2011 MLB Baseball Season Predictions

Well, actually got them in on time this year! Here are my annual pinstriped-biased predictions for the 2011 MLB season… LET’S GO YANKEES!!!

AL East Final Standings
Boston Red Sox 100-62 (61.73%)
New York Yankees 97-65 (59.88%)
Toronto Blue Jays 82-80 (50.62%)
Baltimore Orioles 78-84 (48.15%)
Tampa Bay Rays 76-86 (46.91%)

Post-Season Predictions
AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: Twins
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Yankees

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Brewers

ALCS: Yankees over Red Sox
NLCS: Phillies over Reds

World Series: Yankees over Phillies in 7

Best of luck to Don Mattingly in his first year coaching the Dodgers!

2011 MLB Baseball Season Predictions

Update #1: 2010 MLB Baseball Season Predictions

Well not bad I must say. The AL East is tightening up although with news that Youkilis might be out for the season, the Red Sox seem to be fortunately getting farther away from the playoffs. Here’s how my predictions have looked so far:

Current AL East Standings (08/02/2010)
New York Yankees 66-39 (62.9%)
Tampa Bay Rays 66-39 (62.9%)
Boston Red Sox 60-46 (56.6%)
Toronto Blue Jays 55-51 (51.9%)
Baltimore Orioles 32-73 (30.5%)

Predicted AL East Standings (04/10/2010)
New York Yankees 101-61 (62.3%) -0.6%
Tampa Bay Rays 94-68 (58.0%) -4.9%
Boston Red Sox 92-70 (56.8%) +0.2%
Toronto Blue Jays 78-84 (48.1%) -3.8%
Baltimore Orioles 76-86 (46.9%) +16.9%

Average difference in prediction (absolute value, all teams) = 26.4% / 5 teams = 5.3%
Average difference in prediction (absolute value, w/o Orioles) = 9.5% / 4 teams = 2.4%

Predicted Playoff Bound (04/10/2010)
AL East: New York Yankees (Very Good Possibility)
AL Central: Minnesota Twins (Good Possibility)
AL West: Seattle Mariners (Not Possible)
AL Wildcard: Tampa Bay Rays (Very Good Possibility)
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies (Good Possibility)
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals (Good Possibility)
NL West: Colorado Rockies (Slight Possibility)
NL Wildcard: San Francisco Giants (Good Possibility)

Predicted Most Valuable Players (04/10/2010)
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez (Possible as he’s 2nd in RBIs, although it’s probably going to Miguel Cabrera)
AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia (Possible as he’s got 13 wins and a 1.36 WHIP, although David Price might be the best candidate right now)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols (Good Possibility)
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay (Good Possibility)

Update #1: 2010 MLB Baseball Season Predictions

The Origins of Opportunity

I’ve been deep into future studies / futurology over the past few weeks. It’s an intriguing field for me at both a professional/academic level and a personal level. How can we better understand the future? Are there core methodologies that we can employ to optimize our current positioning and decision-making? How can we be better prepared for the future? What’s inevitable and what’s not? Where lies the line between info-driven forecasting and innate intuition?

Although the netweb has helped to grow and organize both the futurological information and the community through which that information is developed and shared, it seems as though the field itself remains cloudy. I must hope that at some level I can build upon the existing thoughts of others and contribute new thoughts of my own so that at least the window to the future becomes more clear.

One cornerstone of future studies is in how to evaluate, filter though, and create opportunity from statements about the future. And so I wonder: from where does opportunity arise, and how can this recognition be leveraged to inform (and in some cases, influence) the future? In general, how can we characterize the origins of opportunity?

  1. Is it through early recognition? This is not beating others to the finish line, but rather beating others to the starting line. Can we identify gaps sooner than others?
  2. Is it through resourceful timing? Often opportunity arises in not being first, not being last, but somewhere in between. The earliest adopter may have his/her vision obscured through too many details, the latest adopter may be left with the crumbs. And often we find much opportunity in the failure of others – developing the right trials from the errors of others.
  3. Is it through pure knowledge and intelligence? Can brute force brainpower create the most opportunity? Or is it more dependent on the ability to apply one’s knowledge, no matter how limited it may be? Is it about having the right skill sets and tools, tactics and strategies?
  4. Is it though pure luck? Can being in the right place at the right time govern our ability to find and harness opportunity? Is pure luck within our beyond our control?

