Friday, February 13, 2009

The rites of spring

Baseball season is upon us, almost. The White Sox report for spring training Sunday and the World Baseball Classic will take away the boredom of exhibition games, beginning March 5.

While I am excited for the defending AL Central champs to begin another campaign, I found this story in today's Chicago Tribune about a statistical prediction for the upcoming season. Using a complicated formula taking into account players' potential performance, the author estimated the White Sox's 2009 record to be 74-88, third worst in the American League.

Math formulas and predictions, along with $2, will buy me a venti regular coffee at Starbucks, so I guess all it's really good for is to stir debate. I prefer to think about the post-season run the Sox went on last year. Including scenes like this -- the final out of the AL Central tie-breaker game. It was a 1-0 win over the Twins. Jim Thome accounted for the only run. Another view is here.

Are the Sox the best team in the AL this year, probably not. But they will not finish with the third-worst record as the Baseball Prospectus expects. I think this team has the potential to be very good, but they are going to be slugging it out with the Twins, Indians and Tigers. It's also hard to stomach the Royals having a better record than the Sox as the book suggests.

Incidentally, my wife's beloved Red Sox are picked to win 98 games. I find that hard to believe as well, because their starting pitching is aging and has an injury history, as this ESPN.com article suggests.

As I said, we're just trying to stir some debate.

1 comment:

T.J. said...

PECOTA is a pretty well-established modeling system. BP nailed the playoffs, and Nate Silver had the election predicted very accurately.