Author: Jared Weber, Bradley Statistics Major
With the first half of the Prospect League season completed, 4 teams now officially have their home field playoff spot sealed up. In this article, I will use the coin flip division win probability approximation that I created in the last article to highlight the race to first place for each Prospect League division.
Wabash River Winner Danville Dans: (16-11)
In the beginning of the first half, the CornBelters surged to a commanding lead over the division with a 65.6% DWP after the second week was finished. However, just a week later it seemed like the division was a literal coin toss as all 4 teams were close to or right at a .500 record. That cluster was then dramatically broken through by the Danville Dans, in spite of having a 1.9% Division Win Probability (DWP) earlier in the season, as they won 11 straight to claim the division.
Ohio River Valley Winner Chillicothe Paints: (22-9)
Winning their first 5 games, the Lafayette Aviators were cruising on the top of the division to start the season. But then the Johnstown Mill Rats quickly surged to the top picking up a 5-game win streak of their own in key divisional matchups. Then Lafayette, clearly realizing how impactful 5-game win streaks are, proceeded to roll off another one gaining a 24% DWP lead on the next closest team with 2 weeks left to go in the first half. But those two weeks happened to be the Chillicothe Paints’ time to shine as they rolled off an impressive 12 wins in a row to run up and take the division crown.
Prairie Land Winner Cape Catfish: (22-6)
The Catfish really figured out a way to game the system. By focusing on a prioritization of scoring more runs than the other team at the start of the season, they were able to boast a 95% DWP with 2 and a half weeks to still play. Alton and Thrillville also had some undefeated streaks to start out the season, but other than that the division was smooth sailing for the Catfish.
Great River Winner Clinton LumberKings: (16-11)
Burlington had a very quick jump to the top, gaining a 2-game lead over everyone in only two days. However, the LumberKings proceeded to win 10 of their next 12 after that point and never really looked back after that point.