Baseball’s Best Teams of 2015 - Pacific Standard

Baseball’s Best Teams of 2015

A mathematical model says the Washington Nationals will win the most games in Major League Baseball this season.
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Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs. (Photo: Nagel Photography/Shutterstock)

Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs. (Photo: Nagel Photography/Shutterstock)

In the world of baseball, 2014 was a good year for the Bs: Bumgarner and Bukiet.

Madison Bumgarner is, of course, the San Francisco Giants pitcher who performed so brilliantly in the World Series. Bruce Bukiet is the New Jersey Institute of Technology mathematician who uses a sophisticated mathematical model to predict which team will win the most games each season.

For 2014, he whiffed a bit with the American League, correctly predicting only one division winner (the Tigers). But Bukiet correctly predicted the winners of all three National League divisions. All in all, seven of the 10 teams he predicted would make it to the playoffs did so.

Remember, this was all based on mathematical modeling (explained here), not baseball expertise, and by design it could not take into account important factors such as trades or injuries. Given all that, a .700 average is pretty damn impressive.

So what’s his outlook for the 2015 season, which begins Sunday night with a game between the Cardinals and Cubs?

For one thing, he sees two very close races in the West. In the AL West, he predicts the Seattle Mariners will win 90 games, just one more than the Angels and three more than the Oakland As. In the NL West, he sees the Los Angeles Dodgers winning 93 games, with the 2014 World Champion Giants just behind them at 91 games. It should be a fantastic year for that great rivalry.

Other divisions will not be as competitive. In the NL East, for instance, he sees the Washington Nationals easily coming out on top, with 99 wins (the best record in the majors), well ahead of the second-place Mets with 88. In the AL East, he predicts the Toronto Blue Jays will take the title with 85 wins, with the Yankees coming in second with 80, and the Red Sox and Rays right behind them with 79 wins apiece.

In the NL Central, he predicts the Cardinals will come out on top, as they tend to do, with 92 wins. And defying the experts at Sports Illustrated, who pick the Cleveland Indians to win the AL Central, he predicts the Detroit Tigers will again easily take the division title, with 94 wins. The Indians come in second with 83.

Bukiet does believe the Indians will make it to the playoffs as a wild-card team, as will the Angels, Giants, and Mets. That should suit fans of those teams just fine, given that last year’s World Series featured two wild-card teams (the Giants and Kansas City Royals).

Play ball!

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