Home MLB Joe’s Web Pick of the Month: June 2009

Joe’s Web Pick of the Month: June 2009

by Joe Gray

Update (09/06, 5pm): Just a quick note to say that the Web Pick feature will no longer be fixed to a monthly schedule. Also, other BaseballGB writers may be chipping in too from now on.

As I did last month, I’m aiming to stay on the path less trodden with this month’s web pick. The site in question is one that you may have come across before if, like me, you’ve spent too many hours hopping from one baseball internet resource to another. But if you have you may not have looked into some of the features that are hidden away a bit. And if you haven’t then I hope you might at least find it interesting for a few minutes’ browsing, or better still good enough to note down for regular visits during the season.

coolstandings.com (click here to open the site in a new window)

The main feature of coolstandings.com is the calculated probabilities for each of the 30 Major League teams to make the play-offs each season, based on the current standings. You can choose for the probabilities to be calculated in either “smart” mode or “dumb” mode. In the former, the rest of the season is simulated 1 million times based on better teams having a higher chance of winning a particular games; the probability that a particular team has of qualifying for the play-offs is simply the proportion of all the modelled seasons in which that team makes it. In the latter mode, the same process is applied, except for the fact that all teams are given a 50% chance of winning each game.

This makes coolstandings.com a website that you can check back on every so often, but if this was the only content then your visits would probably not be that long. However, there is another side to the site, and it is based on historical simulations (with 10,000 iterations) going all the way back to 1903. With the probability for play-off qualification calculated for every team on every day of every season for over a century, there are plenty of data to get stuck into.

To make things easier for visitors, coolstandings.com presents the top comebacks and top collapses, which are the teams defying the greatest odds (after 1 June) to qualify for or miss out on the play-offs, respectively. Alternatively, you could pick the team you support to see which of their play-off appearances was the most unlikely (or which failure was the most spectacular) by using a drop-down menu above the historical lists of leading comebacks and collapses.

Once you get down to the level of looking at a particular team in a particular season, you get to see a graph charting the qualification probability over the course of the season. They will look familiar to anyone who has looked at win probability graphs (such as this one), except the time-frame is very different of course.

I’ll finish by wishing all fans of Major League teams good luck for the rest of the 2009 season. Of course, even if I was somehow able to actually influence your team’s chance of success (very unlikely, I would have thought), there would be little point in it anyway as by wishing all teams luck it would get totally cancelled out.

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