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Sunday, January 31, 2010
Projecting logjam at top of NL West


Finally, it's our last installment in Fun With CAIRO Projections (which, by the way, were powered by Diamond Mind's player projections). Your final National League West standings:

Dodgers - 87
Rockies - 86
D'backs - 84
Giants - 75
Padres - 72

As I mentioned earlier in this series, the inherent uncertainty in these numbers, even if they're almost perfectly derived, is at least six games. Which is to say that we shouldn't be particularly surprised if the Dodgers win 93 games, or 81. They're not exactly as likely to win 93 (or 81) as they are to win 87 -- again, this is assuming that 87 is perfectly figured, which it's not -- but those upper and lower boundaries are well within our range of highly possible outcomes.

Still, that 87 does tell us something worth knowing. I mean, if you're interested in this sort of thing. What's not really useful is the notion that (for example) the Diamondbacks are going to finish in third place, three games behind the Dodgers and two behind the Rockies. When you add up the +/-6's for those three teams, a three-game difference between them simply doesn't mean anything. When you find three teams so close and have to pick one, it's time to drill into the stuff automated projections don't consider. Which team has the wherewithal to trade prospects for veteran help in July? Which team is run by men of high intelligence and quick actions?

At some point this spring, I'll offer my own projected standings, and it's those sorts of questions I'll rassle with.

I probably won't do much rassling with the Giants and the Padres. The Padres are rebuilding, while the Giants have done essentially nothing to improve an attack that finished last season 14th in the National League in slugging percentage and 16th in on-base percentage. In a hitter's park, no less! I just don't see that formula leading to another 88-win season.