Fifth Annual Dugout Central Challenge – MLB Win Predictions
Before the season began, Dugout Central staff and readers were challenged to predict win totals for all thirty MLB teams. A total of three entries were received. For details about the contest rules, see the original article.
Here are the predictions, by division, in alphabetical order. The Over/Under win totals from the Las Vegas Hilton are also shown, as well as predictions from Baseball Prospectus and coolstandings.com. The 2012 and 2012 Pythagorean are the wins and Pythagorean wins, respectively, from last year.
Not surprisingly, in the NL East the Nationals are favored by everyone. The Marlins are expected to be bad by everyone.
Everyone expects Cincinnati to do well in the NL Central, although John has them a close second to the Cardinals. Chuck sees the Brewers as the main competition for the Reds, whereas I think it will be St. Louis. The Cubbies are expected to trail the field, although by varying degrees.
Everybody thinks the Dodgers will take the NL West, though by different margins. Colorado and San Diego are not favored to compete.
We all agree that Atlanta will be a wild card team. Our other wild card choice is either Cincinnati, Milwaukee or St. Louis. Overall, we all agree that Washington, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Atlanta will make the playoffs; our only disagreement is whether St. Louis or Milwaukee is the other team.
In the NL, we were most in agreement on the Reds, as our picks differed by only one game. We disagreed most on Colorado, with a spread of 11 games.
As a group we predicted the Braves to win 3.5 games more than the Vegas line, our most optimistic choice; Milwaukee was a close second with an average prediction 3.2 games above the Vegas line. We were most pessimistic on the Mets, 5.5 games below the Vegas line; Philadelphia was close behind with an average prediction 5.2 games under the Vegas line. The Vegas line wins add up to 2437, 7 more than possible, which indicates that the betting public as a whole is too optimistic.
For the AL we have:
We totally disagree on who will win the AL East, with New York, Tampa Bay and Toronto each getting a vote. None of us expect Baltimore to make a repeat showing in the playoffs, or Boston to right their ship in 2013.
We are unanimous on the Tigers to win the AL Central. As a testament to the weakness of this division, the second place team is never predicted to win more than 85 games. The Twins are picked by all to finish last.
As might be expected, the Angels were our choice for division winner, and the Astros are predicted to trail by a wide margin in the AL West. Chuck sees Seattle as the closest competitor, but John and I believe it will be Texas or Oakland.
We were only unanimous on two teams making the playoffs in the AL – Anaheim and Detroit. Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Texas got two votes each, while New York, Oakland, Seattle and Kansas City also got consideration.
We were most in agreement on Minnesota, as our picks differed by at most 3 games. We disagreed the most on the Royals, with a range of 13 games, although we also differed by as much as 12 on both Seattle and Texas.
As a group we predicted the Rays to win 3.8 games more than the Vegas line, our most optimistic choice. We were most pessimistic on the Red Sox, 4.8 games below the Vegas line. Overall, our average predictions in the AL were fairly close to the Over/Under number.
So, how are our predictions doing so far? There are two different contests – one uses average win difference (AWD) and the other root mean square difference (RMSD). The difference scores are projected to the end of the season in two ways – extrapolate the current team wins to 162 games, the other to prorate our 162-game predictions to the current number of games. One method overstates the error, while the other understates it. By taking the geometric average (square root of the product) of the two methods those effects tend to cancel out. The standings below use this combined score. In practice, the two projection methods give very similar results for the ordering, even though numerically they are far off from each other and the final scores.
The projected scores for the two contests are shown in the following table, ordered by the AWD score. All games through April 7 are included. Of course we’re only a week into the season, so they don’t mean much yet.
Also shown are the average picks for the three of us, the Over/Under line, predictions using last year’s win totals and last year’s Pythagorean wins, predictions by Baseballl Prospectus and coolstandings.com, and the simple-minded choice of 81 wins for all teams.
Updates will be provided periodically throughout the year using winning percentages, so there’s nowhere to hide, and may the best prognosticator win!