It’s simplest to think that opportunity may arise as a result of any combination of these factors. Therefore, to maximize our opportunities, we should focus on being in the right places, having the right tools, being with the right people, understanding timing as an approach, building the right knowledge base, and building an overall recognition for the many faces of opportunity.

If we can learn to recognize opportunity and better understand where it may arise, we can begin to gain a better picture of the future. Then, we can work to inform that picture with data and models to ensure that we take full advantage of those opportunities to better our self, our communities, our world, and that of tomorrow.

The Origins of Opportunity

Principles of Forecasting

I just finished reading a couple books about future studies and the nature of predictions and forecasts: (1) Future Savvy, by Adam Gordon and (2) The Future of Everything, by David Orrell. From the former of the two, I wanted to pull a good portion of the content from Chapter 11 and structure it here for use in future posts and projects. In Chapter 11 of his book, Gordon outlines the important questions to ask of any forecast. As decision makers and leaders, analysts and synthesizers, and organizations and citizens, it’s critical that we learn to properly evaluate and filter statements about the future so that we can optimize our decisions and, ultimately, our positioning for the future.

With that as a quick intro, here are the questions we should ask of any prediction or forecast. As Gordon states of forecasts: “they are not in themselves valuable, they are only valuable alongside a clear way to separate the wheat from the chaff”.

Purpose

  • What is the purpose of the forecast? Is the forecast upfront about its purpose?
  • Is the forecast future-aligning or future-influencing?
    • Is the forecast widely publicized?
    • Does it specify action to take in the external world?
    • Is it a forecast of extremes?

Specificity

  • Is he forecast mode predictive – spelling out what will happen – or speculative, illuminating possible alternatives?
  • Is there too much certainty?
  • Is there enough certainty? Is the forecast hedging?
  • Is the forecast clear about the pace of change? Does it specify timelines or does it leave the question hazy?

Information Quality

  • How extensive and how good is the base data?
    • Is the data up to date?
    • Does the forecast use secondary data?
    • Is the data real or a projection?

Interpretation and Bias

  • Are the forecast’s biases natural or intentional?
  • What is the reputation of the forecaster and forecast organization? Does the forecaster have anything to lose by being wrong?
  • Are bias-prone contexts at hand?
    • Is the forecast sponsored?
    • Is self-interest prominent?
    • Are ideology and idealism prominent?
    • Does the forecast focus on a “single issue” future?
    • Is editorial oversight bypassed?

Methods and Models

  • Does the forecast specify its methods?
  • Does the forecaster imply the method is too complex, too arcane, or too proprietary to share?
  • Do forecast proponents trumpet their unique or “new and improved” methods?

Quantitative Limits

  • Is the use of quantitative methods appropriate?
  • Is a machine doing the thinking?

Managing Complexity

  • Does the forecast oversimplify the world?
  • Does the forecast acknowledge systemic feedback?
  • Does the forecast anticipate things that could speed up the future, or push it off track? Does it account for triggers and tipping points?
  • Does the forecast expect exponential change?

Assumptions and Paradigm Paralysis

  • Has adequate horizon scanning been done?
  • Are the assumptions stated? Is the forecaster aware of his or her own assumptions? Is the forecaster willing to entertain alternative assumptions?
  • Do the forecaster’s assumptions appear valid and reasonable?

Zeitgeist and Groupthink

  • Is the zeitgeist speaking through the forecaster?
  • Is the forecast jumping on the bandwagon?
  • Does the forecast rely on “experts”?
  • Does the forecast do stretch thinking? Does it allow us to break free from the “official future”?

