Portrait of a Crapshoot

Here’s how one session went at the craps table. Just a few things to note:

  1. You play 161 games just to have a lousy 11.3% chance of winning the World Series. Given that the division winners are guaranteed to be one of the final eight, you see the Braves entering the playoffs with slightly less than an average chance of winning it all, which would have been 12.5%. But essentially at this point, I think you could call the Braves chances average.
  2. Losing the first playoff game against Milwaukee puts us near our low point, 6.1%, which is reached when Christian Yelich singles off Max Fried in the bottom of the 2nd in Game 2. Once that game ended, the Braves were back to where they started: 11.4%.
  3. At the end of the Milwaukee series, getting ready to face the Dodgers, the Braves’ winning probability stood at 24.4%. As one of four teams remaining, this is one again very slightly below average. In other words, crapshoot.
  4. Dansby’s walkoff at the end of Game 2 led to a Championship probability of 40.2%. If you think of the World Series as 50-50, that means the Braves probability of beating the Dodgers after those first two wins was about 80 percent.
  5. But what comes up can go down as well. After getting up to 41.3 percent after the first two hitters reached against Buehler, Ozzie’s double play started the decline. By the end of Game 3, the probability of a Championship was just over 1/3rd. The Game 4 win and the Game 5 loss paired to raise the Braves’ chances to 37.7 percent.
  6. Game 6 closed out the Dodgers (not without a lot back-and-forth in the probabilities) and we entered the World Series with a 49.4% chance of victory. Once again, we were rolling a pretty fair pair of dice, slightly loaded against us. But when Soler led off the World Series one batter later with a homer off Framber Valdez, our crew passed the 50 percent mark for the first time: 52.4%.
  7. By the time the first game was over, the Braves were almost 2/3rds to win. But the second game brought them back to earth: back down to just under 50%.
  8. The next two wins got the Braves within sight of the Promised Land (68%) but by the time Dansby Swanson stood at the plate in the 6th down 2-1, the probability had dropped to 61 percent. The next two blows, tying and taking the lead, moved the Braves over 70 percent for the first time, and they never fell below that level, reaching over 97 percent after Adam Duvall’s Grand Slam.
  9. Yeah, but. We let that game get away. By the end of Game 5, the probability had dropped to 73.3%. Almost, but not quite 3 chances in 4 with no more than two games to go.
  10. And of course there was only one game left to go. Glorious Game 6. Soler’s home run got it back to 87% (did it feel that way?) and it was all skyrockets from there.
  11. And it still is.
You’ll have to take my word for it… There was just enough left in case there was a Game 7

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

76 thoughts on “Portrait of a Crapshoot”

  1. I’m sorry, but in which world of readers of this esteemed blog is there not a full bottle in reserve – you know, when necessary

    Btw, the glass half empty FP&A bean counter that I am loves this stuff. But I must be off to sleep as I have a 10k run in 8 hours time

  2. The picture on top is pretty, and the picture on the bottom is beautiful.

  3. I was wondering if it’d feel as good by the weekend as it did Tuesday night. And it does!

    Those first few second when you wake up, and then you remember you are living in a world where the Atlanta Braves just won the World Series…indescribable.

  4. Freddie’s speech yesterday was all kinds of savvy.

    Without addressing it directly, he made the case for why the Braves have the resources to resign him. By giving us fans the ultimate credit for the deadline expenditure that led to this championship, he’s also suggesting we’ve already contributed what it should take to keep him around and keep this thing going. Resigning him is what the team now owes its fans.

    Dansby et al then made the subtext text.

  5. Nice to finally walk away from the table with all the money. Thnx, JonF.

    Lotsa bumps & bruises along the way to the promised land. But now, rough as it is, I don’t mind watching a compilation of heartbreak — we finally stuck the landing. I’ll be beaming until spring training (& probably beyond).

    FYI – Joc Pederson in the house at Sanford Stadium today — rocking the pearls, of course.

  6. @10–yes, Freddie was engaging and appealing in his aw shucks way. But he was also brilliant in the way he set the narrative: Thanks to the fans the team had the money to compete. There really is a lot of pressure on management to sign him.

  7. IIRC teams have five days to negotiate and then can sign tomorrow.

    Though I expect most teams to wait until after new CBA to sign anyone.

  8. Both sides want to get a deal done, so I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t happen. If there is a snag, it will probably be about years rather than dollars.

  9. Goldschmidt got 5/130 m the year before he hit free agency, so that might be a fair comparison. I think somewhere around 7/185 is where the deal might shake out.

