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The Latest CAIRO 2012 Projections

Hello there, baseball fans! Welcome to Lookout Landing. You are probably interested in predictions about the upcoming season. Sorry, you will not find that here. We don't really fancy predictions because the future is unknowable (for you) and so predictions are just excuses to engage in speculation and that makes us all blah really? We do have some projections though. Those are different. Please understand that those are different so that you might stop bitching about projections being wrong when it turns out they didn't exactly predict the future. You sound like a cretin when you do that.

Today's featured projection system is CAIRO. It's in all capital letters so I assume it is either an acronym or an initialism. I also don't consider those to be the same things. The official definitions are fuzzy but I believe we should have different terms for abbreviations that become words (radar, scuba) on their own and ones that are strictly letters (HTML, FBI). There are border cases though and something's weird about ones that become words but are still used in all caps like NATO. Compare that to Interpol which is a word now and also represents an organization but I feel comfortable writing Interpol in place of INTERPOL, but have to write NATO, not Nato. See how weird that looks? This is confusing. We need more terms.

So, CAIRO, whatever it stands for. Who cares? Here's the link to the latest crop. Looking over it I noticed that most of the good teams were good last year. That's not a big shock or even an aftershock, but it led me to making this graph.


Notice the best fit equation. Hey look, it's regression! That right there is regression. It takes the magnitude from 0 from last year and spits back a little over 75% of that number. Another way of putting that is saying the 2012 projected run differential is three parts actual 2011 run differential and one part league average (0). Regression! Catch the wave!

The above chart doesn't do anything to identify which are the good teams and which are the bad teams. We're (not us we, people we) all about categorizing things into groups of preferably two. People like things in only two possible categories because "black or white" and "either you're with us or you're against us" is just so much less mentally taxing than actual reality. I will indulge it this one time.

First come the haves, since of course they come first. There are 17 teams here with what I considered to be reasonable shots at a playoff berth. Please note that the CAIRO projections' playoff percentage totals include there being a second wild card this season which I don't believe will be in place in time. Therefore, these numbers are probably a bit inflated, but the ordinal ranking probably would not change much, if at all, were I to remove that column.
84.8% - Yankees
82.2% - Phillies
76.8% - Rangers
75.0% - Tigers
73.5% - Angels
70.5% - Cardinals
64.8% - Rays
64.4% - Red Sox
51.0% - Reds
49.5% - Giants
48.6% - Brewers
46.1% - Diamondbacks
45.8% - Nationals
42.4% - Indians
36.7% - Braves
27.9% - Rockies
22.3% - Marlins

Here are the remaining 13 teams. The terrible thirteen. I tried to come up with an alliterative and catchy moniker to saddle them with but I faltered in identifying an English word that's a synonym for bad and prefixed with a "th" sound. Any suggestions from linguists or other writers are welcome. It could even be a foreign word if appropriate enough. If you come up with one that I find delectable, I will bestow on you. It's a wonderful pen. It has a clicky thing at the top and a good balance for twirling.

I arranged the teams in ascending order based on projected wins and broke the ties by using 2011's record just as the MLB draft order would do.
60 - Astros
67 - Twins
68 - Pirates
70 - Orioles
71 - Cubs
74 - Mariners
74 - Royals
74 - White Sox
75 - Mets
75 - Dodgers
76 - Padres
76 - Athletics
78 - Blue Jays

The Padres have the highest combined playoffs projections of any of those 13 and it's just 8.2%, which gives you a notion of the gap between these two groups. By the way, on average, American League teams had two more wins than their National League little brothers. Basically, that means the Mariners and the Padres are like the same team.