The baseball season has ended, so it’s time to look back at how badly my pre-season predictions went. Making guesses about the future is hard: I got 3 out of the 4 AL playoff teams correct (though I had the Sox with the AL East title and the Yanks as the Wild Card team), but only 1 of the 4 NL playoff teams.
What things mean:
Predicted: The number of wins I thought a team would win
Actual: The number of wins a team won
Pythagorean: A team’s predicted win total based on their runs scored and runs allowed.
Advanced: A teams’ predicted win total based on tERA, wOBA, and defensive metrics (from the Beyond The Box Score power rankings).
Derek Jeter’s career is still alive and well (7.4 WAR), and he was obviously surrounded by All-Stars. The Rays had a somewhat disappointing season, but that had more to do with expectations (mine, at least) after their 97 win campaign last year – remember, this was only their second winning season ever. The Jays should have traded Roy Halladay and they’ve recently fired their GM.
I picked Cleveland to win the Central last year too. Grady Sizemore’s hurt and Fausto Carmona hasn’t bounced back, and they had another disappointing season. I think I might be done with them for the foreseeable future. Detroit got a great year from Justin Verlander (8.2 WAR) and a good one from Edwin Jackson (3.4 WAR). The Twins countered with Joe Mauer (8.1 WAR). The Pale Hose put together a bunch of OK players on offense with a solid pitching staff lead by a quietly good year from Gavin Floyd (4.6 WAR). The Royals got an amazing season from Zack Greinke (9.3 WAR) and still sucked.
From now on I may just add 5-10 to whatever I think the Angels will do, because they also beat my expectations. The Rangers went from having the worst defenses in baseball last year (-51.7 UZR) to one of the best this year (+38 UZR). That’s almost a 10 win swing.
The Mets were ravaged by injuries and had no depth to back them up. Florida got a breakout season from Josh Johnson (5.3 WAR), while Hanley was his usual awesome self (7.5 WAR) and won a batting title to boot. Ryan Zimmerman had a great year in Washington (7.2 WAR), but the Nat’s couldn’t back him up with any pitching.
The Cubs were hurt by Alfonso Soriano’s awful season (-0.9 WAR), while St. Louis has the best player in baseball and two of the best pitchers (Carpenter & Wainwright).
The Dodgers had a great season all around, while the Giants and the Rockies both got some terrific pitching performances (especially the latter). The D’Backs resorted to signing Daniel Cabrera, if that tells you something about their season.
I’m way off on some teams – most notably Cleveland, the Mets, and Colorado - and have an average difference between my predictions and the actual win totals of 8.4 games (with 6 teams within 2 games). I’m off the Pythagorean totals by an average of 8.1 games (5 teams within 1 game), and the advanced totals by an average of 7.7 games (6 teams within 1 game). The roots mean square error for the straight actual win totals is 10.18 which, according to Vegas Watch, that would rank in the middle of the pack this year (11th out of 15). I was ahead of the ZiPS and PECOTA projection systems (PECOTA actually came in last this year), as well as Keith Law and Jeff Passan.
Vegas Watch also had a contest in which participants selected the over/under for 10 teams with varying degrees of confidence attached. My picks;
10 – LAD O 82.5 (correct)
9 – CHW U 79.5 (correct)
8 – TOR U 80.5 (correct)
7 – LAA U 89.5 (incorrect)
6 – TBR O 87.5 (incorrect)
5 – NYY U 97.5 (incorrect)
4 – SEA O 72.5 (correct)
3 – BAL O 73.5 (incorrect)
2 – MIL O 80.5 (incorrect)
1 – PIT U 69.5 (correct)
finished 68th out of 300. Not bad, but I don’t think I’m much better than just guessing in most instances.