  10. Interesting. Demeritte and Rangel (of all people) onto the 40-man roster. Tomlin and Dayton gone.

  11. I think FF easily commands $30MM AAV on the open market and probably more. I think the Braves are going to have to give him at least $27MM, so I think 6/$162MM is the baseline. You could go 6/$165MM with a club option for year 7 (age 38 season) worth $15MM, or a $5MM buyout, which brings it close to a $30MM AAV guarantee.

    Just my two cents.

  12. And my math is wrong there and my edit button is gone. Put it at a clean 6/$170MM and gets a $28.3MM AAV. If he’s still on board at age 38, you could go year-to-year afterwards.

  13. Those of you with access to it might want to check MLB Network over the next few days. Earlier this evening I happened upon the end of a condensed version of NLCS game 2 (Rosario’s walkoff single through Seager scoring Dansby). It looked like they turned a 3-1/2 hour game into a 2-hour broadcast, mostly by eliminating lots of walking around between pitches and cutting some commercials. I imagine that isn’t the only game they’re doing that to.

  14. When Clemson won their national championships, they didn’t out-recruit everyone. They were 9th and 6th in the talent composite. You can get away with not having elite recruiting if you have great coaching and great QB play.

    If Florida isn’t going to recruit at a high level, you just simply can’t have Todd Grantham. And if you’re going to have Todd Grantham, you definitely can’t have Emory Jones 9 games into the season when you know he’s Stetson Bennett with dreads and less elite talent around him. Obviously Anthony Richardson, a far better QB, would have started had he been healthy. But now Florida has to question whether Anthony Richardson can play his style of play and stay healthy.

    Georgia and Louisville fans could have told Dan Mullen who Todd Grantham was. He didn’t listen. And it will likely cost him his job. I was never a Jim McElwain fan, but I was glad when the team completely imploded because that meant change was coming. The worst situation you can be in is Georgia when you have good guys like Mark Richt and Kirby Smart who can’t win it all but you’ll stick with them longer than you should.

  15. Enough basking in yesterday.

    Do something miraculous, AA. Sign Freddie and the deadline outfield, and then pull a rabbit out of your hat.

    I miss the daily games.

  16. What’s an Alan Rangel?

  17. So much good news this morning!

  18. https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/payroll/2021/

    Spotrac has Atlanta’s payroll at 11th last year. But they would have to increase by 10% — $15M — to catch the team 10th (San Fran). Liberty is cheap, so I don’t think we get to the top 10. But even adding $10-15M would give us another piece.

    We’re going to be stacked next year if Soroka and Acuna come back healthy. It’s too early for rosterbation, but not by much.

  19. I’m back from vacation!! I got to see wild ponies and dolphins from the dock of the house where I was staying. Also got to see kite surfing, which I had never heard of before. I wish I had been home to see the World Series festivities. I didn’t see the parade at all.

    I really hope the Braves re-sign Freddie but I am afraid of the cost. He is a 32 year 1B. I truly would not give him more than a 6 year deal. 6/170 is ideal (and even that is risky). The list of long term contract extension flops given to 30+ year old players is long (Pujols, Cabrera, Hamilton, Cano, etc.). We also have Max who will need a contract extension soon, and Austin/Ian within the next 6 years.

    Would love to be able to re-sign Soler and possibly Rosario and Duvall as well. Ronald won’t be available for awhile so Duvall is probably a necessity.

  20. Liberty Media is nothing at all like Wayne Huizenga… but if they don’t resign Freddie they will look like Wayne Huizenga. If there’s an important lesson of American Business Sports Ownership, it’s never look like Wayne Huizenga.

  21. @35 Beaufort, NC. It is just south of the Outer Banks. The house we stayed in was on Taylor’s Creek, across from Rachel Carson Reserve. The ponies live at the reserve. It was a very cool town.

  22. #25
    Yeah, stick with that formula & Dan Mullen will be leading the rebuild at Florida International before you know it.

    If you wanna go with the “Clemson formula,” then UF might wanna petition to join the ACC. The league schedule’s a little softer over there.

    In the SEC, as UF has found out, even programs in “down” years have enough talent to beat you. You need great players to compete in the league, period – and with Texas & Oklahoma joining the party, it won’t get any easier.

    FSU & Miami are down. Now is the time to make hay in the state. But instead of loading his roster with the best homegrown talent, Mullen is losing big Florida recruits to both Alabama (which has 17 4- or 5-star recruits on its roster from Fla.) & Georgia (13). That’s no way to run the state, much less compete with the top 2 programs in the SEC.

