The Z Files: Adjusting 2021 Projections for the Regional Schedule

The Z Files: Adjusting 2021 Projections for the Regional Schedule

This article is part of our The Z Files series.

Last time out, I reviewed several things I'm thinking about as I set to embark on 2021 MLB projections. One of those things really has the wheels spinning, so let's dig a little deeper. Specifically, should 2020 numbers be adjusted for quality of competition?

In a normal 162-game season, teams play 76 games (47 percent) against divisional opponents, so the stats are somewhat influenced by the strength of their divisional foes, but there's ample play against other teams to dilute the bias and not have to worry about it. However, in 2020, 40 games (67 percent) were played within the division with the other 20 (33 percent) contested in the cross-league geographical zone. Each club faced only nine others. In a standard campaign, everyone plays 20 other squads.

Intuitively, quality of opposition must have played a part in the past season's performances. It may be that the quality is the same across the three regions, so it washes out. What if it is not, though? A batter's 110 wRC+ may not equate to the same level of hitter from one of the other divisional pairings. Pitchers with a 24 percent strikeout rate may not exhibit the same level of dominance if they pitched on a team in one of the other groupings.

Even if there is a difference, adjustments will be more empirical than data driven. Let's dig into some numbers to see what we're dealing with and perhaps add a little objectivity to a mostly subjective dilemma.

Surface

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
DraftKings MLB: World Series Game 2 Breakdown
DraftKings MLB: World Series Game 2 Breakdown
FanDuel MLB: World Series Game 1 Targets
FanDuel MLB: World Series Game 1 Targets
DraftKings MLB: World Series Game 1 Breakdown
DraftKings MLB: World Series Game 1 Breakdown
Bernie on the Scene: Evaluating AL Rookie Pitchers
Bernie on the Scene: Evaluating AL Rookie Pitchers