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Professor Predicts Baseball's Best Teams for 2010

The Yankees look to be the dominant team in baseball for 2010, according to a New Jersey Institute of Technology mathematician (and Mets fan).
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The Yankees lost Sunday night’s season-opening game to the Red Sox, but Bronx baseball fans can nevertheless look forward to a very satisfying season. At least, that’s the projection of New Jersey Institute of Technology mathematician Bruce Bukiet, who has used his number-crunching abilities to predict MLB division winners for the past decade.

Bukiet’s revised predictions for the 2010 season, posted on his Web site just before opening day, suggest the Yankees, winner of last season’s World Series, will again dominate the sport. According to his calculations (prepared with Kevin Fritz and Jack Rabner), the men in pinstripes will post 104 wins and 58 losses — a far better record than any other team.

As always, Bukiet — an associate professor of mathematical sciences and associate dean of the College of Science and Liberal Arts — insists he posts his predictions “to promote the power and relevance of math.” His record is reasonably impressive: For 2009, he correctly predicted the winners of four of the six divisions.

He predicts the Tampa Bay Rays will be the second-most successful team in the American League, with a record of 94-68. Close behind in an impressive AL East will be the Boston Red Sox with a record of 92-70; they will likely compete with the Rays for the Wild Card playoff slot.

The Minnesota Twins will celebrate the opening of their new stadium by easily winning with AL Central, with a record of 93-69. (The runner-up White Sox will be 85-77.) The AL West looks to be uniformly mediocre, with the Texas Rangers coming out on top in spite of a just-over-.500 record of 82-80.

The strongest teams in the National League look to be the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies (last year’s league champion). The Phillies are predicted to win the NL East with a record of 91-71, although the resurgent Atlanta Braves should be close behind at 89-73. The Mets, Bukiet’s team, are projected to come in at .500 (81-81).

The Cardinals should easily win the NL Central, with 92 wins. The Chicago Cubs’ chances of breaking their century-old curse appear slim: Bukiet projects they’ll end up in second place, with a record of 86-76. The Cubbies should be in contention for Wild Card status, along with Arizona and Atlanta.

In the NL West, the Dodgers are poised to come out on top with a record of 89-73. But keep in mind that Bukiet’s projections (he explains his model here) do not take into account such intangibles as the stress of playing for a team whose owners are engaging in a messy divorce.