Everyone Just Cool Out with CoolStandings.com

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2007

I’ve been seeing people cite these CoolStandings.com graphs all over the damn place. Over at Geoff Baker’s blog, USS Mariner: Your Mariner sources are all over this thing with the “the Mariners have only a 4% chance of making the playoffs” because CoolStandings says so.

CoolStandings is not cool. It’s borderline useless.

Let’s take a look at the AL “CoolStandings” from May 31st, 2006.
Ok, looks like they got the AL East pretty good. But check out the AL Central. According to “Cool Standings” Minnesota had less than a .1% chance of making the playoffs. But if you’ll remember, Minnesota ended up with the 2nd-best record in the American League.

Check out the West–Texas? With an 83% chance of winning the division? Do you remember ever thinking that at any point last year, that the Rangers looked like a good shot to win the West? Of course not–everyone knew they’d fold, and they did. Oakland, given barely a 10% chance to win the division, won it.

There may be useful things in CoolStandings–their current standings gives the 22-29 Yankees a three-times-better chance of winning the division than 22-29 Tampa Bay…that makes sense to me.

But still–the Yankees with only a 1.5% chance of winning the division? That’s a 66-1 chance. Ask yourself: if you were a bookie, would you offer those odds?

CoolStandings isn’t going to tell who’s going to get hot, who’s going to get hurt, who’s going to get acquired, or really anything much more than what the standings would tell you. Want a more reliable indicator of how likely a team is to make it in October? Follow the money. Ask Vegas.

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