Sixth Annual Dugout Central Challenge – MLB Win Predictions

by KerryWhisnant

Before the season began, Dugout Central staff and readers were challenged to predict win totals for all thirty MLB teams. A total of five 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. The 2013 and 2013 Pythagorean are the wins and Pythagorean wins, respectively, from last year.

NL East

Atl

Mia

NYM

Phi

Was

Chuck Johnson

91

65

73

72

94

Jim Mahoney

88

65

78

73

94

Cameron Nelson

95

52

76

64

89

Bob Owens

86

74

70

62

98

Kerry Whisnant

85

73

70

77

90

Average

89.0

65.8

73.4

69.6

93.0

Over/Under

87.0

70.0

74.5

74.0

90.0

Baseball Prospectus

81

69

75

77

89

2013

96

62

74

73

86

2013 Pythagorean

98

64

74

66

84

Not surprisingly, in the NL East the Nationals are favored by most everyone except for Cameron, who picked Atlanta. Nobody expects anyone else in the division to break .500.

NL Central

ChC

Cin

Mil

Pit

StL

Chuck Johnson

65

80

81

91

93

Jim Mahoney

71

91

72

94

95

Cameron Nelson

66

86

78

90

105

Bob Owens

74

90

66

97

94

Kerry Whisnant

63

83

83

82

93

Average

67.8

86.0

76.0

90.8

96.0

Over/Under

69.5

84.0

79.5

83.5

91.5

Baseball Prospectus

73

81

80

79

88

2013

66

90

74

94

97

2013 Pythagorean

71

93

76

88

101

Everyone expects St. Louis to win the NL Central, except for Bob, who favored Pittsburgh. The Pirates, and in some cases the Reds, are expected to be the main competition for the Cardinals. The Cubbies are expected to trail the field, except for Bob, who has the Brew Crew in last.

NL West

Ari

Col

LAD

SDP

SFG

Chuck Johnson

75

74

95

84

82

Jim Mahoney

82

76

90

79

80

Cameron Nelson

88

77

99

70

80

Bob Owens

81

71

97

74

76

Kerry Whisnant

77

76

94

79

84

Average

80.6

74.8

95.0

77.2

80.4

Over/Under

78.5

76.0

95.0

78.0

85.5

Baseball Prospectus

78

77

99

82

87

2013

81

74

92

76

76

2013 Pythagorean

80

76

89

72

74

Everybody thinks the Dodgers will take the NL West, though by different margins. For the most part, Colorado and San Diego are not favored to compete.

In the NL, the favored wild card teams are Pittsburgh (3 votes), Atlanta and Cincinnati (2 votes each), or St. Louis, San Francisco, and Washington (1 vote each). Overall, we all agree that Washington, Los Angeles, and St. Louis will make the playoffs; Pittsburgh and Atlanta get the next most votes.

In the NL, we were most in agreement on the Rockies, as our picks differed by only 6 wins (last year we disagreed the most on Colorado). We disagreed most on Miami, with a spread of 22 games (!).

As a group we predicted the Braves to a whopping win 7.3 games more than the Vegas line, our most optimistic choice; St. Louis was next with an average prediction 4.5 games above the Vegas line. We were most pessimistic on the Giants, with an average of 5.1 games below the Vegas line, although Philadelphia and Miami were not far behind at 4.4 and 4.2 games under the Vegas line, respectively The Vegas line wins add up to 2445, 15 more than possible, which indicates that the betting public as a whole is too optimistic.

For the AL we have:

AL East

Bal

Bos

NYY

Tam

Tor

Chuck Johnson

78

90

84

91

76

Jim Mahoney

87

92

78

92

80

Cameron Nelson

89

94

82

92

66

Bob Owens

82

88

92

97

74

Kerry Whisnant

79

90

87

87

81

Average

83.0

90.8

84.6

91.8

75.4

Over/Under

81.0

87.5

86.0

88.5

80.0

Baseball Prospectus

78

88

83

91

82

2013

85

97

85

92

74

2013 Pythagorean

85

100

79

87

77

We are split on the AL East between Boston and Tampa Bay. Bob and I also think the Yankees will contend. None of us expect Toronto to win more than they lose.

