NL Central community projection results

A major player in the Cardinals success over the last 10 years left the organization last night. Mark Lamping was with the Cardinals as Team President for 13 years hiring on Walt Jocketty way back in 1995 to be the General Manager. Bernie Miklasz takes a look at Lamping's ups and downs as well as his probable successor, Bill DeWitt III.

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There were a healthy 54 projections in last weeks post. You can download the spreadsheet here -- I've got the usernames recorded as well so we can see who was drinking and predicting at the end of the year. VEB-ers expect the Cubs to win the division but only by a hair.

  Astros Brewers Cardinals Cubs Pirates Reds
Max 88 94 89 96 78 90
Average 75.0 87.5 78.2 87.7 69.5 81.2
Standard Dev. 4.32 2.67 5.59 3.03 3.41 4.12
Min 68 83 68 78 63 69

For those of you that aren't math fans, think of standard deviation as a plus-minus range for the average. So we really expect the Astros to fall within 70 and 79 wins. Another way to interpret those numbers is how much the predictions were in agreement with each other. A high standard deviation implies that there is less agreement and the numbers are more scattered than a low standard deviation.

Here's a scary standard deviation trick: If the Cardinal came out at the bottom of their range and the Pirates at the top, they'd be tied for dead last.

If we ruled the world (which after LBoros calling for Kyle Lohse's signing and then the signing occurring, I think we do, in fact, rule the world), the NL Central would finish like this:

  1. Cubs
  2. Brewers
  3. Reds
  4. Cardinals
  5. Astros
  6. Pirates

I'm shocked that everyone sees the Cardinals as holding par this offseason. Let's see who is making gains compared to last year.

  Actual Wins Predicted Wins Change Pythag Wins Predicted Wins Change
Astros 73 75 2 72 75 3
Brewers 83 88 5 83 88 5
Cardinals 78 78 0 71 78 7
Cubs 85 88 3 87 88 1
Pirates 68 70 2 69 70 1
Reds 72 81 9 74 81 7

Our predictions would mean that the Central is going to pick up 21 wins over their actual win total last year pushing the division from a .472 winning percentage to a .493 -- while that gain seems substantial, and I think it is, at least we still recognize the Central is a sub .500 division. Apparently, I did a super job on selling the Reds as a possible sleeper team because they easily make the biggest leap in win total. The other thing that immediately jumps out at me is that no team gets worse under our predictions. When was the last time an entire division held steady or won more games than the previous year? Has that ever happened before?

Let's see how we stack up against a pair of proven player projection systems.

  VEB PECOTA CHONE Rank
Astros 75 73 75 5
Brewers 88 88 84 2
Cardinals 78 74 75 4
Cubs 88 91 87 1
Pirates 70 72 75 6
Reds 81 81 78 3

Everyone is in general agreement on the order, if not the wins, of the teams. While the addition of Lohse should be something of an upgrade over Thompson/Wellemeyer, he's really replacing Clement/Pineiro until one of them gets healthy. Think about that for a second -- since we made our forecast a week ago, the Cardinals lost Joel Pineiro and Tyler Johnson for the start of the season and we haven't seen any progress on the Matt Clement front. I like the Lohse deal given the $$$ and the years but it doesn't really represent headway given the medical condition of our pitching staff. It does make me question, yet again, the two year Pineiro deal but I digress.

Looks like it could be a long season in the Lou if the Cardinals are a sub-.500 team again. I think that the front office can rest easy in that it will probably take 2-3 years of being mediocre-to-bad before it impacts ticket sales. We saw gains across the board for the NL Central as fans who are probably a little more obsessed than the casual observer. Imagine what someone who just watches a game a week or so is expecting. The perception of contention won't wear off quickly after 2006 but it will eventually. But hey, look on the brightside -- at least we aren't the Pirates!

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While I have your attention, there are open projection threads at Future Redbirds again this week for Allen Craig and Adam Ottavino. You don't need to be an expert on our minor leaguers to make a prediction. You don't need to like prospects. What I do want is a larger sampling pool, so head on over and drop your thoughts -- it only takes a moment!

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Here's your gameday link: STL at LA Dodgers

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