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MLB Post All-Star Break Predictions
2007-07-11 21:58
by Scott Long

Now that we are at the All-Star break, I thought it was a good time to examine my SWOBODA prediction system and tell you what it sees for the rest of the season.

American League

SWOBODA made the bold prediction that not only will no team in the AL win 95 games, only one (Red Sox) will win over 90. The Red Sox being the best team looks pretty solid and considering that they have the best record in the league with only a .609 winning percentage, the better than 95 wins will be tough to reach. Since the Red Sox seem to have the AL East locked up, they will have less incentive to get over the hump. In the AL Central, the Top 4 will beat-up on each during the second half keeping them from 95 wins. I rated the Angels the second best team in the AL, but still might have underrated them, as they have an excellent chance to wind up with the best record in MLB. SWOBODA predicted at the start of the year that 88 wins would get you the wild card. I think that will be right around what is needed.

Below SWOBODA will predict the rest of the year for each team, with a 0-5, 5-10, etc. over/under .500 for the second half. The first number in parenthesis is the SWOBODA pre-season power ranking for the team and the second number is what PECOTA (w/ BP adjustments) predicted.



Red Sox (1) (3) - The Red Sox will be between 10-15 over .500 for the second half. Hitting will be improved, but the bullpen will pull back.

Yankees (8) (1) - The Yankees will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. I wrote in my preview that it would be a coinflip between 2 and 4 this year in the AL East, as the Red Sox were clearly best.

Blue Jays (19) (21) - The Blue Jays will be between 0-5 over .500 for the second half. They’ve been pretty much like I thought they would be.

Orioles (17) (26) - The Orioles will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. Worse than I expected, but will improve enough to fight it out for 3rd place.

Devil Rays (24) (25) - The Devil Rays will be between 5-10 below .500 for the second half. Hitting will improve, but will fight it out for worst record with Royals.


Tigers (9) (12) - The Tigers will be between 0-5 below .500 for the second half. Just like last year’s White Sox team, I think the long previous season will catch up with them. No way Granderson and Ordonez hit like they have during the second half.

Indians (7) (4) - The Indians will be between 0-5 over .500 for the second half. This team always looks better on paper than they really are. They will win division.

Twins (10) (2) - The Twins will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. They will get back in the race, but starting pitching will determine if they get the wild-card.

White Sox (6) (27) - The White Sox will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. I was most off on them, but they are finally starting to hit, so I see them winning enough games to get to .500 by season’s end.

Royals (29) (30) - The Royals will be between 10-15 below .500 for the second half. They are getting better, but will tire down the stretch.


Angels (2) (5) – The Angels will be between 10-15 over .500 for the second half. They continue to get better. I think my pre-season Top 2 teams are a step above everyone else.

Mariners (23) (25) – The Mariners will be between 10-15 below .500 for the second half. Bullpen has been bailing them out. I suspect they will wind-up with 83 wins.

A’s (3) (13) - The A’s will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. I think they will battle it out with the Twins and Tigers for the wild card.

Rangers (18 (14) - The Rangers will be between 5-10 below .500 for the second half. The opposite of the White Sox, as their bullpen has been excellent, but their starting staff is hideous.


National League

SWOBODA said only one team (Braves) would reach 90 wins and that might have been too optimistic. I chose the Padres to make it to the World Series and still feel good about that one. I wrote that there would only be 8 games between 1st and 5th place in the Central, which I think will happen. I had the Dodgers sneak(ing) past the Mets, Phillies, and Cardinals for the Wild Card and I will stick with that prediction, only throwing in the a couple Central teams as well. At the start of August, I will revive my Wild Card contest that I ran last year.


Mets (14) (8) - The Mets will be between 0-5 below .500 for the second half. The starting staff gives up more than a run more per game, during the second half.

Braves (4) (15) - The Braves will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. One quality starting pitcher away from being the best team in the NL.

Phillies (16) (6) - The Phillies will be between 0-5 over .500 for the second half. Need Gordon and Myers to come back strong to make playoffs.

