Playoff Odds According to Baseball Prospectus
The Chicago White Sox have 70 remaining games in the 2011 MLB Season, and are currently 5 games behind the Detroit Tigers and .5 games behind the Cleveland Indians. The AL Central is within the White Sox sights, however what are their true playoff odds at this very moment?
Baseball Prospectus updates their playoff odds daily, and currently the White Sox are projected at only a 16.9% chance of making the playoffs. Why is this so low with the White Sox being in the thick of the AL Central race? Baseball Prospectus tells us how they go about in determining this statistic:
How the Playoff Odds Work
Starting at the top, there are four main elements of the Playoff Odds Report. First, there are the actual league standings to date; second, a ranking system based on winning percentage to determine the quality of each team on the field; third, those ranks are regressed to the mean; and fourth, the remaining schedule is simulated one million times by computer, using the regressed rankings to determine the winner of each game remaining in the season. The computer then tallies up how many games each team won in each simulated season, so that we can see the percentage of times each team won the division or wild card.
Obviously the Playoff Odds report does not include future things such as injuries, trades, call-ups, or even hot streaks or cold streaks. It looks at the numbers so far this season, and uses them to predicate the likelihood a team will make the playoffs.
The Tigers are predicted at having a 62.2% chance of making the playoffs while the White Sox, who are 5 games out, have better playoff odds than the Cleveland Indians (15.1%) who are a half game better than them in the standings. One reason the White Sox playoff odds are lower than one would expect, is that they are fighting for only 1 playoff spot; the A.L. Central Division Champion. Currently, the White Sox are 11 games behind the Wild Card leading New York Yankees, who have a 93.5% chance of making the playoffs. The strength of the Wild Card in the American League is hurting the playoff odds of teams like the White Sox, Indians, Angels, and Rays.
American League Central Division or Bust
If the White Sox plan on making the playoffs, they must focus on the American League Central. Unfortunately for the Sox, they have been putrid against the Central this season. The White Sox are 8-16 this season against the AL Central. Also unfortunate is the fact that the division is now up for grabs between 4 teams, with the dreaded Twins only 1.5 games behind the Sox and 6.5 behind the division leading Tigers.
The good news, however, is that if the Sox can begin to produce some runs they can easily catch the Tigers. With 70 games to go, the White Sox would have to go 41-29 with the Tigers going 36-34 to end up in an 85-77 tie. The White Sox and Tigers play 12 games the rest of the way, with 6 in Detroit and 6 in Chicago. The White Sox AL Central woes must turn around, and quickly, to win this 4 team race.
Why Trade Carlos Quentin?
Joe Cowley from the Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Quentin is drawing interest from other teams, and that the Chicago White Sox are considering shopping him. I don't quite understand the Quentin trade rumors. Yes, he can be prone to slumps but Quentin is currently a 2.7 WAR (wins above replacement) player and is one of the few offensive bright spots on the Sox this season. Why are the White Sox looking to trade Quentin, who provides an anemic offense with some pop? It has to be to make room for the hot hitting Dayan Viciedo, but why not make the change for Juan Pierre who has been drastically worse than Carlos Quentin? Juan Pierre is a 0 WAR player. That is 2.7 wins LESS than Carlos Quentin. Even worse is the fact that Quentin is being rumored to be moved for a starting pitcher. The Sox are in desperate need of consistent offense, and they are rumored to be looking to move one of their most consistent offensive players. ..
However, this could be a Kenny Williams special. Make several moves, and reshuffle the deck, and all of a sudden a spark is created. If Quentin is being rumored to be traded for a young starting pitcher, maybe one of the White Sox pitchers can be moved for a guy like the St. Louis Cardinals Colby Rasmus. Rasmus is the classic buy low type of player that Williams loves, and he can play all 3 outfield spots. Moving Quentin creates a spot for Viciedo, and you can platoon the hard slumping Rios between CF and LF with Juan Pierre and Colby Rasmus.
To me, this is the only way moving Quentin makes sense. Especially if the move is for more starting pitching.