AL Central

ChW

Cle

Det

KCR

Min

Chuck Johnson

66

85

92

90

64

Jim Mahoney

65

91

94

92

70

Cameron Nelson

70

83

94

93

61

Bob Owens

64

86

95

92

63

Kerry Whisnant

74

80

90

78

67

Average

67.8

85.0

93.0

89.0

65.0

Over/Under

75.5

81.5

90.0

82.5

70.5

Baseball Prospectus

76

78

86

78

72

2013

85

92

93

86

66

2013 Pythagorean

89

90

99

87

63

We are unanimous on the Tigers to win the AL Central. Kansas City and Cleveland are favored to provide the main competition for Detroit. The Twins are picked by all but Jim to finish last; he had them ahead of the White Sox.

AL West

Ana

Hou

Oak

Sea

Tex

Chuck Johnson

86

57

82

89

85

Jim Mahoney

81

55

93

76

92

Cameron Nelson

82

50

90

77

92

Bob Owens

94

53

71

78

91

Kerry Whisnant

90

66

88

80

84

Average

86.6

56.2

84.8

80.0

88.8

Over/Under

87.5

63.0

87.5

80.5

86.5

Baseball Prospectus

88

66

85

82

82

2013

78

51

96

71

90

2013 Pythagorean

81

57

96

67

92

Only Houston did not get a choice as division winner in the AL West; the Angels got two. Only Chuck sees Seattle as a close competitor, while most of us agree that Oakland and Texas will be in the mix

We were only unanimous on two teams making the playoffs in the AL – Detroit and Tampa Bay. Boston and Kansas City got 4 votes each, while Anaheim, New York, Oakland, Seattle and Texas also got consideration.

We were most in agreement on Detroit, as our picks differed by at most 5 games. We disagreed the most on Oakland, with a range of 22 games.

As a group we predicted the Royals to win 6.5 games more than the Vegas line, our most optimistic choice. We were most pessimistic on the White Sox, 7.7 games below the Vegas line, although Houston was a close second at 6.8 games below.

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 10 are included. Of course we’re only a week and a half into the season, so they don’t mean much yet.

AWD

RMSD

KerryWhisnant

3.33

4.34

Chuck Johnson

3.42

4.29

Over/Under

3.38

4.42

Baseball Prospectus

3.54

4.59

Average

3.67

4.57

81 Wins

3.79

5.02

Jim Mahoney

3.95

4.86

2013 Pythagorean

3.96

5.01

Cameron Nelson

3.97

4.91

Bob Owens

4.00

5.05

2013

4.04

4.99

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 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!

37 Responses to “Sixth Annual Dugout Central Challenge – MLB Win Predictions”

  1. KerryWhisnant Says:

    Sorry it took a while to get this up — we had a midterm exam and that took a lot of time.

    Please check your predictions to make sure they are correct. I may have typed something wrong in the article, my eyes started to glaze over after a while…

  2. Cameron Says:

    So Kerry, sorry for tanking the average vote. =P

  3. Raul Says:

    Any update at the midway point of the season?

  4. KerryWhisnant Says:

    I’ve been sending out a weekly update to participants. The standings as of Sunday:

    For the average win difference:

    Over/Under 4.35
    Kerry Whisnant 4.59
    Baseball Prospectus 5.01
    Chuck Johnson 5.89
    Average 5.93
    81 Wins 6.39
    Jim Mahoney 6.64
    2013 7.14
    2013 Pythagorean 7.20
    Cameron Nelson 7.46
    Bob Owens 7.82

    For the root-mean-square:

    Kerry Whisnant 5.74
    Over/Under 5.81
    Baseball Prospectus 6.37
    Chuck Johnson 7.28
    Average 7.41
    81 Wins 7.52
    Jim Mahoney 8.23
    2013 8.85
    2013 Pythagorean 8.87
    Cameron Nelson 9.60
    Bob Owens 9.62

  5. Raul Says:

    Kerry, how the hell are you performing so much better than the 2013 Pythagorean?

  6. Cameron Says:

    Screw that, what I wanna know is how someone fucked up worse than I did. I worked hard to tank those predictions, dammit!

  7. Bob Says:

    I worked harder!!!