Drivers and Blockers

  • Are change drivers and enablers identified? Or are trends simply projected?
  • Are blocking forces identified and fully accounted for? Is friction factored in?
    • Have utility questions been asked and adequately answered?
    • Are there proposing or opposing stakeholders, particularly powerful individuals and powerful organizations?
    • Does the forecast challenge social, cultural, or moral norms?
    • Whose side is the law on?
    • Is the forecaster in love with the technology?
    • Does the forecast underestimate the time to product emergence? Does it overestimate the pace at which people’s habits change?
    • Does the forecaster assume change? Does the forecast underestimate the full hump change must overcome? Does the forecaster recognize what doesn’t change?
Principles of Forecasting

2010 MLB Baseball Season Predictions

Okay okay I know I’m very late with this, but it’s time for my baseball season predictions. I had these in a file on my desktop for a couple weeks now and unfortunately I’ve been very slow to post. So, here goes…

AL East Standings
New York Yankees 101-61
Tampa Bay Rays 94-68
Boston Red Sox 92-70
Toronto Blue Jays 78-84
Baltimore Orioles 76-86

Playoff Bound
AL East: New York Yankees
AL Central: Minnesota Twins
AL West: Seattle Mariners
AL Wildcard: Tampa Bay Rays
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
NL West: Colorado Rockies
NL Wildcard: San Francisco Giants

Most Valuable Players
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay

World Series will be the Cardinals and the Yankees and will stretch to 7 games, being won by the Yankees. 28th world championship.

2010 MLB Baseball Season Predictions

The Power of Anticipation

In today’s society, gaining an inch can be like gaining a mile.

Soccer takes a lot of skill and athleticism. You need to be able to dribble, pass, shoot, tackle, communicate, see, sprint, etc. But as I’ve stated before (“mind bend it like beckham” – 2/11/2009) it’s just as much a mental game as it is a physical one. You need to think like your opponent and play somewhat of a guessing game, connecting dots before there’s any visible relationship between them. You need to forecast outcomes, intellectually seeing into the future guided by the data that’s available.

This sort of anticipation is an imperative ability for success in the future – within any endeavor. In business, anticipation means a gaining a leading edge on the competition. For defense, it means preparation and contingency plans for what might be likely to occur. In decision-making its gaining threshold confidence in your decision – using as much relevant information to guide a range of actions, opinion,s and ultimately, outcomes. And not to mention, it helps us grab our umbrella when running out the door.

Predictive analytics, although a seemingly new, hot topic today, has been around forever. Prophets, Mayans, Nostradamus, Pythia, lunar calendars, and the Akashwani – in a historical sense the predictions were informed by a variety of sensory stimuli coupled with intuition and a variety of other external factors. Nowadays, it’s really not that different. Today, we have data and semi-sophisticated mathematical processes that parallel conscious perception and intuition. We can quantify much of what could not have been quantified in the past.

“Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of techniques from statistics, data mining and game theory that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events.

In business, predictive models exploit patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify risks and opportunities. Models capture relationships among many factors to allow assessment of risk or potential associated with a particular set of conditions, guiding decision making for candidate transactions.” (Wikipedia)

It’s imperative that people embrace predictive analytics to inform decision-making. Math doesn’t have to make the decision – that’s mostly for humans – but the math can give a comprehensive picture that outlines components of the decision and also tells us what the decision may lead to (or may have led to in the past) in terms of primary, secondary, and tertiary outcomes. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a great example of this, using computer algorithms to predict world events of the future – war, proliferation, conflict, etc. Decisions are not made by computer models, but humans are briefed of probable scenarios in order to make better-informed decisions.

I’ve said this before – math can be simple when it’s made to be simple. It’s a toolbox of problem-solving techniques and thought processes to help guide real-world decisions and understanding. It’s important to not be afraid of the math – start small and grow your mathematical toolbox over time. Take it head on and don’t be overwhelmed. We all have something to learn and we all have something to gain by embracing prediction and anticipation.

So whether it’s sport, meteorology, national security, or adding garlic to the pan, find a way to anticipate. In doing so, my prediction is that you’ll be better off…

Links

The Power of Anticipation