Dugout Central Challenge Updated Update

by KerryWhisnant

Before the season began, Dugout Central staff and readers were challenged to predict win totals for all thirty MLB teams. A total of five entries were received. For details about the contest rules. [Author note: I misplaced John Bowen's and forgot to include him in the original article, as John very politely pointed out to me. He has now been added, although he may wish that he'd left well enough alone.]

Here are the predictions, by division, in alphabetical order. The Over/Under win totals from the Las Vegas Hilton are also shown.

NL East Atl Mia NYM Phi Was
John Bowen 86 81 70 95 88
Jon Ellis (Seven) 90 80 79 95 86
Patrick Greco 84 90 72 92 82
Chuck Johnson 85 88 65 92 82
Bob Owens 84 89 76 86 92
Kerry Whisnant 88 83 75 89 81
Average 86.2 86.0 73.4 90.8 84.6
Over/Under 86.2 85.2 72.8 91.5 85.2

In the NL East the Phillies are favored by everyone except for Bob, who chose Washington. The Mets are expected to be mediocre to bad by everyone.

NL Central ChC Cin Hou Mil Pit StL
John Bowen 66 86 55 87 73 92
Jon Ellis (Seven) 70 85 69 85 67 85
Patrick Greco 77 83 63 84 75 83
Chuck Johnson 70 89 55 86 82 83
Bob Owens 70 84 60 86 77 87
Kerry Whisnant 72 85 63 86 72 88
Average 70.8 85.3 60.8 85.7 74.3 86.3
Over/Under 73.5 88.0 62.5 86.5 74.5 84.5

We have the NL Central as a three-horse race, with St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee all getting first-place votes. Houston is expected to trail the field, although by varying degrees.

NL West Ari Col LAD SDP SFG
John Bowen 89 87 75 71 83
Jon Ellis (Seven) 85 72 83 69 87
Patrick Greco 78 81 83 73 84
Chuck Johnson 84 80 90 75 86
Bob Owens 84 79 85 74 80
Kerry Whisnant 87 86 78 77 88
Average 84.5 80.8 82.3 73.2 84.7
Over/Under 86.0 81.5 81.0 73.5 88.0

The Giants got three first-place votes, the Dodgers two and the Dbacks one. San Diego is the clear favorite to claim the cellar. John and I are the only ones to have the Dodgers under .500 and the Rockies over .500 (which at the moment is not looking so good).

Wild card votes were all over the map, with Arizona, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Colorado, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and St. Louis all getting a vote or part of a vote — there were some wild card ties, and the contestants were not asked explicitly to choose a wild card team.

Jon Ellis had the most extreme NL picks, predicting the Rockies to win only 72 games, both 7 games below any other prediction. We were mostly in agreement on the Brewers, as our picks differed by at most 3 games for Milwaukee.

As a group we predicted the Cardinals to win 1.8 games more than the Vegas line, our most optimistic choice. (Note that the Vegas line averaged 81.7 wins, so apparently bettors in general are slightly optimistic.] We were most pessimistic on the Giants, 3.3 games below the Vegas line. Overall, our average predictions were fairly close to the Over/Under number.

For the AL we have:

AL East Bal Bos NYY Tam Tor
John Bowen 66 91 99 88 84
Jon Ellis (Seven) 68 86 90 94 83
Patrick Greco 74 87 96 93 85
Chuck Johnson 64 85 95 93 86
Bob Owens 70 87 90 95 80
Kerry Whisnant 69 88 94 87 82
Average 68.5 87.3 94.0 91.7 83.3
Over/Under 69.0 88.5 93.0 88.0 83.0

We favor the Yankees and Rays to win the AL East. The Orioles are expected to be mediocre to bad by everyone.

AL Central ChW Cle Det KCR Min
John Bowen 75 76 96 77 75
Jon Ellis (Seven) 79 72 95 74 78
Patrick Greco 71 76 95 79 71
Chuck Johnson 65 80 99 82 69
Bob Owens 70 78 95 81 68
Kerry Whisnant 80 82 90 69 69
Average 73.3 77.3 95.0 77.0 71.7
Over/Under 75.0 78.5 93.0 79.0 73.5

We are unanimous on the Tigers to win the AL Central, the only division where we all agree on a division winner. As a testament to the weakness of this division, the White Sox, Indians, Royals, and Twins all got votes to finish in last or tie for last.

AL West Ana Oak Sea Tex
John Bowen 96 65 60 98
Jon Ellis (Seven) 96 67 66 95
Patrick Greco 95 66 67 91
Chuck Johnson 93 62 70 95
Bob Owens 90 63 77 93
Kerry Whisnant 92 72 67 91
Average 93.7 65.8 67.8 93.8
Over/Under 93.0 71.5 72.0 92.0

As might be expected, the Angels and Rangers were our choices for division winner, and the A’s and Mariners are predicted to trail by a wide margin in the AL West.

We were almost unanimous on which five teams will make the playoffs in the AL – Anaheim, Detroit, New York, Tampa Bay, and Texas. John and I were the only exceptions, predicting the Red Sox to beat out the Rays for the second wild card spot.

Bob Owens had the most extreme AL picks, predicting the Mariners to win 77 games, both 7 games above any other prediction. We were mostly in agreement on Anaheim, Boston, and Toronto, as our picks differed by at most 6 games.

As a group we predicted the Rays to win 3.7 games more than the Vegas line, our most optimistic choice. We were most pessimistic on the A’s, 5.7 games below the Vegas line. Overall, our average predictions in the AL were fairly close to the Over/Under number, although not quite as much as in the NL.

So, how are our predictions doing so far? There are two different contests – one uses average win difference (AWD) and the other root mean square difference (RMSD). The difference scores are projected to the end of the season in two ways – extrapolate the current team wins to 162 games, the other to prorate our 162-game predictions to the current number of games. One method overstates the error, while the other understates it. By taking the geometric average (square root of the product) of the two methods those effects tend to cancel out. The standings below use this combined score. In practice, the two projection methods give very similar results for the ordering, even though numerically they are far off from each other and the final scores.

The projected scores for the two contests are shown in the following table, ordered by the AWD score. All games through May 16 are included.

AWD RMSD
Bob Owens 5.31 6.42
Jon Ellis 5.42 6.88
_Average 5.54 6.81
Kerry Whisnant 5.64 6.90
Patrick Greco 5.65 6.74
_81 Wins 5.79 7.07
_Over/Under 5.84 6.98
_2011 Pythagorean 5.84 7.10
_2011 5.87 7.08
Chuck Johnson 6.17 7.34
John Bowen 6.27 7.75

Also shown are the average picks for the five of us, the Over/Under line, predictions using last year’s win totals and last year’s Pythagorean wins, and the simple-minded choice of 81 wins for all teams.

Bob leads in the both contests. Jon is second in AWD, while Patrick is second in RMSD.  John trails the field in both contests in the early going.

Updates will be provided periodically throughout the year using winning percentages, so there’s nowhere to hide, and may the best prognosticator win!

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2 Responses to “Dugout Central Challenge Updated Update”

  1. John Says:

    Kerry, I just re-sent you the email (from March 21) – hoping I can still play!

  2. Kerry Says:

    Yes, I somehow misplaced it — I will update the article tomorrow (actually, it’s after midnight, so later today).

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