NJIT mathematician releases 2014 Major League Baseball projections

Mar 27, 2014

As Opening Day rapidly approaches for most Major League Baseball teams, NJIT Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences Bruce Bukiet has prepared his annual MLB projections for the upcoming season. And, to the chagrin of loyal Mets fan Bukiet, New York's National League club looks to be in store for a disappointing year. Bukiet, who developed a mathematical model for calculating expected MLB win totals that was published in Operations Research, forecasts a mere 68 wins and a last-place finish for the Metropolitans.

Bukiet's model can be used to project the number of games a team should be expected to win, the optimal batting order for a set of 9 batters, and how trading players will likely influence a team's number of wins. "This all began when I, because I am not very big or powerful, set out to prove that a singles hitter who gets on base frequently would contribute more to winning than a slugger who strikes out a lot," Bukiet recalls. "What I found was the opposite—the slugger will generate more wins."

For the 2014 season, Bukiet's model pegs Boston, Detroit, and Oakland as American League Division winners, with Anaheim and Seattle narrowly edging Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees in the AL Wildcard chase. In the National League, the numbers say St. Louis, Washington, and Los Angeles will take the top spots in their respective divisions. San Francisco and Atlanta are predicted to fill the Wildcard slots.

"There are some unknowns that the model can't incorporate in projecting team win totals before the season, such as rookie performance and trades that have not yet occurred, but, sadly for my Mets, the forecasts have been very accurate," Bukiet noted. In fact, Bukiet's preseason expectations for the Mets have been within 3 games of the win total attained by the team in 9 of the last 10 seasons.

Of his annual projections, Bukiet said, "I publish these to promote the power and relevance of math. Applying mathematical models to things that people care about or enjoy, like baseball, shows that math can be fun as well as very useful."

A listing of Bukiet's 2014 expected win totals for each MLB team can be found below, and his daily projections are posted at http://www.egrandslam.com.

National League

Washington 94
St. Louis 95
Los Angeles 95
Atlanta 90
Milwaukee 86
San Francisco 88
Philadelphia 79
Cincinnati 82
Arizona 83
Miami 69
Pittsburgh 76
San Diego 82
New York Mets 68
Chicago Cubs 57
Colorado 67

American League


Boston 96
Detroit 99
Oakland 93
Tampa Bay 86
Kansas City 82
Anaheim 87
New York Yankees 86
Cleveland 80
Seattle 87
Toronto 82
Chicago White Sox 65
Texas 85
Baltimore 73
Minnesota 63
Houston 55

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