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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The table below shows for each of the NL teams their actual 2016 winning percentages (W-L%) along with their expected winning percentages (Lin W-L%), calculated using my linear formula Lin W-L% =.000579*(RS – RA) +.50, RS is runs scored and RA is runs allowed.

2017 NL Picks
My choice to win the NL East is the New York Mets. If healthy the Mets starting rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz (currently injured), and Zack Wheeler could be the best in the Major Leagues. Robert Gsellman will be a great temporary replacement for Matz. The loss of 16-game winner Bartolo Colon is a negative. The resigning of Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker bodes well for the offense. Moving Jose Reyes to third base give the Mets a dependable leadoff batter. Yes, the bullpen is a question mark and of course the health of the starting pitchers could bite the Mets. Granderson will be Granderson and produce his 20+ home runs. If healthy the Mets should increase their Lin W-L% to 0.580 from 0.538. Right on the Mets heels will be the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have a solid lineup around maybe the best two positional players in the NL shortstop Trea Turner and outfielder Bryce Harper and a starting rotation that should be top-notch, provided Stephen Strasburg stays healthy. The bullpen is a question mark. However, look for the Nationals to be one of the Wild Card teams.

My choice for the NL Central is the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are easily baseball’s most complete team. They have emerging stars all over the depth chart, an excellent rotation and bullpen, and a great defense. In 2016 their Lin W-L% was the highest in the majors which allowed them to have 103 wins. Look for over 100 wins again in 2017.The St Louis Cardinals have an experienced rotation and offensively an already balanced attack will get stronger with the addition of center fielder Dexter Fowler. The Cardinals will battle for the second Wild Card.

The Los Angeles Dodgers should repeat as NL West winners. The Dodgers brought back all the stars they needed. With Clayton Kershaw healthy and shortstop Corey Seager improving on his National League Rookie of the Year season the pitching and offense remain strong. The biggest addition for 2017 was acquiring Logan Forsythe from the Rays. Forsythe fills their hole at second base and gives them a sorely needed right-handed bat. The Dodgers should improve their Lin W-L% from last year’s 0.558 and win 93+ games in 2017. Right behind the Dodgers will be the San Francisco Giants who arguably have the best lefty-right rotation duo in Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. The signing of Mark Melancon improves their bullpen. Yes, the Giants will battle the Cardinals for the second Wild Card.

To summarize the three divisional winners in the NL will be the Mets, Cubs, and Dodgers. A fight exists between the Giants, Cardinals, and Nationals for the two Wild Cards. My choice for the two Wild Card teams are the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2017 we will see a World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. Last year the Cubs broke their 108-year drought and in 2017 will extend their WS winning streak to two. Yes, the Cubs will repeat as World Champions.

Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The last time the Mets were in the World Series was in 2000 when they were defeated by the Yankees in the Subway Series. Since 2000 the Mets fans have suffered. In fact, their only playoff appearance since 2000 was in 2006. In the 2006 playoffs they beat the Dodgers but then lost to the Cardinals. Thus 2006 marked the last time the Yankees and Mets both made the playoffs. Can 2015 be the year when both teams make the playoffs again?  

The Washington Nationals were heavy pre-season favorites to win the NL East this year. However, the Nationals got off to a slow start and at the end of April trailed the Mets by as many as eight games. But going into the All-Star break the Nationals won 14 of 20 games and pulled ahead of the Mets by two games.

General Manager Sandy Alderson, like all Mets fans, realized the Mets with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, John Niese, Steven Matz and the ageless Bartolo Colon sported one of the best starting rotations. Unfortunately, they also had one of the worst offenses. Fielding constant criticism from Mets fans for not upgrading the offense, Alderson went into trade action eight days before the trading deadline. First he acquired by way of trade with Atlanta Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. Uribe a 15 year veteran can play second base, third base, or shortstop. He was batting .285 in 46 games with Atlanta. Johnson is a 10 year veteran who can play second base, third base and left field. This year in 62 games with Atlanta he was batting .275 with 9 home runs. Both these players are winning veterans. At the same time he promoted outfielder Michael Conforto to the parent club.