Marlins (27) (18) - The Marlins will be between 5-10 below .500 for the second half. Better team than I thought, but won’t win as many as in 2006.

Nationals (30) (29) - The Nationals will be between 15-20 below .500 for the second half. Worst team in baseball by 5 games by year’s end.


Brewers (20) (11) - The Brewers will be between 5-10 below .500 for the second half. Offense cools off, but solid bullpen gives them a chance.

Cubs (15) (10) - The Cubs will be between 0-5 over .500 for the second half. I think 84 wins will win the Central. Should be close.

Cardinals (13) (16) - The Cardinals will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. Cardinals will win around 83 games, just like in 2006.

Pirates (26) (23) - The Pirates will be between 0-5 below .500 for the second half. They might have the best starting rotation in the division.

Astros (11) (17) - The Astros will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. I think they will have the NL Central’s best record during the 2nd half.

Reds (28) (28) – The Reds will be between 5-10 below .500 for the second half. Better second half, as offense and bullpen improves.


Padres (5) (9) - The Padres will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. 3 of the top 4 balanced teams in MLB are in SoCal.

Dodgers (12) (19) - The Dodgers will be between 0-5 over .500 for the second half. SWOBODA has 87 wins getting the Dodgers the wild card spot.

Diamondbacks (21) (7) - The Diamondbacks will be between 5-10 below .500 for the second half. Young hitters were overrated by too many prediction systems.

Rockies (22) (20) - The Rockies will be between 0-5 below .500 for the second half. Will battle it out for 3rd place and getting over .500.

Giants (24) (23) - The Giants will be between 5-10 over .500 for the second half. Could be worse, if Giants decide to trade veterans to contenders.


I believe SWOBODA will stack up really well versus other prediction systems by the end of the year. The White Sox, Brewers, and Astros are its only serious missteps and I suspect they will look more reasonable by the end of the season. Here is SWOBODA’s revised playoff teams.

Red Sox



A’s (WC)





Dodgers (WC)

No change on Red Sox winning World Series over Padres.

2007-07-11 22:48:01
1.   Voxter
Interesting picks, and I think with strong bullpens and unique home parks, the Red Sox and Padres are the easy choices to go to the Series. My feeling is that the Pads are the best team in the NL by a considerable margin, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them run away with what has been a tight division so far as Marcus Giles wakes up a little bit and (mostly) the Dodgers and D-backs slacken the pace. But NL is not my area of expertise.

Your AL projections seem pretty accurate, though I suspect there's a touch of wish fulfillment going on with projecting the White Sox to be better than either the Indians or Tigers in the second half, as I feel they've shown themselves not to be a terribly good team. It's possible that last year's long season will wear on the Tigers, but that doesn't always happen: The Red Sox played their way into the playoffs only a year after winning the Series, including the most grueling single series I have ever witnessed. The Yankees have gone deep in the playoffs routinely, as have the Cardinals. It doesn't happen every time, and I think the fact that a lot of the Tigers players are young or in their prime or otherwise well-rested will help them -- this was not an advantage the White Sox, a largely veteran team, had (if I recall correctly).

Your projection over a full season would have the White Sox winning 86-91 games, and I can't see it. They're old, and they're not very good at any of a number of positions. They've seen significant falloffs from Iguchi, Konerko, and Pierzynski, all of whom are thirty or older, two of whom play positions notorious for sapping a player's skills early, and one of whom is just the kind of guy (a plodding slugger) who would be prone to falling off cliffs in his 30s. I just don't see where they're going to improve all that much, let alone by a fifteen-to-twenty game swing. Given that they're likely to become heavy sellers over the next month, shopping several established players, I can't see them playing like contenders for the rest of the summer. Next year may well be a different proposition, however.

