Yes, there will be a baseball Opening Day, we just do not know when it will be! But when it happens it will be like any other Opening Day; the Braves will have new life and hope springs eternal for post season play.
With a full season, Fangraphs.com projects the Braves will win 87 games, with the Nationals, Mets, Phillies and Marlins projected to win: 88, 88, 81, and 69, respectively. How did we get to this point that we dare to predict something that will happen 7-8 months in the future?
First off, you can dispute the numbers using other sources, such as: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Baseball Prospectus and Yahoo! Sports.
How this is determined starts with collecting key data for each player and applying proven tools to project individual player performance. Using those player performance projections and combining them into an Opening Day roster, the team’s schedule is simulated enough times to achieve projected season performance with the desired level of confidence.
Building a team based on statistical analysis was introduced to the public in Michael Lewis’ book, Money Ball and reached a far wider audience via the movie of the same name. It was about using a large sample of data to take advantage of a systemic flaw in player valuation in the game.
Considering the projected runs identified above, it looks like it is “too close to call.” That happened because other teams starting using the same data analytics and the flaw in evaluation disappeared. Makes one wonder how effectively your competition is using data analytics. Compared to your competition, does your data analytics make you look like the Braves or the Marlins?
These analytics give a view on potential full season performance. Adjustments will be necessary through the season as injuries, trades and other factors change the original assumptions. In the post season, the sample size becomes too small. Hot pitching, hot hitting, untimely errors, and managerial decision making are why we watch the post season.
And as a result, in the post season, all bets are off. Just ask the Dodgers!