    Stick with Kirby Smart longer than we should? Amusing.

    Right now, whether you realize it or not, UGA has better players, a better coach, a better program. Personally, I hope Dan Mullen “turns down” all those “NFL offers” & sticks around a while. If he improves just a little bit, he’ll be the new Paul Johnson.

    But… just a guess: I don’t think he wants to be there anymore.

  23. Florida’s 7th in the country in talent. So his recruiting issues are way overblown. He’s the best in the country in the portal, and I like the portal for roster management issues. Had Kirby hit the portal for a QB last year, he’d have a national title. Instead, Stetson Bennett lost him yet another shot at the title. Florida does not graduate much of consequence this year. Almost no one on the offensive side of the ball is going anywhere. Kair Elam and Zach Carter on defense will be losses. 7th in the country in talent, Anthony Richardson, and a lot of upperclassmen next year is a good spot to be.

    But I think you’re right; Mullen doesn’t want to be at Florida anymore. The more I think about it, his lack of action with the OL coach and Grantham tells me that Mullen will leave, and with so many expiring contracts on the staff, this seems to be such a good time for him to bolt. Nothing else explains just how unstable the situation is right now.

    This is Georgia’s year. They’re better than Florida, but I don’t understand the value in that if they have no titles. Kirby’s in year 6. Literally the seas are parting for him right now. Bama’s down, OSU’s down, Oregon’s overrated, Oklahoma’s not elite, and Clemson is down. Florida has their issues, but Florida’s Florida. They’ll be back. But if Kirbs can’t win this year with the condition of the other programs, then Athens should start wondering if they too don’t have the right guy. At some point, “We’re better than Florida” is not the same as being national champions.

  24. I want to speak on Liberty Media for a minute as I have a person that talks to me that would know such things:

    Liberty Media does NOT control the Braves payroll at all. They are completely hands-off and have been since their purchase. The Braves can spend what they make.

  25. @39: Sure, but “what you can make” involves a lot of guesswork, which includes projections that you have to give Liberty Media. If you plan to give Freddie Freeman $30 million in, say, 2029, you don’t have any reasonable way of committing to that today that guarantees you will make money in 2029. So to say they don’t control the payroll at all is misleading. They are hands off as to the composition of that payroll, and they are hands off as to the estimation of the revenue streams that earn the money back, but they are sharpening pencils to make sure that (a) the projections are reasonable; and (b) your ass is on the line if you can’t meet it. That’s not exactly “no control.”

  26. @38-Rob, I know you are probably just trolling about Kirby Smart; I don’t think there is anyone in Dawg Nation that thinks he needs to move on. Folks will be rightly disappointed if they don’t win it all this year, but the program is in better shape than it’s ever been. The talent level and depth at UGA is miles ahead of everyone except Alabama. That doesn’t guarantee a championship, but it puts you in the hunt every year.

    I do need to point out that Smart did get a transfer QB last year, and he was the clear starter and folks were excited about him. However, in response to COVID he opted out at the last minute and that’s why Stetson Bennett had the job.

    Edit—I do feel a need to compliment your loyalty to the Gators. The UF program can and should and probably will turn around one of these years, but the Gators have sunk to depths that I never thought I’d see. But loyalty is a virtue, so good for you.

  27. MLB Network is showing Game 6 of the Dodgers series. Just saw Matzek carve ’em up in the 7th. I will never forget that moment!

  28. @41

    I can’t really count Jamie Newman because they never got him on campus. Whether it’s Jim McElwain and Will Grier, Mike Norvell and Chubba Purdy, or Kirby Smart and Fields/Eason/Newman, I hold coaches accountable for letting great QBs walk out the door, regardless of reason. Newman left because he got bad draft advice, and it’s incumbent on the coach to educate them. Saban has never had a QB walk out the door without his blessing.

    My question for Dawg fans: how long does Kirby get to win a title? Florida has never had a coach since Spurrier who has coached for 6 years without winning a title. Spurrier won his in year 7, and the Florida program was in a very different spot then. Is being “close” year-after-year good enough?

    I still like Dan Mullen. He’s made horrible coaching staff decisions though. And like I said, I can slightly forgive giving Grantham one more year. There’s sheer morbid curiosity to find out next year what Mullen can do with a legit DC, Anthony Richardson, and a really good roster of upper classmen next year. But he painted himself into a corner now, and he has no one to blame but himself (and Emory Jones, to be fair).