However, the New York Mets were still missing the big bat. Then just minutes before baseball’s non-waivers trade deadline the Mets silenced their critics with the acquisition from the Detroit Tigers of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes,is a power-hitting strong-armed outfielder. At the time of the trade Cespedes had hit 18 home runs driving in 61 runs for the Tigers with a career high .506 slugging percentage..Cespedes hit a career-high 26 home runs in just 135 games in 2013 for the Athletics. The combination of great starting pitching with strong closing pitching (Familia, Parnell and newly acquired Tyler Clippard) and a resurgence in hitting with the help of the newcomers has led the Mets to an 8-2 record over their last 10 games and a comfortable 4.5 game lead over the sagging Nationals (4-6 over their last 10 games).

Hats off also to the Mets manager Terry Collins. Every day the Mets seem to have a different starting lineup. Murphy can play second, third and first. Johnson and Uribe can play either second or third. Adding Tejeda and Flores to the mix, Collins can go with any of these players in the infield, He also has the same flexibility in the outfield with Granderson, Conforto, Cuddyer, Cespedes, Lagares and Johnson. Allowing all these players to rotate keeps them from becoming rusty and at the same time keeps them well-rested. This allows him to either go with the strongest offensive or the strongest defensive players depending on the score and inning of the game. He also is using his two catchers’ d’Arnaud and Plawecki effectively by rotating them. Since all these players are active it also supplies him with capable pinch-hitters. Every player on the 25-man roster is being used and contributing to the resurgence of the Mets. Clearly, the expected return of David Wright will reignite the offense further.

Of course loyal Mets fans always expect the worst to happen. Be optimistic Mets fans the talent is there for the Mets to win the NL East and maybe due to their phenomenal pitching make it to the World Series.

Going into the weekend series of Aug. 14-16, The Mets, sporting a seven game winning streak, are home against the tough Pirates. Let’s see how the rest of the season plays out.

Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

An article from the Wall Street Journal used data from Statsllc to compare the hitting and pitching statistics between the 1969 Amazin’ Mets and the 2015 edition of the Mets. These statistics are through June for both the 1969 Mets and 2015 Mets. In the pitching statistics that follow the top four starting pitchers in 1969 were Tom (Terrific) Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry and Jim McAndrew. In 2015 the top four starting pitchers are Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. The ranks of the 1969 Mets are based on 12 NL teams; the ranks for the 2015 Mets are based on 15 NL teams.

1969 Mets Vs 2015 Mets

A look at these statistics shows in both these years the Mets possessed great young starting pitchers and anemic offenses. The statistics are based on the first 72 games in the 1969 season and the first 78 games in the 2015 season. We see the four young starters in 1969 and in 2015 are very similar in age, in ERA, in WHIP and Ks per 9 innings. Considering their entire pitching staffs the similarity extends to the opposition runs per game, 3.47 for the 1969 pitchers (rank 3 out of 12) and 3.73 for the 2015 pitchers (rank 4 out of 15). 

The lack of runs scored by the Mets in 1969, 3.75 (rank 9 out of 12) and 3.58 (rank 14 out of 15) in 2015 can be attributed to each team’s next to last rank in the NL for the statistic OPS (on base plus slugging).For OPS the 1969 Mets ranked 11 out of 12 and the 2015 Mets ranked 14 out of 15. In fact before their July 5th game in 2015, the Mets had scored a grand total of 28 runs in their last 16 games. During this stretch of time the 2015 Mets also had a streak of 22 scoreless innings.

With great pitching and feeble hitting how did the 1969 Mets get into the playoffs and eventually win the World Series. Before the trading deadline they acquired Donn Clendenon for three good prospects and two other players. Clendenon, a big right handed hitting first baseman immediately energized the offense and went on to be named the MVP for the 1969 World Series. The 1969 Mets proceeded to win 37 of their last 48 games and win the Eastern Division by 8 games. They then defeated the Western Division champion Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.

The 2015 Mets have an easier time making the playoffs. In 1969 you had to win your six-team division to make the playoffs; whereas, today you can make the playoffs either by winning your division or being one of the two wild card teams.

The Mets’ fans deserve better. Here is a team with pitching you can die for. They even have a successful closer in Jeurys Familia. They need to follow the example of the 1969 Mets and upgrade the offense. There are two ways this can happen. Either trade some of their best Minor League pitching prospects for another team’s elite young hitter, like the Cubs Kris Bryant or Anthony Russell, or open the wallet for an expensive veteran hitter another team is willing to shed

. For the sake of suffering Mets’ fans and for Joe Benigno, please Sandy Alderson, don’t stand pat and add that big bat. Yes, Met fans the playoffs are in reach.




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