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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The table below shows for each of the NL teams their actual 2016 winning percentages (W-L%) along with their expected winning percentages (Lin W-L%), calculated using my linear formula Lin W-L% =.000579*(RS – RA) +.50, RS is runs scored and RA is runs allowed.

2017 NL Picks
My choice to win the NL East is the New York Mets. If healthy the Mets starting rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz (currently injured), and Zack Wheeler could be the best in the Major Leagues. Robert Gsellman will be a great temporary replacement for Matz. The loss of 16-game winner Bartolo Colon is a negative. The resigning of Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker bodes well for the offense. Moving Jose Reyes to third base give the Mets a dependable leadoff batter. Yes, the bullpen is a question mark and of course the health of the starting pitchers could bite the Mets. Granderson will be Granderson and produce his 20+ home runs. If healthy the Mets should increase their Lin W-L% to 0.580 from 0.538. Right on the Mets heels will be the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have a solid lineup around maybe the best two positional players in the NL shortstop Trea Turner and outfielder Bryce Harper and a starting rotation that should be top-notch, provided Stephen Strasburg stays healthy. The bullpen is a question mark. However, look for the Nationals to be one of the Wild Card teams.

My choice for the NL Central is the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are easily baseball’s most complete team. They have emerging stars all over the depth chart, an excellent rotation and bullpen, and a great defense. In 2016 their Lin W-L% was the highest in the majors which allowed them to have 103 wins. Look for over 100 wins again in 2017.The St Louis Cardinals have an experienced rotation and offensively an already balanced attack will get stronger with the addition of center fielder Dexter Fowler. The Cardinals will battle for the second Wild Card.

The Los Angeles Dodgers should repeat as NL West winners. The Dodgers brought back all the stars they needed. With Clayton Kershaw healthy and shortstop Corey Seager improving on his National League Rookie of the Year season the pitching and offense remain strong. The biggest addition for 2017 was acquiring Logan Forsythe from the Rays. Forsythe fills their hole at second base and gives them a sorely needed right-handed bat. The Dodgers should improve their Lin W-L% from last year’s 0.558 and win 93+ games in 2017. Right behind the Dodgers will be the San Francisco Giants who arguably have the best lefty-right rotation duo in Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. The signing of Mark Melancon improves their bullpen. Yes, the Giants will battle the Cardinals for the second Wild Card.

To summarize the three divisional winners in the NL will be the Mets, Cubs, and Dodgers. A fight exists between the Giants, Cardinals, and Nationals for the two Wild Cards. My choice for the two Wild Card teams are the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2017 we will see a World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. Last year the Cubs broke their 108-year drought and in 2017 will extend their WS winning streak to two. Yes, the Cubs will repeat as World Champions.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The table below shows for each of the AL teams their actual 2016 winning percentages (W-L%) along with their expected winning percentages (Lin W-L%), calculated using my linear formula Lin W-L% =.000579*(RS – RA) +.50, RS is runs scored and RA is runs allowed.

2017ALPredictions
 

My choice to win the AL East is the Boston Red Sox. Yes, the Red Sox lost David Ortiz and his 38-home run 2016 season. But, kudos to the Red Sox management for acquiring Chris Sale. Sale will join defending American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and David Price (if healthy) to give Boston a front-of-the-rotation combination that potentially could be the best in the Major Leagues. Sale hasn't won his own Cy Young Award, but he has finished in the top six in AL balloting each of the past five years. Two other notable moves included the signing of free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland to upgrade the infield defense and trading for Tyler Thornburg, who will serve as a setup man for Craig Kimbrel. Offensively, no one expects Moreland to replace Ortiz. However, Moreland taking over first base will allow the Red Sox to shift Hanley Ramirez into the DH role and that improved overall defense does help close the value gap between Moreland and Ortiz. Sorting out the No. 4 and 5 starter spots between Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez is a problem every team would love to have. I believe the Red Sox are the most improved team in the AL and will improve on their 2016 AL best Lin W-L% of 0.606 increasing their win total to over 95 wins.

