I would like to have a poll to answer a question I am curious about: How many wins will it take to be postseason birth. To answer this question I would like to first examine the American League team with the best record to not make the playoffs each of the last six seasons and how many games back they were of a playoff spot:
2011 Boston Red Sox 90-72 1 GB
2010 Boston Red Sox 89-73 6 GB
2009 Texas Rangers 87-75 8 GB
2008 New York Yankees 89-73 6 GB
2006 Chicago White Sox 90-72 5 GB
Mean: 88.8 StDev: 1.17 Median: 89
Now the reason i listed the total number of games back is because it is likely that the team in years 2006-2010 with the best record in the AL to not make the playoffs, had less of a win-incentive since they had multiple games played with no chance of a postseason birth. It is reasonable to expect that these teams may have won between 0-2 more games (my guesstimation would be something like .75 more wins per year). Using the .75 more wins the data looks like:
New figures: WeightedMean: 89.5 WeightedStDev: 1.05WeightedMedian 89.75
My final bit of analysis will look at Expected pythagorean W-L of WildCard/AL Central teams. (Using banked wins + expected # of wins=total wins). I used ESPN.com's standings to give me my data which follows:
Chicago White Sox 90-72
Tampa Bay 88-74
Detroit Tigers 86-76
Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A's, LAA 85-77
According to this 86 wins would be good for a playoff spot. With there being a large number of teams competing for what essentially is three playoff spots, I think it would be a reasonable expectation for these teams to win at a higher win percentage than they have already shown this season, with teams like Toronto, Minnesota, Seattle, etc. packing it in for next season. However I think it is important to factor in the Pythag W-L into our assumptions since a win percentage of .538 is currently good for a playoff spot. I used many assumptions in my analysis, but it is my opinion that the number of wins by the second wild card team will be in between the Weighted Mean of 89.5, and the Pythagorean W-L expectation of 86 wins. My guess would be 88 wins will be the total number by the final wild card team (I know I am cutting a lot of corners but I am trying to simplify this). For the O's to finish with 88 wins, they would need to go 24-21, a win percentage of .533, slightly below their current win percentage.
Taking the analysis one step further, the likelihood of the Orioles winning at least 24 games ASSUMING that their TRUE WIN PERCENTAGE=CURRENT WIN PERCENTAGE (this is a big assumption, meaning if the Orioles were to play the season out 1000 times, their expected win pct would equal their current win percentage. This assumption also contradicts me using Pythag W-L, but I will continue.) We would expect to win (64/117)*45 games remaining on the schedule=24.6. Using the normal approximation the likelihood that a team with a TRUE WIN PERCENTAGE wins at least 24 games is: (23.5-24.6)/(((64/117)*(53/117)*45)^.5)= Z-score -.33, thus meaning the O's have ~ .6293 chance of winning at least 24 games if their TRUE WIN PERCENTAGE=CURRENT WIN PERCENTAGE. I know I did a lot of math and threw out a lot of hypotheticals and assumptions with little statistical significance, but there you go guys. How many wins do you think is necessary to win the wild card?