Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oh, How The Mighty Have Fallen

Man, ESPN has really gone down hill. I rarely read ESPN, so hat-tip to VegasWatch.net for this tidbit.

On the site, each team was reviewed and the different "analysts" predicted how many games each team would win. Now, baseball is a zero-sum game. That means that when one team wins, another has to lose. Therefore, at the end of the season the average team (assuming they all play 162 games) will have a record of 81-81. There's no way around it. That's why, when I looked at the Over/Unders, I just used offensive and pitching stats to determine how many wins the team would win on its own, but when I predicted the standings, I made sure that the average wins was 81. It seemed like common sense - if I have excellent analysis skills (or, more probably, got extremely lucky) then I could get every team right. Of the five guys at ESPN however, only Keith Law has that as a possibility. Tim Kurkjian has the average team winning 82.1 games; Jayson Stark - 82; Buster Olney - 81.3; and Steve Phillips - 81.1. That just isn't possible. It is therefore not surprising that Keith Law's predictions are much more in line with what PECOTA has than the other guys. Steve Phillips isn't that far off, but he has 14 teams winning 88 or more games. That is ridiculous. This man was a General Manager (of the Mets - he traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano) and yet I am very confident that I could win a good deal of money from him betting on baseball. Way to go ESPN.

In fact, Jayson Stark is so bad that he picked the Detroit Tigers to win 92 games and finish first, while the Indians finish second, but one game ahead. That's right - he said Cleveland would win 93 games.

That everyone but Keith Law picked Seattle to win the West with 90-92 wins actually makes me more confident that they won't get past 84. Law went with a very reasonable second place finish and 82 wins.

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