Baseball

ATC 2021 Projected Standings and Playoff Odds

Earlier this year, we released our team expected win totals and playoff odds for the 2021 season. These projections are based on the FanGraphs Depth Charts, which blend Jared Cross’ Steamer projections with those of Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS, with playing time allocated by our own Jason Martinez of RosterResource fame; the playoff odds then simulate the season 20,000 times, taking strength of schedule into account.

We thought it’d be interesting to duplicate that process, instead using the Average Total Cost (ATC) Projections.

The ATC player projections have been available on the pages of FanGraphs since 2017. Similar to the Depth Charts model, ATC is an aggregation of other projections. While most other accumulation models typically apply equal weight to all their underlying data sources, ATC assigns weights based on historical performance. The method is similar to what Nate Silver does with his political forecasting model at FiveThirtyEight.com. You can read more about how ATC works in the introductory article here.

Over the past few years, ATC has consistently been one of the most accurate baseball forecasting models. Indeed, according to FantasyPros, the ATC projections have been the most accurate baseball projections over the past two seasons. The success of ATC stems from minimizing parameter risk across the player pool. You can read more about inter-projection volatility, how to use the ATC projections on the FanGraphs site, and what is new for ATC in 2021 here.

Without further ado, here are the ATC forecasted win totals:

ATC Projections – Expected 2021 Win Totals

Team Winning % W L RS RA
Dodgers .608 99 63 850 675
Yankees .590 96 66 904 750
Padres .584 95 67 812 679
Mets .575 93 69 817 696
Braves .563 91 71 844 740
Astros .553 90 72 814 729
White Sox .549 89 73 841 759
Blue Jays .534 87 75 896 836
Twins .530 86 76 829 778
Rays .526 85 77 797 754
Brewers .523 85 77 768 731
Indians .516 84 78 812 785
Nationals .512 83 79 822 801
Red Sox .511 83 79 847 828
Phillies .507 82 80 805 793
Reds .492 80 82 779 792
Angels .490 79 83 805 821
Giants .489 79 83 757 775
Athletics .483 78 84 728 755
Royals .470 76 86 772 821
Marlins .470 76 86 718 765
Cardinals .469 76 86 698 746
Cubs .462 75 87 746 809
Diamondbacks .461 75 87 746 809
Mariners .444 72 90 722 812
Tigers .436 71 91 747 853
Rangers .427 69 93 735 857
Orioles .426 69 93 779 906
Pirates .401 65 97 678 837
Rockies .398 64 98 727 899

SOURCE: ATC Projections

And here are the simulated standings and playoffs odds:

AL East

Team Proj W Proj L Strength of Sched Win Division Win Wild Card Make Playoffs Win Pennant Win World Series
Yankees 96.0 66.0 .499 76.0% 16.9% 92.9% 32.2% 17.5%
Blue Jays 85.8 76.2 .506 10.8% 33.5% 44.3% 6.1% 2.4%
Rays 85.0 77.0 .504 9.3% 30.8% 40.1% 4.9% 1.8%
Red Sox 81.8 80.2 .508 3.8% 18.1% 21.9% 2.3% 0.7%
Orioles 66.8 95.2 .517 0.0% 0.1% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%

AL Central

Team Proj W Proj L Strength of Sched Win Division Win Wild Card Make Playoffs Win Pennant Win World Series
White Sox 90.9 71.1 .490 54.0% 22.0% 76.0% 16.3% 7.1%
Twins 87.2 74.8 .494 27.3% 27.3% 54.6% 8.2% 3.3%
Indians 84.8 77.2 .495 16.5% 22.8% 39.3% 4.6% 1.6%
Royals 76.7 85.3 .499 1.9% 4.5% 6.4% 0.4% 0.1%
Tigers 70.9 91.1 .502 0.2% 0.7% 0.9% 0.0% 0.0%

AL West

Team Proj W Proj L Strength of Sched Win Division Win Wild Card Make Playoffs Win Pennant Win World Series
Astros 91.9 70.1 .487 82.1% 4.9% 87.1% 21.6% 9.2%
Angels 80.4 81.6 .497 9.1% 9.2% 18.4% 1.8% 0.5%
Athletics 79.5 82.5 .495 7.2% 7.6% 14.8% 1.3% 0.4%
Mariners 72.8 89.2 .498 1.1% 1.2% 2.3% 0.1% 0.0%
Rangers 70.0 92.0 .498 0.5% 0.4% 0.9% 0.0% 0.0%

NL East

Team Proj W Proj L Strength of Sched Win Division Win Wild Card Make Playoffs Win Pennant Win World Series
Mets 92.0 70.0 .504 53.7% 28.2% 82.0% 19.7% 11.0%
Braves 90.0 72.0 .504 37.7% 34.9% 72.6% 13.6% 7.0%
Nationals 80.8 81.2 .511 4.6% 11.9% 16.5% 1.5% 0.6%
Phillies 79.9 82.1 .511 3.6% 9.6% 13.2% 1.1% 0.4%
Marlins 73.2 88.8 .516 0.4% 1.7% 2.1% 0.1% 0.0%

NL Central

Team Proj W Proj L Strength of Sched Win Division Win Wild Card Make Playoffs Win Pennant Win World Series
Brewers 86.6 75.4 .486 62.8% 4.0% 66.8% 10.0% 4.1%
Reds 81.0 81.0 .490 22.7% 5.2% 27.9% 2.7% 0.9%
Cardinals 76.9 85.1 .492 9.0% 2.2% 11.2% 0.7% 0.2%
Cubs 75.2 86.8 .495 5.4% 1.3% 6.7% 0.4% 0.1%
Pirates 64.7 97.3 .500 0.1% 0.0% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0%

NL West

Team Proj W Proj L Strength of Sched Win Division Win Wild Card Make Playoffs Win Pennant Win World Series
Dodgers 99.6 62.4 .489 68.2% 29.8% 98.0% 31.7% 20.3%
Padres 95.2 66.8 .493 31.3% 60.6% 91.9% 18.0% 10.5%
Giants 78.6 83.4 .501 0.4% 8.5% 8.9% 0.6% 0.1%
Diamondbacks 73.6 88.4 .505 0.1% 1.9% 2.0% 0.1% 0.0%
Rockies 62.2 99.8 .513 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

Let’s take a quick look at some of the differences between the engine results for the ATC projections and the FanGraphs playoff odds.

The ATC projections are more bullish on the Brewers’ chances in 2021, putting the odds of Milwaukee making the playoffs at 67% versus the FanGraphs Depth Charts projections figure of 39%. The FanGraphs playoff odds sees the NL Central as a wide-open division. Other than the lowly Pirates, each team is projected for at least a 22% chance at playing in the postseason. On the other hand, ATC models the Brewers as the clear favorites – with an expected five game advantage over the next best squad, the Reds.

At the other end of the spectrum, ATC has a vastly different view of the American League West. The ATC projections forecast the Athletics and Angels for five fewer wins apiece in 2021, placing the chances of making the playoffs at just 18% for Los Angeles and 15% for Oakland; the Depth Charts projections give roughly double those odds (37% and 34% respectively). At the top of the AL West, ATC projects the Astros to win one additional game versus the Depth Charts projection, enough to elevate Houston’s chances of a postseason berth from 70% to 87%.

The full win total disparity between the two projection engines can be seen below:

Both projections place the Dodgers, Padres and Yankees as the teams with the highest probability of reaching the postseason. ATC gives a slight edge to the Yankees over the Padres, with all three teams garnering at least a 90% chance to play an official 163rd game in 2021.

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