Report From The Fort: The Twins Strength Of Schedule
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsYesterday, I did a quick analysis of how much it is worth to the Twins to be in the AL Central, where three teams appear to be only nominally competing this year. The answer was that it was worth about 2.5 wins, so the Twins baseline would be an 83-84 win team. But the rest of the American League (and some interleague foes) await and might affect that number.
So let’s look at the Twins whole schedule today, again in a back-of-napkin kind of way. I promise you, you can do this with a spreadsheet and it takes no math more complicated than some long division. We’ll do the same thing as yesterday:
1. Find out the over/under for each team from Vegas and turn it into a win percentage.
2. Multiply that percentage times the number games the Twins play against each one of them. That will give the average number of times an opponent should win or lose versus them.
Here are the final result:
The Twins (as we suspected) face a weak schedule, but the weakness turns about 1.5 games from losses to wins. As a result, the Twins baseline seems to be about 82-83 wins, which is coincidentally exactly what Vegas is has for the Twins over/under number this year: 82.5. Funny how that works out.
The back-of-the-napkin analysis suggests that the argument about weakness of schedule in the 2000s was itself a little weak. It’s hard to imagine a division being much weaker than this year’s AL Central. But it’s still just a 1.5 game downhill slope for a team lucky enough to be in it.
On the other hand, It’s not nothing. By comparison, Eduardo Escobar last year was a 1.3 WAR player. Having him on the team last year was absolutely a benefit, especially when Sano was hurt. Or, if you want to go back to that era, in 2008, Christian Guzman had a 1.4 WAR in 2004, his last year with the Twins. It’s the difference between a useful player and a guy you get off the waiver wire.
Any team will take an extra 1.5 wins, but that impact feels small in the larger view of the season. No, any success the Twins might have should not be tainted. For that matter, neither should the success they had a decade ago.
(A lot more research could be done on this, and if you would like to do so, here is a head start. This is the spreadsheet I used. It’s view only, so you’ll need to download it or copy it to your own Google account to work with it, but if you find something interesting, feel free to share it in the comments below.)