Both the Yankees and the Mets will have the best records in their leagues this season, according to Bruce Bukiet, Ph.D., an associate professor of mathematical sciences at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) who uses a computerized mathematical modeling method to predict games.
“Over the last two years the Mets, with some new players, improved from 71 wins in 2004 to 83 wins in 2005. And with the additions this season of Paul LoDuca at catcher and Carlos Delgado at first base, the Mets offense has improved while relievers Billy Wagner and Chad Bradford will help them win close games in late innings and increase their wins to 94. The Yanks have averaged 100 wins a season over the past four years and with the addition of Johnny Damon it looks like they should do it again.”
Bukiet uses his Markov-chain method to determine optimal batting orders, compute run distributions and predict total victories. His annually issued predictions have been competitive over the years with those issued by baseball experts. His model predicts the probability of each team winning each game, taking into account the team’s rosters and schedules.
It is the eighth time that Bukiet, an avid Mets fan, has run a mathematical model to predict an entire season. “My biggest assumption is that a player’s performance can be gauged by how he has performed during the last three seasons. But, of course, I cannot predict injuries or trades that affect a team’s play during a season."
In the National League (NL), according to his model, the Atlanta Brave’s domination of the Eastern Division should end, with the Mets leading the division with 94 wins. The Central and Western Divisions should have close races, with the Cubs edging out the Cardinals in the Central and the Giants edging out the Dodgers. One big question mark is Barry Bonds. If Bonds doesn’t play, because of accusations of steroid use, the Giants should place third in the West. Even if Bonds plays, he may not perform at a high level. As a compromise Bukiet assumed that Bonds will play at a high level for half the season. Also, the Cardinals have a slight advantage for the National League Wild Card, although it is too close to call, with the Phils and Dodgers also being candidates for the postseason.
In the American League (AL), the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox powerhouses should again dominate, winning 102 and 99 games respectively. They should win the East and the wild card, says Bukiet. He predicts that in the AL Central division the Minnesota Twins will prevail with 89 wins and the Oakland A’s should win the West with 88 wins.
“It is interesting that the New York teams should have the best record in each league, while the Florida teams should perform the worst in each league, with the Marlins and Devil Rays both expected to win just 59 games and lose 103,” says Bukiet. The model also predicts that neither World Series team from 2005 -- the Astros and the White Sox -- should even make it to the post-season. Please click here for Bukiet's predictions for the 2006 season.