Twins Project for Big Things in 2020
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsIt should be expected that the Twins would be seen as the odds-on favorite to repeat in the AL Central division. After winnings 101 games a year ago, they got better this offseason and widened the talent gap between themselves and the Cleveland Indians. Although the White Sox were the darlings of the winter, it is expected that they still have a ways to go.
PECOTA sees the AL Central winner crossing the finish line with 93 victories. That would give them a seven-game advantage over the Indians, which is just one game less than they won the division by a year ago. It’s the White Sox that understandably see the largest boost in winning, and while bad, both the Royals and Tigers cross the 60-win threshold.
With projection systems it’s important to understand that these values are derived using an algorithm and are produced utilizing multiple inputs. Specifically, for PECOTA, there are three elements to consider. From Baseball Prospectus, you have:
• Major-league equivalencies, to allow us to use minor-league stats to project how a player will perform in the majors.
• Baseline forecasts, which use weighted averages and regression to the mean to produce an estimate of a player's true talent level.
• A career-path adjustment, which incorporates information about how comparable players' stats changed over time.
In general, that means there’s an assumed amount of variability. The Twins winning the division with 93 wins would be the 50th percentile of their outcomes. As evidenced by the bell curves below, a 100th percentile would have them somewhere near a franchise record of 105 wins. We can also see that it’s both the Indians and White Sox that have the largest amount of volatility on the positive sides of their outcomes.
Relative to the American League as a whole, it’s clear Minnesota is viewed favorably. Trailing only the Yankees (99) and Astros (98), they are on the heels of the best teams in baseball. The National League is understandably looked down upon as a whole. Los Angeles checks in with 103 wins while no other division winner is seen capable of reaching 90. Considering the narrow range of expectations among clubs in both the NL East and Central, it’s fair to believe that no one may run away from the pack.
As far as getting to the postseason is concerned, the Twins are given 89.2% odds in that department. PECOTA projected the Twins for 81 wins going into 2019, and the 20 additional they produced on top of that would have advanced beyond their 100th percentile expectation. In short, they are certainly being viewed in a positive light earned through positive performance.
Again, these are just projections and using them as hard and fast outcomes doesn’t seem wise. However, if the Twins are to win the division (and they likely will), surpassing that 93-win threshold is a pretty decent bet. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have provided some great pieces for Rocco Baldelli and his staff. The team capitalized on their abilities last year and doing so again should bear more fruit.
*Concerning projections totaling 103 games, Baseball Prospectus noted a glitch and the results remaining incorrect due to a caching issue. The win totals are accurate. Full game totals are derived by taking 162 games and subtracting the win column to come up with record.
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