The 2013 Major League Baseball season promises to be close and exciting, with highly competitive races in five out of the six divisions. That’s the prediction of mathematician Bruce Bukiet, who uses a complex formula to project how many regular-season games each team will win.
An associate dean at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Bukiet has done quite well with his predictions over the past decade (although last year, he largely whiffed).
For this season, he predicts only one blowout race: The American League Central Division will be dominated by the Detroit Tigers. He predicts last year’s AL championship team will have the best record in baseball, with 102 wins; they’ll finish 21 games ahead of their nearest challenger, the Chicago White Sox.
While the Tigers will be cruising to a title, a lot of other good teams will be battling it out in their respective divisions. In the American League East, Bukiet projects three teams—the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Tampa Bay Rays—will end the season tied for first, with 87 wins apiece. He also projects a tie in the AL West, with the Anaheim Angels and Oakland Athletics both ending up with 92 wins.
All of the National League races look tight. In the Eastern Division, Bukiet projects the Atlanta Braves as the champion with 94 wins, but the Washington Nationals will be just behind them, with 93 wins. Similarly, in the NL West, he projects the free-spending Los Angeles Dodgers will come out on top with 88 wins, just ahead of the defending world champion San Francisco Giants, who will win 87 games.
He predicts the St. Louis Cardinals will win the NL Central Division with 93 victories, but the Cincinnati Reds will be close behind, with 90 wins.
On the other end of the scale, Bukiet projects the Houston Astros—who are moving from the National to the American League—will have the worst record in baseball: 56 wins and 106 losses. Houston fans, we have a problem.