The Cubs aren’t even in first place in their division, but Baseball Prospectus suggests that they might be playing in the 2007 World Series vs. the Red Sox. CNNSI.com’s Nate Silver explains:
That’s suggested by Baseball Prospectus’s Secret Sauce, which is based on three ingredients that strongly correlate with postseason success: a team’s strikeout rate, or Equivalent K/9 (EqK9), adjusted for a team’s league and ballpark; its quality of defense, or Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA), an estimate of the runs a defense has saved or cost its pitchers relative to the league average; and its strength of closer, or Win Expectation Above Replacement (WXRL), which measures the wins the closer has saved versus what a replacement-level alternative would have done. In other words, teams that prevent the ball from going into play, catch it when it does and preserve late-inning leads are likely to excel in the playoffs. The formula pointed to the surprising matchup between the White Sox and the Astros in the 2005 World Series (not to mention Chicago’s title), in addition to the unlikely championships of the 1990 Reds and the 2002 Angels.
The Red Sox currently boast baseball’s best Secret Sauce rating. The Cubs were second, followed closely by the Angels, Mets, and Dodgers. And who can’t look forward to a series full of inane Billy Goat and Babe discussion? Boy, that’ll be some kind of fun.