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 July’s Three Up, Three Down column from PredictionMachine.com’s Manager of Research and Analytics, John Ewing.
1. Oakland Athletics
July: 19 Wins, 5 Losses, .792 Win Percentage, Leading AL West by 5 games
Season: 56 Wins, 47 Losses, .544 Win Percentage, 3.5 games back in the AL West
Heading into the All-Star break ,the A’s had won six of their last seven games but still found themselves nine games out of first place. The time off did nothing to slow Oakland down as they have only lost four times after the break. Part of Oakland’s success can be attributed to their sweep of the Yankees in which they won all four games by one-run (9-0 in one-run games in July). The July 30th win against the Rays in extra innings was a league-leading 12th walk-off win on the season.
PredictionMachine.com simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Athletics finish eight games out of first in the AL West with a projected Win-Loss record of 85-77.
2. Cincinnati Reds
July: 19 Wins, 7 Losses, .731 Win Percentage, Leading NL Central by 2 games
Season: 62 Wins, 41 Losses, .598 Win Percentage, Leading NL Central by 3 games
As a Cardinal’s fan, the beginning of the second half of the season has been lousy. The Reds swept the Cardinals, have won all but three games since the break and have managed to do so without All-Star Joey Votto (15-day DL, knee injury). The Reds play 30 games in August and only six of them are against teams with a record above .500. Add Votto back to an already potent lineup and don’t be surprised if the Reds make their way back into August’s 3 Up column.
PredictionMachine.com simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and Cincinnati wins the NL Central with a projected Win-Loss record of 94-68, the club's most wins in a season since 1999.
3. Washington Nationals
July: 17 Wins, 9 Losses, .692 Win Percentage, 1 game back in the NL East
Season: 61 Wins, 41 Losses, .598 Win Percentage, Leading NL East by 2.5 games
The Nationals have won eight out of their last ten games and have been doing so by scoring runs and lots of them. During the last ten games, the Nats have scored an average of 5.5 runs per game. In the previous 92 games this season, the Nationals averaged 4.2 runs per game. In fact, during the month of July, Washington is near the top among all teams in runs scored, hits and RBIs.
PredictionMachine.com simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Nationals win the NL East with a projected Win-Loss record of 95-67, finishing five games ahead of the second place Braves.
1. Houston Astros
July: 3 Wins, 24 Loses, .111 Win Percentage, 16.5 games out of first in NL Central
Season: 35 Wins, 70 Loses, .333 Win Percentage, 28 games out of first in NL Central
No team needed the All-Star break more than the Astros, limping into the Midsummer Classic as losers of ten out of their last eleven games. The Astros have been busy in July, not winning games, but cleaning house. Houston has made five trades that have sent high dollar veterans packing and leaving Jed Lowrie has the team’s highest paid player at $1.15 million. A lack of talent and team continuity helped the Astros lose twelve games in a row, a new club record
PredictionMachine.com simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Astros finish 38 games out of first in the NL Central with a projected Win-Loss record of 56-106.
2. New York Mets
July: 7 Wins, 18 Loses, .280 Win Percentage, 10.5 games out of first in NL East
Season: 50 Wins, 54 Loses, .447 Win Percentage, 12 games out of first in NL East
Since the All-Star game, the Mets have played in eighteen games and have managed losing streaks of five and six games respectively. Worse yet, they went 1-5 against the NL East leading Nationals. The Mets were a half game out of the second Wild Card spot before the All-Star break but are currently 9.5 games back. In the second half, the Mets have not faced a team with a losing record. The Metropolitans should find August to be smoother sailing with seventeen out of the twenty-eight games against teams with losing records.
PredictionMachine.com simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the not so Amazing Mets finish 15 games out of first in the NL East with a projected Win-Loss record of 80-82.
3. Kansas City Royals
July: 7 Wins, 19 Losses, .269 Win Percentage, 9 games out of first in AL Central
Season: 42 Wins, 60 Losses, .412 Win Percentage, 13.5 games out of first in AL Central
Red Alert: 10 days and counting until the Chief’s first preseason game. I know it is still more days than the number of games won by the Royals this month but it’ll have to do. The Royals are eighteen games under .500 and 13.5 games out of the Wild Card. See you next spring Royals when your “Our Time” slogan might come true. In case you were wondering, yes, our Royals under 80 wins pick still looks good. See the rest of our season over/under picks, which are currently projected to go 8-2 on "normal" plays and 17-7 overall, here.
PredictionMachine.com simulated the remainder of the season 50,000 times and the Royals finish 20 games out of first in the AL Central with a projected Win-Loss record of 68-94.