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    Three Up Three Down (April MLB)

    John Ewing, Director of Research and Analytics
    By John Ewing

    A sports rating system analyzes the results of sports competitions to provide objective ratings for each team. Rankings are then derived by sorting the team’s rating and assigning an ordinal rank. A lazy analyst will add the word Power to the beginning of their ranking for added significance. An even lazier analyst will skip the whole ranking ordeal and cherry pick a few teams to talk about - which leads us to April’s Three Up, Three Down column.

    Three Up

    Boston Red Sox

    April: 18 Wins, 8 Losses, .692 Win Percentage, Leading AL East by 2 games

    Expected record (based on resimulating first month): 17 Wins, 9 Losses, .653 Win Perentage

    We picked Boston to finish 4th in a tight AL East race but the Red Sox own the best record in baseball. Boston is third in the league in OBP (.347) and third in OPS (.789). The Red Sox have gotten contributions from unlikely sources including Mike Carp (.458 BA), Daniel Nava (16 RBIs), and David Ross (3 HRs in 9 games). Combine that with great efforts from their studs, David Ortiz (3 HRs and 15 RBI in just 9 games) and Jon Lester/Clay Buchholz (combined 9-0 with just 18 earned run in 75 innings), and the Red Sox have seen their odds to win the World Series move from 30-1 to 6-1. simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and Boston wins the AL East with a projected Win-Loss record of 91-71, it would be the clubs first Division Crown since 2007.

    Atlanta Braves

    April: 17 Wins, 9 Losses, .654 Win Percentage, Leading NL East by 4.5 games

    Expected record: 18 Wins, 8 Losses, .692 Win Perentage

    The Braves have a 4.5 game lead over the Nationals, preseason favorites to win the division. Atlanta is 5-0 against Washington and has built their division lead while playing 16 of their 26 games on the road. This is even more impressive when you consider everything that has gone wrong for the Braves.

    • Six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann hasn’t played a game.
    • Jason Heyward is hitting .121 and is currently on the DL (appendectomy).
    • First baseman Freddie Freeman missed 14 games.
    • B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla are hitting .143 and .169 respectively. simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Braves win the NL East by 10.5 games with a projected Win-Loss record of 94-68.

    Texas Rangers

    April: 17 Wins, 9 Losses, .654 Win Percentage, Leading AL West by 2 games

    Expected record: 16 Wins, 10 Losses, .615 Win Perentage

    The Rangers are in the top 10 in the league in batting average, on base, and slugging. However it is their pitching staff that is really carrying the team. The Rangers have a league best 3.14 ERA and opponents are hitting just .235 (6th). Yu Darvish is the ace of the staff and is 10th in the AL in ERA (2.33), 3rd in WHIP (0.93), and 8th in WAR (1.4). simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Rangers win the AL West with a projected Win-Loss record of 88-74, finishing just 1.5 games ahead of the second place Athletics.

    Three Down

    Toronto Blue Jays

    April: 10 Wins, 17 Losses, .370 Win Percentage, 8.5 games out of first in AL East

    Expected record: 9 Wins, 18 Losses, .333 Win Perentage

    The Blue Jays made a splash and revamped their team with the additions of R.A. Dickey, Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and Emilio Bonifacio. Expectations for Toronto had not been higher since their heyday in the early 1990s. This was never more evident than in Las Vegas’s future odds. Toronto was the preseason favorites to win the AL East at 5/2 odds, AL Pennant at 15/4 odds, and World Series at 7/1 odds. After a very disappointing start the Blue Jays are now 10/1 to win the AL Pennant and 22/1 to win the World Series. simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Blue Jays finish 13 games out of first in the AL East with a projected Win-Loss record of 77-85.

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    April: 13 Wins, 13 Losses, .500 Win Percentage, 2.5 games out of first in the NL West

    Expected record: 13 Wins, 13 Losses, .500 Win Perentage

    $223 million in expectations, the question coming into the season was if the Boys in Blue could live up to the cost? After a month of baseball the answer is kind of (a six game losing streak but 4-1 in one-run games). If the Dodgers continue their current pace they will fall well below their preseason win total of 91.5 wins. simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Dodgers finish 5 games out of first in the NL West with a projected Win-Loss record of 81-81.

    Washington Nationals

    April: 13 Wins, 14 Losses, .481 Win Percentage, 4.5 games out of first in NL East

    Expected record: 12 Wins, 15 Losses, .444 Win Perentage

    Washington is 5-1 against the Marlins and 8-13 against the rest of the league. Stephen Strasburg has struggled (strikeout rate is down, ERA is 3.13, ranks 26th in the NL) and is experiencing tightness in his forearm. The bright spot for the Nationals, Bryce Harper. Harper has been sensational hitting .344 with 9 homeruns. He has also almost walked (14) nearly as many times as he has struck out (16). Even though Washington is 0-5 against division leading Atlanta, they get to play the Braves 14 more times this season. simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Nationals finish 10.5 games out of first in the NL East but get the second Wild Card with a projected Win-Loss record of 84-78.

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