My choice for the AL Central is the Cleveland Indians. The starting pitching should be improved over last year with the return of Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar to full-time duty fortifying a rotation fronted by Corey Kluber. Adding Andrew Miller as their closer to go along with Cody Allen will improve an already excellent bullpen. The signing of Edwin Encarnacion, Austin Jackson, and Chris Colabello will create more runs for the offense. With strong starters and an improved bullpen and offense, the Indians should increase their Lin W-L% to about 0.585 which would put their win total at 95 and make them a runaway winner of the Central Division.

In my opinion the AL East and AL Central have clear cut winners in the Red Sox and Indians. However, the AL West is not so clear cut. In 2016, The Texas Rangers won the division with a W-L% of 0.586. However, their Lin W-L% was only 0.505. The reason for this discrepancy is they won 36 of 47 1-run games. This will not happen again in 2017. So, I have eliminated Texas as a winner. This leaves me with the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros as my two choices. Both these teams have made notable additions. For Seattle, Jean Segura and Jarrod Dyson will give them a great one-two punch at the top of the lineup setting the table for a trio of 30-homer sluggers Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager. For Houston, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Josh Reddick will join an offense that already featured Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer, giving Houston an offense that potentially stacks up to any in baseball. Seattle should improve their Lin W-L% to about 0.550 and Houston should improve their Lin W-L% from 0.515 to 0.535. Whichever pitching staff does better will determine the winner. My choice is Seattle based on my belief that King Felix Hernandez, who turns 31 in April, after a shaky 2016 will return to his throne in 2017.

To summarize, my 3 divisional winners are Boston, Cleveland and Seattle and my two Wild Card teams are Houston and Toronto. Finally, the team that will represent the AL in the 2017 WS is the Boston Red Sox. 


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

This is the first blog of a three blog series. This blog will give the reasons I use for making my MLB predictions for a new year. The second and third blogs will give my actual predictions for the three division winners and two wild card teams in each league for the 2017 season.

To recap the 2016 season these were the final standings.

2016 Results

The three division winners in the AL were BOS, CLE, and TEX. The two wild card winners were TOR and BAL. The three division winners in the NL were WSN, CHC, and LAD. The two wild cards were NYM and SFG.

My Linear Formula for the 2016 season was W% = .000579*(Runs Scored – Runs Allowed) + .50 where W% was a team’s expected winning percentage based on their (runs scored – runs allowed). Using the expected winning percentage from my formula the following would have been the final standings for 2016.

2016 Linear Formula Results
 

From my formula the three division winners in the AL would have been BOS, CLE, and SEA. The two wild card winners would have been TOR and BAL. The three division winners for the NL would have been WSN, CHC, and LAD. The two NL wild card winners would have been SFG and STL.

The only difference in the five playoff teams, comparing the actual playoff teams to my expected playoff teams from my formula, was for the AL TEX made it and SEA did not and for the NL the NYM were in and STL was out.

The reason for giving the above data is to justify why I use my formula to help me make my predictions for next year’s playoff teams based on how the runs scored and runs allowed for each team will change from the previous year. These changes in runs scored and runs allowed are estimated by looking at the new players added and the old players deleted from each team. From the addition and subtraction of players for each team I estimate a new runs scored and runs allowed for each team. Then using my Linear Formula, I arrive at a team’s estimated winning percentage for the new season.

My next two blogs will give my predictions for the two leagues for the 2017 season.

By the way using my method last year I predicted the CHC would defeat TOR in the World Series. Of course, even though TOR made the playoffs it was CLE that represented the AL in the World Series. 


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

A student in my Baseball and Statistics Course is also the student manager of Quinnipiac's  Division One Men's Basketball Team.

Everyone who watches a Division One basketball game understands what the coach does, what the players do, and what the trainers do. Did you every wonder what a student manager of the team does? I know I never understood the role of a student manager.

