Monday, October 7, 2013

Results of Predictions from 2500 miles away

In this post, I made my annual season predictions. I don’t have the luxury of being in or close to any MLB markets, but in this electronic age with the ability to lookup any information and listen to any sports radio station from anywhere in real time, I’m not sure that’s a detriment.  In fact, seeing how the Boston Gl obe's own Dan Shaugnessy predicted the AL East standings with all his inside information and access to players and front office, I’m thinking that being away from the action may actually be a benefit.  Here were CHB’s thoughts:
Against all odds he managed to predict his own division exactly backwards!
Screenshot courtesy of SoSHer BannedByNYYFans
Maybe he should stick to writing books.

Anyhow, in my predictions I was aiming for a 75% confidence interval.  That means that when selecting a range of wins for all 30 teams, I should have had 22.5/30 correct.  I had 11 right – about half of what should be expected.  On the surface it doesn’t look that good but going team-by-team, I think my forecasts were better than most of the ones published by the so-called “experts”.   Everyone had the Blue Jays as World Series favorites, except for the dissenters who saw the Angels winning the American League.  And in the National League, the only question was who the Nationals had to beat in the NLCS to advance to the Fall Classic.  

Here is how each team did relative to my forecasts. Numbers in bracket are my original guess, comments in quotes are in reference to what I said in March.

AL East:
Boston -97 (83 to 89)  After winning only 69 games in 2012 I committed in writing that I thought they’d improve by up to 20 games. Well, they ended up being 28 games better.  “If everything goes right they could win the division with over 90 wins”.  If you saw that coming, put your hand up. If your hand is up, you are a liar(*). So even though I missed on my win interval, I am fairly pleased with my prediction.
Tampa – 92 (85 to 91) I missed by 1 using a fairly narrow range. Meh.
Yankees – 85 (77 to 87) I had a wide range here because although I expected them to have a down year I wasn’t quite sure as down. To be honest I thought the final results would be worse than they were, but it was within my predicted range.
Baltimore – 85 (72 to 84) As with Tampa I missed by 1, but I had thought they had the potential to do quite a bit worse.
Toronto – 74 (82 to 95) When everyone else had them as World Series favorites I thought they’d struggle to get past .500 (although I hedged my bets by having a large upper range). I was fairly certain they would underperform the lofty expectations given to them, but thought they would make more moves during the season to try and fight for a playoff spot.

Overall, I am giving myself a B+ on this division’s predictions. Only had one team within my expected range, but I feel like I correctly saw the direction that every team’s year would take.
It could have been much worse.   I could have curly hair and Carl Everett could have given me a malicious nickname that has stuck for over a decade.

 (*) Unless, Ras is reading this. You I believe.

AL Central:
Detroit – 93 (90 to 99) Predicting them to win the division with a win total in the 90s isn’t exactly Nostradamus like.
Cleveland – 92 (69 to 83). Did not see this coming. I had a huge range in wins for them, spanning from awful to respectable, and they won nine more than the most I had envisioned. Well done, Tito, I may have misspoke when I predicted you’d be “thinking fondly of the good old chicken wing and beer days”
Kansas City – 86 (76 to 86) “Lots of games against weak opponents will help them get to .500” I mused. I also erroneously said they wouldn’t seriously contend for a wildcard spot.  Still, their win total fell in the range.
Minnesota – 66 (75 to 85) I thought they’d be better. They weren’t.
Chicago – 63 (74 to 85) I correctly foresaw a down year for them. Didn’t quite expect it to be that bad.

I think the only area where I outpicked the experts was the White Sox, who many saw as the 2nd best team in the division after winning 85 games the previous season.  D+

AL West:
Oakland – 96 (88-95) – I said 2012 was not a fluke and they’d repeat as division champs. Missed their win total by 1 game.
Texas – 91 (84-92) – “They should still win about 90”.
Anaheim – 78 (84-90) – “Again, the Angels will miss the playoffs”. I wasn’t buying into the improvements made and hinted that Scioscia’s job might be in jeopardy. Still, they managed to do even worse than I had prognosticated (I’m making liberal use of Mr. Roget today).
Seattle -71  (79-85) – “They could catch the Angels but I don’t think they will”.  Still, I expected them to win a few more games, given that they had 19 games within their own division where they were the clear favorites.
Houston – 51 (50-64) – “If I miss, it will be because they undershoot the low end’. Luckily the Astros won their 50th game just prior to finishing the season on an uninspired, but not totally uncharacteristic 0-15 run.

I’m giving myself a solid A for this division. I had the correct order when everyone else had proclaimed the Angels champions with Texas the only possible obstacle.

NL East
Atlanta – 96 (83-90) “Closer to .500 than 100 wins”. Um, no.  15 and 4 respectively.
Washington – 86 (85-94) “They’ll be lucky to win 90”. They were the media darlings, but I didn’t fully buy in.  If I slapped myself for being off on the Braves, I deserve a pat on the back for this one.
Mets -74 (67-75)I thought they’d have a hard time reaching 70, but they were within my forecasted range.
Philadelphia – 73 (86-96)I made fun of Ruben Amaro’s offseason but still picked them to be at the top of this division.  I should have read what I wrote more closely before predicting their win total.
Miami – 62 (70-75) Thought they’d overcome trading away all their above-replacement level players (other than a certain highly coveted Mr. Stanton), and still win a respectable 70 games.
Good picks on the Mets and Washington, missed the rest of the division badly. C+

NL Central
St. Louis- 97 (79-83) “No wildcard is coming from the Central this year”. If by “No” I meant “All” then I would have hit the bullseye with that statement. 
Pittsburgh -94 (79-85) Correctly predicted they’d break the .500 barrier, didn’t expect them to be quite so good.
Cincinnati – 90 (95-101) “Rest of division is getting weaker, should run away with it”.  I said of a division with 3 playoff teams on it. I should never underestimate Dusty Baker’s incompetence. I could have taken this team to the 100 win level myself.
Milwaukee – 74 (83-88) I don’t even have a comment for them.
Cubs – 66 (58-70) “Astros aren’t around to keep them out of last place”. Hey, I got this one right!
If the NL East was a C+, no way I get more than a D here.

NL West
Dodgers – 92 (85-92) – “their offense is much better than the Giants”.  So is everyone else’s, I suppose.
Arizona – 81 (84-90) – I said they’d improve but not enough to win their division. They ended up with the exact same 81-81 record two years in a row
San Francisco – 76 (90-99) – “They’ll hit some rough patches”. Yeah, I didn’t think it would be for 6 months.
San  Diego – 76 (71-79) -  “Will battle Colorado and Mets for the worst pitching staff in the league”. Ended up with a 3.98 ERA. Only 2 NL teams (Colorado was one of them) ended up > 4.00.  Not a bad forecast.
Colorado – 74 (66-74) “Can’t stop other teams from scoring runs”. League worst 4.44 ERA.
I whiffed on the Giants, but was on or close with the rest of the teams.  B.

Overall I’m giving myself a B- grade.   I picked a Rays vs Reds World Series and at least both those teams made playoffs, as opposed to all those Blue Jays/Angels vs Nationals picks that seemed to dominate the media in the spring.   Tell me what you think of my picks in the comments below, and leave your World Series predictions there.  On the line are bragging rights.  I’m updating my pick to Red Sox over Cardinals.

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