A month into the season

We just updated THT Forecasts today, and a month into the season the projected standings have changed quite a bit. In the AL East, the Yankees still project to finish on top, but the Rays have clearly surpassed the Red Sox as the Wild Card favorites. Not only are the Rays 7 games up in the standings right now, but THT Forecasts now actually sees them as the better team going forward as well, projecting 99 wins at years end for Tampa Bay and just 90 for the Sox.

Nothing has changed in the AL Central, with the Twins and Tigers still the favorites, but no real standout team. In the West, THT Forecasts continues to like Texas even though all four teams are closely bunched together in the standings at the moment.

The NL East is one of two divisions where THT Forecasts has found a new favorite. Initially, we had Atlanta as the front-runner, albeit by a slight margin, but the Phillies already lead the Braves by 3.5 games, and we expect that lead to hold. Nothing has changed in the Central, with the Cardinals looking like they’ll run away with the division title. The Cubs, though, are now our Wild Card favorites, whereas previously THT Forecasts had foreseen the Wild Card coming out of the East.

The NL West is probably the most surprising division to me. THT Forecasts has the Giants comfortably winning the division with 90 wins, after projecting just 82 in the pre-season. San Francisco has obviously started off well at 14-10, but I’m still fairly surprised that the Giants now rate as apparently clear favorites.

There’s still a lot baseball left to play, but with almost one-sixth of the season already over it’s interesting to see the playoff races already beginning to shape up. With the help of THT Forecasts,I hope to track how things change all through the year.

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I’m wondering if the change in the NL Wild Card projection is due more to the poor quality of the NL Central (outside of STL) than the Cubs actually being the 4th best NL team.  I don’t know how much the projection system takes into account strength of competition (if at all), nor do I know how this system projected the standings at the beginning of the season, but I’d be interested to know if that’s a big part of the reason for the projected change.