2012 MLB Baseball Season Predictions

Well it’s Spring, baby! Time for some MLB predictions…

AL East Final Standings
New York Yankees 96-66
Boston Red Sox 92-70
Tampa Bay Rays 90-72
Toronto Blue Jays 81-81
Baltimore Orioles 65-97

Post-Season Predictions
AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Angels
AL Wild Cards: Red Sox, Rays
Just Missed: Rangers

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Brewers
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Diamondbacks, Marlins
Just Missed: Nationals

ALCS: Yankees over Angels
NLCS: Phillies over Diamondbacks

World Series: Yankees over Phillies

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!

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)

Visualizing the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team Roster

As the World Cup approaches, countries begin to solidify their rosters, trying to optimize their squad to give the best chance of taking home the FIFA trophy. As the Bob Bradley recently announced the United States’ 30-man roster, we wonder where these players come from and how can their stats be visualized?

Obviously, it would be most valuable to visualize comprehensive stat sheets of the U.S. team players against all other teams and their players, especially the others in Group C (England, Algeria, Slovenia). Unfortunately, I don’t have that much time! So, elementary as these may be, here are some quick visualizations, given the data provided on the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) website.

1. Full 30-Man Roster, with Hometowns, Club Teams, and Total USMNT Goals (by Position)

2. Player Experience (Age vs Total Caps, by Position)

3. Player Size (Height vs Weight, by Position)

Some things to note, although I have not determined an international baseline from which these conclusions can be definitively made, is that our goalkeepers are old and our midfielders are relatively small, young and inexperienced. But I bet you didn’t need me to tell you that!

Regardless, the World Cup is surely a global spectacle and I’m very much looking forward to it. Hopefully the US squad can take Group C and show some true grit and determination on the international stage. Four weeks to go…

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.

Update #4: This Year in Baseball

This post is related to the following previous posts:
Update #3: This Year in Baseball (October 26, 2009)
Update #2: This Year in Baseball (October 5, 2009)
Update #1: This Year in Baseball (July 24, 2009) 
This Year in Baseball (February 22, 2009)

Well it was Yankees in six games. Pretty unreal feeling. Couple notes:

  • Pettitte closed out all three playoff series (Derek Lowe also did it in 2004).
  • I am extremely happy for Joe Girardi, even though I wish Mattingly had his spot.
  • Teixeira gave the last out ball to Johnny Damon who had a few crucial hits this series but went out early with a strained calf.
  • Matsui is a great MVP, going 8-13 with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs in only 3 starts in the World Series. As a note, he was also the MVP of the Japan Series in 2000, going 8-21 with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs in that series (2-2 with 4 RBIs in the game 6 clincher too). 
  • That was the fifth ring for Mariano Rivera, and the fourth time he got the final out. His 39 postseason saves are by far the most all time (#2 is Brad Lidge at 16).
  • Damaso Marte pitched 4.0 postseason innings, giving up 2 hits and 0 ERs with 5 Ks and 0 BBs. Stellar.

“Why wear the pinstripes if you’re not going to win championships?” – Mark Teixeira

“The Yankees won. The world is right again.” – Randy Levine (Yankees President)

update #3: this year in baseball

This post is related to the following previous posts:
Update #2: This Year in Baseball (October 5, 2009)
Update #1: This Year in Baseball (July 24, 2009) 
This Year in Baseball (February 22, 2009)

Well, here we are. Two days away from game 1 of the World Series. It’s about time I wrap up my predictions for the year and let you in on what to expect over the next week and a half.

My playoff predictions were filled with rights and wrongs. In the AL, although I predicted the Red Sox would have taken the Angels deeper than three games, I had the ALCS match up and result correct (Yankees in 6). In the NL, I was way off. I missed the NLCS match-up entirely. Part of that must have been my desire for the Yankees to avoid the Phillies. Silly me.

But here we are, Yankees vs Phillies. The first known is that the series will conclude in New York (Game 6 or 7). Neither team will let this be a short series. Therefore our options are now narrowed to four possibilities: Phillies in 6, Phillies in 7, Yankees in 6, Yankees in 7. The second known is that my love for the Yankees means more than any statistical analysis at this point. And so, my predictions:

Result: Yankees in 7
MVP: A-Rod (two game-winning hits)
Runner-Up: Cano (he’ll bat 0.450 with 5 RBIs)
Total Runs: Yankees 27 – Phillies 22
Other: Mattingly pinch hits in game 7 for a nice sac bunt.