Meanwhile, the Indians' "history" of underperforming essentially consists of last season, when they had a comically bad bullpen and won 78 games despite projecting to 89. They won 93 games in 2005, underperforming very slightly (96-66 Pythagorean, well within what could be reasonably explained by chance). This team is better than that one, and includes at least one player (Travis Hafner) who is underperforming so severely that, even as a 30+ slugger, you have to expect him to improve significantly. They have at least one hole (COF) that should be reasonably easily filled, and one should also expect improvement from Barfield. I expect the Indians to win at least 92-93 games, which should get them into the playoffs no sweat, and may win the division.

2007-07-11 23:39:58
2.   Scott Long
The White Sox are currently 9 games under 500. If they win 5-10 games over .500 the rest of the year, they wouldn't get past 82 wins. At least, this is what my dumb brain is calculating.

I see them winning 81 games, as speaking of hitting having to improve, look at the 10-20 percentile stats most of the hitters are achieving compared to what prediction models had them at.

I see all but the rangers, royals, devil rays, and orioles over .500 or better in the AL.

2007-07-11 23:42:42
3.   Scott Long
Oh and I am wishing like hell that White Sox win at least 81 games, so I can still save some face on my pre-season ranting that they were being persecuted by PECOTA. (I know everyone thought this was the case, so I'm confirming it here. insert smiley face)
2007-07-11 23:47:42
4.   Voxter
What I meant was, if they were to win at the rate you're projecting over a full season, that's 86-91 wins. After I posted the comment, I realized that wasn't really clear.

Ah, you should have heard me telling my friends about how terrible the Red Sox were going to be this year. I was all doom and gloom after last year's 3rd place finish. Luckily for me, I don't have a blog where everbody can bust my balls about it.

2007-07-11 23:48:59
5.   Voxter
Nope, still not clear.

Let me try again:

You're projecting 5-10 games over .500 for the second half. If they were to play like that for a full season, that's 86-91 wins.

2007-07-12 06:25:29
6.   JasonO
Four words, Long:

It's even OK if Mussina is below average, this translates to a legitimate shot at .800 ball for the last 2 months of the year.

Meanwhile, Ramirez is in his mid-30's decline, and big sloppy's knee is hurting. This year the Yankees lineup has touched up Wakefield, Schilling, Beckett and Matsuzaka.

The Yankees should catch the Red Sox by the second or third week in August.

2007-07-12 07:11:28
7.   Scott Long
I really like your first word, the second was pitching over his head during the first half, the 3rd is not in the NL anymore, and the 4th is a rookie who still has to prove himself in the majors. Sure the hitting will improve, but not sold on the pitching. I suspect the Red Sox will add another hitter, if needed.

I mean talk about Wish fulfillment, come on Jason. I suspect the Yankees will end up 4 games out of the Wild card.

2007-07-12 11:24:37
8.   Voxter
6 - Woah. Screw that head back on. I'd say the White Sox are much more likely to be 5-10 games over in the second half than the Yanks are to play .800. Don't bet too high on Pettitte, my friend.
2007-07-12 11:37:52
9.   JasonO
Re: Pettitte, I look at his 8 starts before the last 2 of the first half and make the not unreasonable assumption that he'll be fine.

I see the Yankees playing up to preseason expectations in the 2nd half. If they do, they'll catch the Red Sox.

2007-07-12 12:46:32
10.   Schteeve
The Yankees aren't playing .800 ball in the second half on this or any other known planet.
2007-07-12 12:52:08
11.   Schteeve
9 If you look at Andy's peripherals, you'll unerstand that he was getting super duper lucky in those 8 starts. He may be league average, I don't know if that's synonymous with fine when you consider the amount of work the Yankees need to do in the second half to even make a race out of it. They basically need to come out of the ASB like a bat out of hell.
2007-07-12 13:09:56
12.   JasonO
You make it sound as if Pettitte was Aaron Small in his first 8 starts, which is nonsense.

Thankfully these 3 days of speculation are over in a few hours.

2007-07-12 13:48:52
13.   Shotupthemiddle
Playing .800 ball would be 62-15 the rest of the way.