  29. It seems that AA’s approach at this point is to let Freddie collect his offers and they’ll try to hammer something out afterwards. I dunno. That feels risky. If it’s a matter of getting top dollar for FF, then it ain’t going to be the Braves. And while Freddie probably takes a hometown discount, it’s probably a 10% discount max. Freddie is probably looking at $33-35MM AAV on the open market. I have a tough time seeing AA devoting $30MM+ to one player. I can’t think of a lousier way to follow up a Championship than parting with your franchise icon at the peak of his career, but I have an ominous feeling about it.

  30. Duvall winning a Gold Glove is a shock to me. He got it for right field and played only 77 games there. He played 51 games in left and 30 games in center and took some crazy routes in those two positions, but I guess he graded off the charts in right.

  31. @47 I don’t think an outfielder should be penalized for playing all over the outfield. Duvall is a really good outfielder, and while it’ll cost Atlanta more to retain him, his career is starting to be really appreciated.

  32. Good for Duvall. That award probably helps him, as a journeyman free agent 3rd/4th outfielder, more than just about anyone else who could have won. And I’d say he’s deserving, as he really does have good leather.

  33. @45 That’s really the smartest way anyway. Let him field offers. And then Atlanta puts theirs in, it’s less, and Freddie can decide if he wants to leave. And then in the press conference, he gets to look like a hero saying there were higher offers out there, but he took less because he really wanted to be in Atlanta with these fans. And everybody collectively says, “Awwwwww, I love that Freddie Freeman.”

  34. @46

    So pleased to hear about d’Arneau. Damn the soft throws, he was a classic example of total commitment behind the plate – largely unsupported in real terms (Contreras? please). He bore a heavy load for every pitch in every game. A Hero for me.

  35. @39 Liberty Media does NOT control the Braves payroll at all. They are completely hands-off and have been since their purchase. The Braves can spend what they make.

    That simple statement is a contradiction though. It means they DO control the budget. During the all-star break AA said that the owners gave him the OK to spend money. That is controlling the budget. That being said, it could be worse. Some corporate owners steal profits. LM doesn’t do that.

    I have a request. Can we have a separate football thread similar to the political thread?

  36. @53: SEC football discussions are a hallowed Mac-originated innovation here. I’m a hard no on getting rid of them, and I heartily dislike SEC football. I will try to cut down on the Yale Hockey posts, though, which I believe were only read by The Flying Bernard (you still around?) and me.

  37. @ 54,

    I think Alex R. also was greatly in favor.

    And since they mainly occurred in offseason, they were even mildly interesting to me.

  38. The existence of BATRA means that there has to be a set of financial records that only go with BATRA. So, there is a degree of independence required by SEC regulators.

    However, it is beyond naïve (hey. the little internal spellcheck required the little double dot thingy on the i) to think there is no influence from Liberty Media on Braves financial implications. Sure, if Braves want to offer 4 million on a one year deal for Chris Martin, nobody in big Liberty cares. But any 5 plus year contract at 25 million plus per year for Freeman will be influenced by Big Liberty. It may be a merely “if you want to, but don’t come back in July asking for more.”

  39. I believe American football is a bloodsport leaving little besides crippling injuries and brain damage in its wake and I’m fine with discussing it here.

  40. @54 I have no idea who Mac is…..and I just dislike wading through all of the non Braves related posts. I despise college football in general since it became all money related a few years ago. No problem though…..I will just ignore the post if I see it has something about football in it.

  41. My barber put on a hazmat suit and cut AA’s hair yesterday. He thinks we are going to do the following:

    Freeman 6 years $175 million
    Zack Greinke 1 year $10 million
    Trade Pache, Waters, Ozuna and Jared Shuster for Cedric Mullins, Kyle Bradish and Cole Suler
    Rosario 3 years $32 million
    Soler 2 year $22 million (this will happen after the CBA)

  42. @56 BATRA stock perked up a little bit since the World Series win. It has been a dud for me for awhile now.

  43. @59 No thanks to Greinke. No way that crazy trade happens. Too many moving parts. Ozuna is a persona non grata. No one wants him. Would love the Soler deal. Not sure about the Rosario deal…would prefer two years on him too. Also would add Duvall at 2 years 18M. The Freddie deal sounds doable….though a tad expensive for me. Would much prefer 6/160 with a dual option for a 7th year.

  44. @57, agreed.

    Mac was the site’s founder. I’m not a college football fan but I’ve always loved the digressions among the regular commenters here into other favorite topics like college football and music. Definitely recommend the PgDn strategy if you’re not interested.

