As the 2021 MLB Season approaches, more projections for all 30 teams are starting to roll out. Baseball Prospectus released its annual PECOTA projections Tuesday which included a less than stellar prediction for the Atlanta Braves. FanGraphs released its first playoff odds for the 2021 season Wednesday and Braves fans will be happier with the results.
FanGraphs projects Atlanta for 89 wins and a second place finish in the NL East behind the New York Mets who are predicted for 92 victories. The Nationals are third at 82 wins while the Phillies and the Marlins round out the bottom part of the division.
Additionally, the preseason projections give the Braves a 69% chance of making the postseason with a 34.5% chance of taking the division. The model also gives Atlanta a 6.0% chance of winning the World Series.
If you are curious as to how these models are developed. Ben Clemens describes the process and gives seven takeaways from the preseason odds.
Our playoff odds incorporate little pieces of a lot of features you’ve already seen on the website. We start with a blended projection that incorporates ZiPS and Steamer’s rate statistic projections. We add in playing time projections from RosterResource, which incorporate health, skill, and team situation to create a unified guess for how each team will distribute their plate appearances and innings pitched.
With playing time in hand, we use BaseRuns to estimate how many runs each team will score and allow per game based on our earlier blended rate statistic projections. That gives us a schedule-neutral win percentage for each team, because you can turn runs scored and runs allowed into a projection via the Pythagorean approximation. From there, we simulate the season 10,000 times, with an odds ratio and a random number generator determining the outcome of each matchup. Voila! Our playoff odds.
The model will adjust as the season progresses so check back to see how things change. At the end of the day projections are just projections as the action will be decided on the field. Still, they are good conversation starters.
What do you think of FanGraphs’ projections?