At the beginning of the season, I took a stab at predicting the final major league standings as well as the winners of the major awards. So, without further ado, just how well did those “educated” guesses turn out?
Listed below are my predicted standings taken from the link above. Also added to the chart is a differential column displaying how far the forecast was from the actual result.
|AL East||Diff||NL East||Diff|
|AL Central||NL Central|
|AL West||NL West|
In the American League, all four of the playoff teams were correctly predicted, although I had the Yankees winning the division instead of the wild card. Furthermore, eight of the 14 teams were pegged within four games of the actual total, while nine were correctly placed in the standings. There were big misses, however. The Mariners underperformed my prediction by a whopping 19 games, while the Orioles and Blue Jays each deviated from the forecast by double digits, albeit in different directions. Who knows, if Buck had been hired a couple of weeks early, I might not have been so far off the mark.
In the National League, I wasn’t as prescient, this time only predicting two playoff teams, although not in the correct order. The Phillies late surge upset what otherwise might have been a dead-on forecast for the NL East, but nothing could have saved my blurry view of the NL West. In that division, the forecast was off by double digits for three teams, including a 20 game under estimation for the champion San Francisco Giants. In the Central, I had the Reds properly highlighted as a team poised for improvement, but Dusty Baker got his team to do even better than I had predicted. At the bottom of the division, the Pirates grossly underperformed an already low expectation, while the Astros proved to be much better than the league worst team I had forecast.
So, how well did I really do? It wasn’t the original point of this exercise, but as things turned out, pretty darn good. In fact, I came out ahead of an entire selection of experts (for the original data, click here, and for the calculations, click here), based on average absolute value for each predicted total. Below is a ranking based on that criteria, as well as a look at how many individual predictions were either “dead on”, “near misses” or “off the mark”.
Captain’s Blog vs. the Experts
|Website||Name||Avg. Difference||Dead On||Near Misses||Off the Mark|
Dead On refers to exact predictions, or where a simulator was done, those with an absolute value rounding to 0.
Near Misses refer to prediction within five games of the actual total.
Off the mark refers to prediction 10 games or more from the actual total.
Ok, fine, I didn’t say my predictions were head and shoulders above the experts. In particular, ESPN’s Keith Law’s predictions came with a small percentage of my average, while also tying Yahoo!’s Tim Brown for the fewest forecasts that were off the mark. Fellow ESPN analyst Rob Neyer did not perform as well on average, but his 18 near misses tied my total for most among the experts.
Most of the forecasts bringing up the rear were generated by projections systems like CAIRO, PECOTA, CHONE and ZIPS. The most unimpressive predictions from a human came from Yahoo!’s Jeff Pasan, who missed by an average of eight games per forecast and had 10 guesses miss by a wide mark.
Despite missing two playoff teams in the NL, both of my LCS matchups are still in play, so there is still hope for the Yankees vs. Braves rematch that I predicted. My CY Young predictions of Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez also look very good, but those weren’t exactly long shots to begin with. My MVP choices of Alex Rodriguez and Chase Utley were also chalk selections, but injuries derailed both players. Finally, my NL ROY selection of Jayson Heyward seems like a good bet, but my wildly optimistic expectations for Scott Sizemore now seem somewhat silly.