  8. Bob Says:

    Lefty, will the Phillies waive Ryan Howard this off-season? Hearing mixed reports.

  9. KerryWhisnant Says:

    Raul: because I’m so good?

    Seriously, I don’t use last year’s Pythagorean records in my calculations. I actually look at the stats of the players on this year’s teams (a mix of PECOTA, 2013, and career), plus a schedule strength correction. Because teams change so much, using last year’s teams results would not be as representative.

  10. KerryWhisnant Says:

    I will say that beating the Over/Under is the real challenge. It’s always right near the top.

  11. KerryWhisnant Says:

    Cam and Bob: you guys have flip-flopped positions more than once already, so I’m sure it can happen again.

  12. Bob Says:

    A change in the rules. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/11267278/baseball-hall-fame-cuts-election-eligibility-10-years

  13. Bob Says:

    The Red Sox traded Jake Peavy for I believe 2 players to be named later.

  14. Jim Says:

    RS get Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree for Peavy, pitchers with guarded but potential upside but probably bullpen ML futures.

  15. Cameron Says:

    Not bad for the Giants I think. Low risk flier on a guy who can beat the best when he’s on his game. Praying for a bounceback.

  16. Raul Says:

    Let’s talk about how bad the David Wright contract is.

    He’s signed through 2020 and after this season he is owed 107 million dollars.

    Wright is OPSing .732 as I type this.

    For frame of reference, Denard Span is OPSing .738.

  17. Bob Says:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/11283213/minnesota-twins-add-brandon-poulson-undrafted-24-year-old-pitches-100-mph

  18. Raul Says:

    I still have a shot! @ Bob.

    I’m only 34, lol

  19. Bob Says:

    Go for it. Scouts who read this, remember the strong 1st baseman in Westchester county 16-18 years ago? Sign him now!!!

  20. Cameron Says:

    St. Louis acquires Justin Masterson to take some of the sting of losing Michael Wacha until September.

  21. Bob Says:

    Felix Doubront to the Cubs for a ptbnl. Wild guess Jacob Hannemann.

  22. Cameron Says:

    Rumor mill sounds like there’s talk of Lester to the O’s, but no definites yet. He was scratched from his last start, though…

  23. Bob Says:

    His latest start should be tonight. Though as Raul said, he was scratched.

  24. Raul Says:

    Lester to the Orioles?

    I didn’t think Boston would deal too much within the division…certainly not with a pitcher like Jon Lester.

    Wow.

  25. Cameron Says:

    The trading within the division mentality is loosening up a bit these days because sometimes the best deals are in division and you always want the best deal.

  26. Bob Says:

    Hearing Lester to the A’s. Can anyone verify?

  27. Bob Says:

    It is true. Lester and Gomes for Cespedes!!!

  28. Cameron Says:

    Yeah, confirmed on mlb.com

    …Is… Is Oakland gonna make the World Series this year?

  29. Raul Says:

    I’ll say Oakland does reach the World Series, based solely off the odds.
    They’ve been in the playoffs a lot over the last 15 years and they’ve got to get lucky and pull through eventually.

  30. Raul Says:

    I don’t like this trade though.

    I wanted Kemp to get moved since he’s on my fantasy team and Fenway would have boosted his value tremendously.

    Bob Saget.

  31. Bob Says:

    1. Sonny Gray
    2. Lester
    3. Samardzija

  32. Bob Says:

    Will Kemp go to Seattle in the off-season?

  33. Cameron Says:

    A’s keep busy. Send Tommy Millone to the Twins for Sam Fuld. I like the move, as Fuld is a solid defender there and losing Cespedes really hurt their outfield depth.

  34. Cameron Says:

    St. Louis trades for more pitching. Send Joe Kelly and Allen Craig to Boston for John Lackey.

  35. Cameron Says:

    And I’m guessing Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley are destined for either the bench or Pawtucket after today.

  36. Bob Says:

    In the past 10 days Boston has traded 4 pitchers from last years team.

    1. Peavy
    2. Lester
    3. Lackey
    4. Doubront
    5.

  37. Cameron Says:

    And their new rotation is…

    1 Clay Buccholz
    2 Rubby De La Rosa
    3 Allen Webster
    4 Brandon Workman
    5 Joe Kelly

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