Go Yanks!

update: this year in baseball

On February 22, 2009, I posted my baseball predictions for this year. Today I went back to see how those predictions were turning out and was pleasantly surprised. Here’s how I stand:
Predicted Final AL East Standings (February 22, 2009)
Yankees 101-61 (62.35%)
Red Sox 95-67 (58.64%)
Rays 84-78 (51.85%)
Blue Jays 80-82 (49.38%)
Orioles 72-90 (44.44%)
Current AL East Standings (July 24, 2009)
Yankees 58-37 (61.05%) –> 99-63
Red Sox 55-39 (58.51%) –> 95-67
Rays 52-44 (54.17%) –> 88-74
Blue Jays 47-49 (48.96%) –> 79-83
Orioles 41-53 (43.62%) –> 71-91
The order is correct and collectively the winning percentages are off by an average of 1.00%. If calculating a final win count off current winning percentages, Yanks are off by 2 wins, Red Sox are exactly right, Rays are off by 4 wins, Blue Jays are off by 1 win, and Orioles are off by 1 win. Not too bad I must say… but reveal my methods? Hah!
The other prediction of Cubs playing the Yanks in the World Series may be a bit of a stretch, but they are only 3 games back in the NL Wild Card and are 5-2 out of the All-Star break. Still a possibility.
Finally, I hope I don’t jinx myself here but I’ll pass along a post of why the Bronx Bombers will be winning the AL Pennant. I agree with the power, health, and depth, but it’s too soon to make predictions off current streaks coming out of the all-star break.
“A humble man of grace and dignity. A captain who led by example. Proud of the pinstripes tradition and dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. A Yankee forever.” – Don Mattingly’s plaque in Monument Park

geometry in soccer

Soccer is a beautiful game of people and sciences: psychology (see post: mind-bend it like beckham), biology, and among others, mathematics. In particular, geometry can be found in almost all aspects of the game. To the standard viewer, these applications may not seem obvious. It probably looks like a bunch of people kicking a ball towards a common goal trying to keep another team from scoring on their own. That’s true, but it’s the science and language of movements that make one team beat another.

First, the simple applications of geometry and topology in soccer. The field is rectangular in shape with other shapes creating boundaries, halves, penalty boxes, corners, and goals. The field is geometrically symmetrical. The ball is semi-spherical adding it’s own element in shot curvature, reflections, etc. The shot itself must take on a very calculated velocity (angle + speed). Passing with a give-and-go, long ball, or off the wall indoors are all derivatives of geometric shapes. Using a wide-angled pass is less probable to be intercepted than a “square” pass. The wall aims to accomplish much of what a goalie does against a breakaway: take away the angle. Setting up a wall at 1o yrds or a goalie coming off a line reduce the target for a shooter. The cross must be a calculated trajectory, usually bending in or out to give more advantage to the goal-scoring team. Bending out allows for a more forward angle versus a completely perpendicular cross which is much tougher to head towards a desired target. These are some simple components of soccer in which geometry “takes shape”.

Let’s also think about team formation and spatial distribution around the field. Formation is not random, and it’s known that having the optimal formation at any one time greatly increases the chance of achieving an objective, whether that’s scoring a goal, playing stiff defense, maintaining possession, or slowing the game pace.

Connectedness: How many neighbor nodes does the person with the ball have? How passing options are there currently? The more interconnected the 11 nodes might be, the more optimized the network.

Compactness: The team should be like an accordion that can open and close, adapt and react, become dense and spread out. Localized compactness assists in defense, spreading out opens up for offense.

In passing, triangular formation creates multiple opportunities to give-and-go. Moving without the ball to create shapes builds the passing support network that creates scoring chances. Thinking ahead of reflected or return passes based on complementary angles off your teammate will get you the ball back in stride. Combine this geometric intuition with a good mental game is key.

In all, having a locally-connected space and visualizing complementary angles is advantageous for any team. The name of the game is adaptation and proaction. Thinking 3 passes ahead, using all sciences in your toolbox both mentally and physically, and anticipating the faults of your opponent will surely increase the probability of a win. Having a kick ass shot doesn’t hurt either.