  45. @59 I like three parts of your barber’s thoughts except, according to MLBTR predictions, Rosario and Soler are basically flipped. They have Soler at 3/36 and Rosario at 2/15.

    Greinke is a hard “no” for me. We don’t need another Cole Hamels or Drew Smyly. The pitchers we already have are at least that good.

    And if we sign Rosario and Soler (and Duvall) then there’s no way we trade for a big OF addition like Mullins. Acuna will eventually be back and will likely cover CF. And there’s also no way the Orioles solve our Ozuna problem for us. Why do we need Sulser and Bradish anyway? If you’re going to trade for an Oriole, they have a boatload of promising infielders.

  46. @63 I get it. I get it. Everyone wants to keep the football talk. Please don’t @me about it again. I can just scroll past posts I’m not interested in. I don’t really “get” the music or beer talk either. I’m just a baseball nerd who’s here to talk baseball.

  47. @65 The Braves (Snit) have said that Ronnie will not play CF again unless it’s an emergency. That’s why I think Duvall will likely be back. Also, this is even more likely given that he is recovering from a major knee injury.

  48. I think an OF of Duvall/Rosario, Mullins and Acuna is legit. Soler would be the DH.

    Also, Freeman could easily get 6- $200 million.

  49. Mac was Crimson Tide all the way & on the site, he allowed our regional head-butting because, well, he did some of it, too.

    BTW, when I was at that chilly/wet Game 3 of the WS… the 2 guys on my left were Auburn people, the folks in front of me were Tennessee, the 2 guys to my immediate right were from LSU & Arkansas (very funny people), and the people right behind me were UGA. Quite a group… Braves Country indeed.

    Yes, the fact is… Kirby did hit the transfer portal for QB last year. Twice.

    It wasn’t just Jamie Newman (the Wake Forest transfer), who bailed just before the season began – FWIW, he was on campus & he was practicing; but also JT Daniels (USC transfer), who wasn’t healthy enough to play until Game 7. There wasn’t any inaction there – just some bad luck.

    And Kirby ain’t going anywhere…

    BTW, wanna guess which QB is leading the SEC in both Passer Rating (197.3) & yards-per-attempt (11.8)? Yup, #13, Stetson Bennett.

  50. The TV deal is up in 2027, no?

    If I were AA I’d push for a lower annual value and give Freddie more years given the likely revenue spike later this decade.

  51. @54 wow, I had totally forgotten our Yale hockey discussions! 2013 seems like a long time ago…

    Reminiscing about the 1995 World Series recently, I had also forgotten that Blauser was hurt and missed the postseason that year. Instead we got 0-16 from Rafael Belliard in that World Series. I checked the record books and that’s the second worst no hit, no walk performance in World Series history, behind only Catcher Billy Sullivan who went 0-21 for the 1906 White Sox.

  52. Can Georgia win a national championship with Stetson Bennett?

    Yes, the fact is… Kirby did hit the transfer portal for QB last year. Twice.

    It wasn’t just Jamie Newman (the Wake Forest transfer), who bailed just before the season began – FWIW, he was on campus & he was practicing; but also JT Daniels (USC transfer), who wasn’t healthy enough to play until Game 7. There wasn’t any inaction there – just some bad luck.

    It’s not bad luck to not have a QB in year 5. Just my opinion. And that’s compounded by the fact that Justin Fields was making the playoff in Columbus.

  53. #73
    As mentioned, he did have a QB — then COVID hit, remember?

    And kinda ironic that, after AR15’s 3-turnover-in-2-minutes performance on Oct. 30, a UF guy would be whining about our QBs.

    Anyway… win a CFP with Stetson? I think we’re about to find out. But if our opponents never score more than 13 points? Sure.

    OC Todd Monken’s been great at having the offense take what’s given. When they stack the box & dare the QB to beat them, like some teams have, Stetson has seen the single-coverage & beaten them deep & over the middle with an array of receivers. If they don’t sell out for the run… we just run on them & take shots deep. When we get a decent lead, we run some more & eat clock. Simple.

    Daniels has a gun & would seem to have a higher ceiling, despite the fact that Stetson adds a running dimension. My gut tells me that, unless we see JT start & play most of the last 2 games, JT will play the Tua role — in case of emergency, break glass.

    FWIW, I think Tennessee (this wknd) will be the first team to really challenge this D by winging it downfield. Alabama will, too, not to mention Ohio St., if we see them.

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