seven of their first 10 games including five on the road. They gained 10.7 percentage points as a result, and St. Louis is 45.9 percent likely to win the Central Division. No other NL Central team has a .500 record. Chicago, Houston and Pittsburgh combine to reach the playoffs just 1.6 percent of the time. The Astros are actually the first team in the majors to drop to 0.0 percent playoff probability. Milwaukee is the only other contender in the Central making the playoffs in 42 percent of simulations, a decline of 9 percent from the start of the season.

The NL East was purported to be one of the strongest divisions in baseball, and that seems to be true with the Mets and Nationals surprisingly leading the Braves, Phillies and Marlins. Philadelphia is still the division favorite at 48 percent. The Braves are second at 36.4 percent. Miami and New York are severe longshots at this point, winning the East in a combined 3.8 percent of simulations. Washington is the biggest gainer at this point, being 26.6 percent likely to make the postseason and 11.8 percent to win the division.

While the East was expected to be the most competitive, the West could be the most balanced. The Dodgers are the real surprise of baseball after two weeks at 9-1 and gaining 16.3 percentage points in playoff probability. The Dodgers are now 55.1 percent likely for the postseason and 35.8 percent likely to win the West. Preseason favorite San Francisco is just 4-5, but the Giants are still 65.3 percent likely for the postseason due to a strong pitching staff. This remains true even with closer Brian Wilson lost for the year. Arizona is the defending division champion and the third true contender for the division. Colorado is projected as the fourth team in the West. San Diego is the one extreme long shot winning the division in just 0.2 percent of simulations.

National League Weekly Review Playoff % Chance
Team 28-Mar 15-Apr % Diff Win Div
Los Angeles Dodgers 38.8% 55.1% 16.3% 35.8%
St. Louis Cardinals 60.8% 71.5% 10.7% 45.9%
Washington Nationals 18.9% 26.6% 7.7% 11.8%
Atlanta Braves 58.8% 60.6% 1.8% 36.4%
Arizona Diamondbacks 20.4% 21.9% 1.5% 10.9%
Miami Marlins 7.0% 7.2% 0.2% 2.7%
New York Mets 3.5% 3.4% 0.0% 1.1%
Houston Astros 0.1% 0.0% -0.1% 0.0%
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.6% 0.4% -0.2% 0.2%
San Diego Padres 1.3% 0.4% -0.9% 0.2%
Chicago Cubs 2.5% 1.2% -1.3% 0.3%
San Francisco Giants 69.8% 65.3% -4.5% 47.6%
Colorado Rockies 17.0% 12.4% -4.6% 5.5%
Philadelphia Phillies 77.4% 68.7% -8.6% 48.0%
Milwaukee Brewers 51.0% 42.0% -9.0% 18.8%
Cincinnati Reds 71.2% 61.9% -9.4% 34.8%