50 Ways To Win The West

Hop on the bus Gus. Make a new plan Stan. Oh wait, those are 50 ways to leave your lover. But come to think of it, that may be a more appropriate title considering the current situation with the McCourts. Well, don't worry there will be no more mention of the McCourts in this FanPost.

Last year, the Dodgers won the NL West with a 95-67 record and stand to be the probable favorites along with the Rockies to win the West again this year. The big question then becomes, just how good are the 2010 Dodgers. Will they regress and be overtaken by the Rockies, Diamondbacks or Giants (yeah right). I am setting up an excercise with my baseball simulator to estimate just how many games the 2010 Dodgers are likely to win. There have been a few key losses with the likes of Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson moving on to new teams. There weren't too many new additions that we can expect to make an impact. Vicente Padilla will be pitching the whole season, while Blake DeWitt and Jamey Carroll will be sharing time at second base. The Dodgers will likely have 50 more games of (a year older) Manny Ramirez. Many of the core players will be a year closer to entering their peak year(s). So what does this all mean in terms of Dodgers success in 2010???

My methodology in this excercise is to use the Dodgers actual 2010 schedule to find out how many games they are likely to win. Of course there is a margin of error in this excercise and there are events like catastrophic injuries that are not easily predicted. I used the Dodgers most likely starting lineup, as well as their opponents for the first 50 games on the schedule. I used 5 man starting rotations, skipping each teams 5th starter when an off day allowed for it. For the Dodgers, I split 5th starter starts between James McDonald and Eric Stults. The input projections for the simulations come from my own set of generated projections. If I wanted to turn this into more of a science project, I would sit starters on a certain rotation. It is not a perfect excercise, but I believe it has an added value on top of projecting team wins based off of WAR. I simulated each of the fifty games 10,000 times and averaged the Dodgers win expectancy from each game to come up with the final expected total number of wins. The simulator actually takes into account schedule and pitching matchups. For now I simulated only the first 50 games, but I will add another 10-20 games per week (time permitting), until I reach the end of the full 162 game schedule.

Here are the results... The Dodgers expected record was 29.7 - 20.3, winning 59.45% of their games. Prorated over 162 games that would be a win total of 96.3

So, according to my simulator the Dodgers are likely to start the season with around a 30-20 record. After the first 50 games last year, the Dodgers were 34-16, but remember they had a couple of players that were off to unsustainable starts. If the Dodgers were to win 59.4% of their games over the full season, the would end up with a record of 96-66 which would most likely be enough to win the NL West. It will be interesting to see if this win percentage drops as I work deeper into the Dodgers 2010 schedule. I must admit that the Dodgers schedule over the first 50 games is not all that difficult. They do play in Florida, Colorado, Chicago for three games, and those were their most challenging games according to the simulator. Their only interleague games during the first 50 games are a three game series at home against the Tigers. I would imagine things will change a little bit when teams like the Cardinals(3), Angels(6), Red Sox(3), Braves(4) and Yankees(3) all appear on the schedule in June!!! The Phillies don't show up on the schedule until August.

This is a fan-written post that is in no way affiliated with or related to any of the authors or editors of True Blue LA. The opinions reflected in this post do not necessarily reflect those of True Blue LA, its authors or editors.