Having no Indians games to watch has left me with some unwanted time on my hands, time I’ve used in part by worrying about the chance that the Indians might not make it to the postseason this year. Sure, the numbers look good. It’s hard to argue with a .591 winning percentage, which would put the Tribe at 96 wins if they keep winning at that rate for the rest of the season.
But is it realistic to assume they can do that? Given that a season consists of 162 games, might it be more realistic to look at what the contending AL Central teams have done over the past 162 games, and project those results over the remainder of the games for 2016? Beats me. But I’ve decided to take a look at it, just for the heck of it.
Essentially what I’m doing here is this: I’m looking at how each of the contending AL teams has done in the first half of 2016, and I’m adding to their win/loss totals the results of their last 73 or 74 games of 2015, as the case may be, to see how they’ve done over their last 162 games. Then I’m taking THAT winning percentage and extrapolating it over their remaining 73 or 74 games in 2016 to project how they will finish the season. Are you with me so far? God, I hope so. If not, feel free to read about Big Papi or something. It’s okay. I won’t mind.
Still here? Good. Grab a beverage and find someplace comfortable to sit, and bear with me.
After 88 games in 2016, the Indians are 52-36. They have 74 games left to play. Over the last 74 games in the 2015 season, the Indians went 39-35. Adding those totals to their 52-36 record means they are 91-71 over their last 162 games for a .562 winning percentage. If they keep playing at that pace for the rest of the 2016 season, they’ll wind up with a record of 94-68.
After 88 games in 2016, the Detroit Tigers are 46-43. They have 73 games left to play. Over the last 73 games in the 2015 season, the Tigers kind of collapsed, and went 30-43. Adding those totals to their 46-43 record means the Tigers have gone 76-86 over their last 162 games, a winning percentage of .469. Finishing 2016 at that rate would mean they’d wind up the season by going 34-39, which would put them at 80-82.
Last season the Kansas City Royals finished strong, going 42-32 over their final 74 games. This means they’re 87-75 over their last 162 games, a .537 winning percentage. Winding down 2016 at that pace would give them 40 wins and 34 losses from here on out, and would yield a record of 85-77.
As for the White Sox, they too had a disappointing second half of 2015, going 34-40 over their last 74 games. That puts them at 79-83 over their last 162, a winning percentage of .488. If they keep that up until October, they’ll go 36-38 over their remaining games, and finish at 81-81.
So if these projections are valid, the Tribe would take the AL Central with a record of 94-68 and a winning percentage of .580. In second place, nine games back, you’d see the Royals at 85-77, followed by the White Sox and the Tigers, 13 and 14 games back.
Of course, these numbers almost certainly don’t mean much. There’s probably a good reason that neither you nor I have ever seen this kind of “analysis” done before, and for sure there’s a reason why Bill James is working for the Boston Red Sox while I work at an academic library. I’m no statistical expert, nor do I claim to be. I’m just trying to occupy my time and my mind until Friday, when the real fun starts up again.
Thank you to Cliparts.co for the cheesy graphic, which is better than anything I could have come up with on my own.