Fourth Annual Dugout Central Challenge
Who are the best teams? Who are the worst teams? And just how good or bad are they? Dugout Central writers and readers 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 wild card teams 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 in 2012, one using the average win difference (AWD) and the other using root mean square difference (RMSD) between the predictions and the actual win totals at the end of the regular season, including any tie-breaker games.
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.
John Bowen and Chuck Johnson tied for the AWD title in last year’s Third Annual Dugout Central Challenge, while Patrick Greco and I tied for third. In the RMSD version of the Challenge, Chuck was first and I nipped John for second place.
If the number of entrants gets too large, I may cap the number of entries at some point, but I don’t anticipate that happening. Entries must be submitted by 6 PM CDT, Wednesday, April 4, 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. [You can wait for the results of the two opening games in Japan, if that will help at all.]
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!