Which would make them 104-58.

Which is simply ludicrous.

2007-07-12 17:08:43
14.   El Lay Dave
.800 ball is almost ridiculous. Today's Yankees seem generally too old and creaky for such things.

The 1998 Yankees that won 114 games went 63-16, .797 from April 7 - July 12, inclusive, their hottest extended stretch I could identify.

Two very hot teams to close were the 1951 Giants and the 1978 Yankees. They were .701 and .684 post All-Star, respectively. Both were only 12-8 for the July portion, but even from 8/1 on, they were .737 and .712, respectively.

The 1977 Dodgers were 22-4 .846 for the first 30 days, but a week later saw .800 for the last time while cruising to a division title by 10 games.

2007-07-13 07:08:13
15.   JasonO
It still amazes me how little people actually read before posting. If you actually read my post, I wrote "a legitimate shot at .800 ball in the last 2 months", with Hughes as the fifth starter. Not .800 ball for the entire second half, just the last 60 days of the season.

Yo Schteeve: Pettitte got "super duper lucky" again last night, funny how pitchers with a career ERA+ of over 120 seem to get "lucky" more often than not....

Long, why are you asking Petr Svoboda for his MLB predictions?

Sorry, horrible NHL joke.

2007-07-13 10:17:12
16.   El Lay Dave
15 The points in 14 still hold. 2 months of .800 ball is highly unlikely.

Pettitte's career ERA+ is 118. It's 100 this season. Last night he went 5 2/3, 6 H, 3 R - not exactly a monster performance - against the 34-54 Devil Rays.

2007-07-13 10:20:58
17.   El Lay Dave
I meant compare that start of Pettitte's (also 4K 1BB) to the last two starts...

5 7 2 0 4
5 4 2 1 6

of Mark Hendrickson. Not because it really means that much - just because it's fun.

2007-07-13 11:00:55
18.   Humma Kavula
I think the best chance the Yankees have is luck. ExWL puts them at 50-36 -- just three games back of the Red Sox. If we assume that the difference between their actual W-L record and their ExWL record is that they have just been extremely unlucky -- to the tune of seven (!) games -- there's some chance that they will receive an extraordinary streak of luck in the second half. Combine that with any actual improvement in scoring or preventing runs, or a minor streak of bad Red Sox luck, and the Yankees could find themselves in first.

It is unlikely that this will come to pass. It is also impossible to predict. Again, if I'm right, their bad luck so far has been extraordinary, so to get out of their 10-game hole, they would need the reversal to be just as extraordinary.

All this means that though the Yankees are PROBABLY dead, there is some small reason for their fans to hope.

2007-07-13 11:30:44
19.   Schteeve

First of all what you said was: The Yankees should catch the Red Sox by the second or third week of August.

You also said that
and Moose being league average meant a legitimate shot at .800. And it doesn't.

Pettitte did get lucky last night. He gave up three earned in 5+. That translates into an ERA of more than 4.50 and that does not an .800 ball club make. He also accomplished that 4.5 ERA performace against the Devil Rays. Don't think I need to expand on why that is alarming.

Look I love Pettitte, he's a winner and has the heart of a lion with a belly full of guts and all that nonsense, but giving up 3 earned over 5+ to the Devil Rays doesn't make me think he's got it all figured out.

Teams, primarily the offense win games. Just because Pettitte got the W last night, doesn't mean the Yankees won because he was good. I'll give him credit in that he got out of some close scrapes last night. But I think that has more to do with the Rays ineptitude, and randomness than anything else.

How about this, if the Yankees even play .700 ball the rest of the way, I'll start a blog dedicated to how great Andy Pettitte is?

2007-07-13 13:26:32
20.   Akhilleus13
I agree with the pick of the Cubs for the NL Central. I don't expect the Cubs to go anywhere in the playoffs, but I think the Brewers won't be able to hang onto the lead now that Zambrano has it together and the team isn't screwing up so often:
- Brad from The Sports Desk at

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