Division by Division Recaps (2008 Season's End)

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Division by Division Recaps (2008 Season's End)

Before the season began I previewed each division. I discussed the major additions and key loses teams had suffered as well as giving my prediction of how teams would finish. I took a look at things at the mid-way point in the season, and came away quite pleased.

In similar fashion, I will also score my predictions utilizing the following formula:

  • 1pt: Accurate prediction
  • 2pts: Off by one place in the division.
  • 3pts: Off by two places in the division.
  • 4pts...

Whether I was over or under in my prediction will make no difference in this formula. It will be interesting to note if there are any division or league deviations. That is, whether or not I predict with the same accuracy from division to division and league to league.

In addition, I am going to include the PECOTA standings projection. However, I will not do an accuracy score for the PECOTA projections. Instead, I will simply compare accuracy.

AL East

I believe I am the only person to have picked the Rays to make the playoffs, let alone to win the division. If there is someone else around, I will share my crown as 'smrtest person ever' (intentional typ-o).

Pre Season Predictions:
Tampa
Toronto (*wildcard)
New York
Boston
Baltimore

PECOTA Projected Standings:
New York
Boston
Tampa Bay
Toronto
Baltimore

Actual Standings:
Tampa (1)
Boston (3)
New York (1)
Toronto (3)
Baltimore (1)

3 of 5 correct. I simply flipped Toronto and Boston. I'd say 3 of 5 is pretty impressive. At the midpoint in the season, I had a score of 13. I finished at 9 here.

PECOTA matched me in accurately projecting the finishing places of 3 teams.

AL Central

The Central was an interesting division. Injuries truly affected how the division should have played out. That is, the Indians had terrible luck, losing Martinez, Hafner, and Carmona to major injuries, while the Twins had everything work out to perfection, managing to not suffer a major injury (Pat Neshek withstanding).

Pre Season Predictions:
Cleveland
Chicago
Detroit
Kansas City
Minnesota

PECOTA Projected Standings:
Cleveland
Detroit
Chicago
Minnesota
Kansas City

Actual Standings:
Chicago (2)
Minnesota (4)
Cleveland (3)
Kansas City (1)
Detroit (3)

Only got 1 of 5 correct here. I must be given credit for having Detroit way out of the money, something hardly anyone agreed with. Also, Minnesota was my 'surprise team of the year'. Who picked KC to not finish last? Nobody!

I scored 13 at season's end here, the same as where things stood in June.

PECOTA did not accurately predict a single team in the Central, further displaying what a crazy season it was in this division.

AL West

If someone would have told me that Erik Bedard and JJ Putz were going to have zero impact on the Mariners this season, I probably drop them down a spot or two. Had I known Hamilton and Bradley were going to be two of the American League's best hitters, the Rangers would get bumped up.

AL West Predictions:
Seattle
LA Angels
Oakland
Texas

PECOTA Projected Standings:
LA Angels
Oakland
Seattle
Texas

Actual Standings:
LA Angels (2)
Texas (3)
Oakland (1)
Seattle (4)

I accurately predicted 1 of 4, as did PECOTA. The major difference, PECOTA did it at the top, I did it at the bottom.

My division score was again identical, sitting at 10 points. As I mentioned, Seattle was a big whiff for me here and is a team I can see rebounding in 2009 (health permitted).


So here I predicted 5 of 14 positions to be correct. Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA nailed 4 of 14. I imagine one would be hard pressed to find a prediction that nailed 5 of 14 spots in the standings.

To the National League...

NL East

It's tough predicting a division where you have so many pre-conceived ideas of teams. A division where you dislike so many teams that you have a tough time placing biases aside and actually getting to the bottom of things. The NL East is that division for me. And while I didn't run away with this division, I certainly did better then Mr. Rosenthal, whom picked the Braves to go all the way!

NL East Predictions:
Philadelphia
Atlanta
New York
Washington
Florida

PECOTA Projected Standings:
New York
Atlanta
Philadelphia
Washington
Florida

Actual NL East Standings:
Philadelphia (1)
New York (2)
Florida (3)
Atlanta (3)
Washington (2)

Again, 1 of 5. Very few had Philly winning the division again and most claimed the Mets were the class of the National League. I scored 11 points here, the same score I had in June. The big surprise, something that I still cannot understand, the performance of the Florida Marlins. I'm still waiting for Jeff Francoeur's season to start.

This division saw me score 11 points for both today and in June.

PECOTA whiffed altogether on this division. They, like everyone else, picked the Mets to win the division.

NL Central

I took a great deal of heat when making my NL Central picks. I felt this was a year that the Cubs simply could not stay healthy. What I failed to acknowledge was how good of a ballplayer Mark DeRosa was!

NL Central Predictions:
St. Louis
Milwaukee
Chicago
Cincinnati
Houston
Pittsburgh

PECOTA Projected Standings:
Chicago
Milwaukee
Cincinnati
St. Louis
Houston
Pittsburgh

Actual NL Central Standings:
Chicago (3)
Milwaukee (1)
St. Louis (3)
Houston (2)
Cincinnati (2)
Pittsburgh (1)

2 of 6. Pretty much everyone had St. Louis finishing waaay down in the division without a prayer to make the playoffs. This team was in it up until the last couple weeks of the season. But the Cubs pick is alright. Where would this team have been without Ryan Dempster being lights out? You think they still pick up Rich Harden? Had I known either of these variables would have occurred, chances are I'm picking the Cubs to win this division.

I tossed up a 12 here, 2 points less then I scored in June. A nice turn around.

PECOTA was on fire with that division nailing 3 of 6. Incredible accuracy.

NL West

I was very high on the Dodgers entering this season. Had I known they would land Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake for some minor league prospects, I probably would have bumped them up a slot. So too would have PECOTA I imagine.

NL West Predictions:
Arizona
Los Angeles (*wildcard)
San Diego
Colorado
San Francisco

PECOTA Projected Standings:
Arizona
Los Angeles
Colorado
San Diego
San Francisco

Actual NL West Standings:
Los Angeles (2)
Arizona (2)
Colorado (2)
San Francisco (2)
San Diego (3)

0fer. This is evidence of how impossible it is to accurately predict specific standings. I mean, I have the same bottom three in the division, claiming that none had a shot, I was right. My division score landed at 11 here, 3 points higher then my June predictions.

PECOTA only had the Dodgers losing out to the Diamondbacks by a marginal amount, but they made a great call in dropping the Padres out of the playoffs. I didn't see the playoffs, but I at least thought this club could be competitive.


Overall, I accurately projected 8 teams. PECOTA, also 8. In terms of playoff teams, I picked 3 of 8 correctly. PECOTA was fairly accurate dependent on their wild cards.

League Comparison:
American League - 32 (-4)
National League - 34 (+1)

Overall, I made some strides from the midway point. Where I took a marginal step back in the National League, I made up the equivalent of 4 spots in the standings. My final line sits at 66 compared to 69 in June.

For curiosity sake, let's quickly tally PECOTA's score:
AL East - 9
AL Central - 15
AL West - 8

NL East - 13
NL Central - 10
NL West - 9

American League - 32
National League - 32

PECOTA's projections were surprisingly consistent. In both cases they posted identical scores surpassing my projections by 2 points.


Overall, I have to say I am rather happy with how my predictions compare to that of PECOTA's. While the PECOTA system is predominantly computer based, mine is also based on emotions-which could explain the rankings of Boston, Toronto, Seattle, and Washington. Either way, I hope the 'accuracy' of my predictions will encourage readers to check out my work for seasons to come. It will also be interesting to see how, if at all, I manage to improve on a season by season basis.

Enjoy the playoffs!

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