St. Louis Cardinals 2017 season has been a rough one, but we are within striking distance of the Cubs. The Predator Power Index (PPI) I will introduce will give us reasons not to fear the defending champions.
The St. Louis Cardinals, prior to the I-70 series, came in with a 55-56 record, best for third in the division. However, they were only 3.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the division lead. With teams this close in the standings with over a quarter of the season to go, it is a division up for grabs.
Let me first start this expedition into projections by explaining the Predator Power Index, PPI, to help give you a better understanding of where the numbers come from. The PPI is a new statistical model, I created myself, to calculate the expected wins and losses for a team through the games they have played, as well as create a projection for the end of the season record.
It uses the past history of statistics accumulated from the season I retrieve from MLB.com to create an expected Runs Created (Hitting) and expected Runs Prevented (Pitching) through my own calculations. With that, I estimate the expected wins and losses through the games they have played, as well project the wins for the total season each Monday.
In the latest update, I had the Chicago Cubs PPI Expected Win/Loss rank as 8th best in the MLB with a 60.5-49.5 record. The St. Louis Cardinals, on the other hand, had a PPI Expected Win/Loss as the 10th best in the MLB with a 58.7-52.3 record. For the past two weeks, both clubs have stayed consistent in their respective position having around a 1.5 games difference.
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Even though their PPI Expected Win/Loss rankings have not changed the past two weeks, their PPI Projected Win/Loss difference has narrowed, which is why I have been optimistic as of late.
Over a two-week span, the St. Louis Cardinals have gained a game on the Chicago Cubs in the projected standings to finish the season.
That may not seem like much, but with such a decent portion of season left, it gets us closer to striking distance.
The Chicago Cubs PPI Projected Win/Loss for the end of the season stands at 86.6-75.4, which would be 9th best in the MLB. The St. Louis Cardinals PPI Projected Win/Loss for the end of the season stands at 82.0-80.0, which would be 13th best in the MLB.
I recognize we are still projected at 4.6 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the final standings. For a season like the St. Louis Cardinals are having, dancing with .500 mark all year, all it will take is a couple of series wins in a row or a small win streak to narrow the gap. I mean the St. Louis Cardinals are due for a win streak as some point, right? Our largest win streak was 6 games all the way back in May.
One may have even thought the Chicago Cubs have been hot as of late, but rest assured, they have lost 4 of their last 5 before they came in to play on August 7th. Over their last 30 games, they had been 18-12, while the St. Louis Cardinals had played a respectable 16-14. Not too far off their pace.
Clearly, there is still time left in the season for any of the teams in the National League Central to make a run. As of now, no team has proven they can play consistent quality baseball, leaving the door open for whoever gets hot in September. One thing is for sure, we should not fear the Chicago Cubs because as of this updated PPI projection. They have not shown we should.