Third Annual Dugout Central Challenge
Who are the best teams? Who are the worst teams? And just how good or bad are they? Members of the Dugout Central staff are again challenged to predict the number of wins in the regular season for each of the thirty major league baseball teams in the Third Annual Dugout Central Challenge.
It requires an in-depth knowledge of all thirty teams to accurately predict the number of wins for every team – a lot more than for picking division winners and a wild card team for each league. Relative strengths within the division, within the league and between leagues also come into play. Strength of schedule is another factor. And key injuries can upset even the best predictions.
Same as last year, there will be two contests this year, one using the average win difference (AWD) and the other using root mean square difference (RMSD) between the predictions and the actual win totals on September 28 — or later if there are make-up games played after that.
For example, if you predict that the Yankees will win 98 and the Red Sox 94, but it turns out to be 93 and 96, respectively, you are off by a total of 7 games for those two teams (5 for New York and 2 for Boston), and the AWD is 3.50. The RMSD would be the square root of (25 + 4)/2 = 14.5, or about 3.81. The average win dfference does not penalize picks that are far off the mark as much as RMSD does.
Any unplayed games will be assigned wins according to the team’s winning percentage. For example, a team is 96-64 and doesn’t make up two games. They have a winning percentage of .600, and so those two make-up games will be worth 1.2 wins, for a total of 97.2. Tie-break games will count — the final winning percentage will be prorated to 162 games. Hence, in 2009 the Twins (87-76) were rated at 86.47 wins and the Tigers (86-77) at 85.47 wins.
Last year Patrick Greco and I tied to win the Second Annual Dugout Central Challenge using average win difference, beating out numerous computer picks, Keith Law and even the Vegas Over/Under line, in addition to other Dugout Central entries. I won the RMSD title going away for the second year in a row.
Last year the contest was opened up to readers as well Dugout Central staff, and this year we will do it again. If the number of entrants gets too large, I will cap the number of reader entries at ten, but I don’t anticipate that happening. Entries must be submitted by noon CDT, Thursday, March 31, to . Once you submit an entry, you may change it before the deadline if there is a significant injury or roster change that affects your prediction — or even if you just have second thoughts.
This will not be an empty exercise, to be forgotten once the season starts. Updates will be provided periodically throughout the year using winning percentages, and contest entrants will be held accountable at the end of the season. So there’s nowhere to hide, and may the best prognosticator win!