Being a manager for the men’s basketball team is a very rewarding job, but also one that requires an extreme time commitment. For starters, there are 30 regular season games spanning from November through the beginning of March. There’s also about 80 practices a season. We’re also typically asked to come in during their preseason workouts. For example, this year I started my job the second week of school. As the head manager, I’m expected to be at all events. It’s my responsibility to schedule my classes around being at practice for about 3 hours a day, as well as being available for games at night and traveling. A lot of this job is specific to what the coaches want, so a lot of specific tasks might be different at other schools, but a majority I would think are standard.

On practice days, I arrive at the gym an hour early. The first thing I’ll do is set up the court and bring out the equipment that we’ll need which includes the basketballs, the clock, practice jerseys, boards, etc. and fill up a jug of water as well as everyone’s individual bottles. If it’s the day before a game, I will also go around to all the players, coaches, trainers, and the other managers to fill out our food order, which gets delivered to us after games. During practice, I will either be running the clock and keeping score for drills, or I will be up giving the guys their waters and wiping the floor to clean up when people fall.

On game days, our days start with shoot around. This will typically be about 6 hours before game time. I’ll show up an hour early and set up the clock and bring out the basketballs and practice jerseys. During the actual shoot around, the clock runs down from 60 minutes so we typically just watch as the coaches walk the team through plays and personnel. For home games, I’ll come back to the arena an hour and a half early to bring our equipment bags out behind our bench and be there for if the players need anything. During the actual game, I’ll sit behind the bench and take notes on play calls. Our biggest job during the games is bringing out the chairs and water bottles during timeouts. We normally will have 2-3 people behind the bench and someone else is set up filming the game. Once the game is over, I quickly clean up and put away our equipment bags and check to make sure our food got delivered. After that is organized, we’re normally free to go.

For road games, we leave the night before and stay in a hotel. I put everything we need on the bus including those games bags and film equipment. If we’re eating on the bus, I’ll also put everyone’s food on their seat before they get on. Before we leave, I go in to the locker room and check with the players to make sure they have everything they need in their bags. In the morning, breakfast is normally at 10 AM and we’ll go right to shoot around after that. We’ll come back to the hotel and have our pre-game meal around 3 PM and leave for the game so we get to the gym about 2 hours before game time. The rest of my job at that point is the same as home games.

All in all, this is about a 5-month job where you work pretty much every day, Thanksgiving and winter breaks included. This group becomes your family, and even through the ups and down, I would definitely say it’s a special experience.
Eric Santos, March 24, 2017

 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

This year the Joint Math Convention was in Atlanta, GA.  As luck would have it, Turner Field was closed and SunTrust Park was not yet opened to the public.  Would this be my first math convention without any baseball?  Not only that, the city virtually shut down due to an ice storm.  On Saturday afternoon, once the weather cleared up a bit, my wife and I took a walk to the CNN building.  We had a wonderful tour guide named Corey James.  After the tour, we asked him a few questions about CNN and then we somehow got on the topic of baseball including how much it meant to us. After I said that I wrote a baseball blog, Corey was interested in submitting an entry.  Below he describes what baseball means to him.

My parents first signed me up for T-ball in the spring of 1995, as I look back in retrospect that time frame changed my life. As I grew up playing baseball I learned to love and have compassion for the game, from building relationships with teammates, colleagues, and coaches that I still keep in touch with till this day.

Some may look at baseball and think about some of the negatives such as steroid and supplement abuse. But baseball is way more than that, it’s a sport that can bring a whole family together and can be passed on throughout generations. My grandfather played and loved the game of baseball, and passed the love on to my mother who played softball, and passed that love of the game on to my siblings, and my parents and sibling included passed the love on to me.

I enjoy every minute of the game. The adrenalin rush of being on deck, the pulsating heart thumping feeling of stepping into the batters box, the excitement I receive from watching a home run, witnessing a stolen base, or even a bases loaded full count situation. All facets of the game are exciting. I plan to take my love for the game, and continue the tradition that my grandfather started and pass the love of the game along to my children, and my eventual grand children.

Baseball is more then a bat and ball. It’s a world where you can bring diverse populations together for good ole competitive fun, and excitement.
- Corey James, 03.08.2017

 

 

 
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