Baseball's Best Teams Are ... - Pacific Standard

Baseball's Best Teams Are ...

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On paper, there are many quality suitors for Major League Baseball's top prize, but two teams have no chance at reaching the 2008 playoffs, let alone the World Series, according to one mathematician and baseball fanatic.

Bruce Bukiet, a New Jersey Institute of Technology math professor, has released his annual Major League Baseball predictions based on a copyrighted mathematical model he developed in 2000.

The model computes the probability of a team winning a game against another team, accounting for a team's hitters, bench players, starting pitchers, relievers and home-field advantage. The professor posts his daily projections on his gambling analysis Web site, helping bettors determine whether it's worthwhile to wager on particular games throughout the baseball season. He boasts that his system has produced positive results in five of the last seven seasons.

Bukiet entered the 2008 schedule into his model and determined the following divisional results in the American League: The Los Angeles Angels will the West by 14 games, the Detroit Tigers will finish with a nine-game lead in the Central, and the East will boast a tie between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox with matching 98-64 records.

The professor predicts a wild October for the National League. He has the top five teams in the Central finishing within five games of each other and the top four teams in the West finishing within three games of each other.

"The National League should see much tighter races with the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves winning the East and the wild card, respectively, while in the Central and West Divisions, only the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants have no real shot of making the post-season," Bukiet was quoted in a release from the school.

Of course, his results made a similar prediction last year concerning the Colorado Rockies. The 2007 model had Colorado finishing dead last in the NL West with a record of 69-93. In reality, the Rockies defied mathematics by posting a 90-73 record, claiming the NL wild card and advancing to the World Series.

"These results give a guide of how teams ought to perform during the season, but there are so many unknowns — especially concerning trades, injuries and how rookies will perform — that cannot be taken into account," Bukiet added.

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