After projecting 8 of the 10 Major League Baseball post-season teams in 2016 and correctly claiming that the St. Louis Cardinals would just miss making the playoffs, Mathematical Sciences Professor and Associate Dean Bruce Bukiet has published his model’s projections of how the standings should look at the end of Major League Baseball’s regular season in 2017. This is the 20th year that Bukiet has applied mathematical analysis to compute the number of regular season games each Major League Baseball team should win. Though his expertise is in mathematical modeling (rather than baseball), his projections have consistently compared well with those of so-called experts.
The numbers indicate that while his favorite team, the New York Mets (92 wins) should make the playoffs, the Washington Nationals (97 wins) should repeat as winners of the National League East. The World Champion Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers should repeat as winner of the National League Central and West Divisions with 104 wins each to lead the Major Leagues. The San Francisco Giants (95 wins) should be the fifth National League post-season team. The same five teams (correctly called by Bukiet) made the post-season in 2016 and once again the St. Louis Cardinals (88 wins) should be the best team that doesn’t make the post-season – though it shouldn’t be so close this time.
In the American League, Bukiet’s model has the Boston Red Sox (91 wins) and American League pennant Cleveland Indians (99 wins – best in the American league) repeating as division winners in the East and Central divisions. Bukiet once again calls for the Houston Astros (94 wins) to win the American League West. (This was one of the two projections that did not pan out for Bukiet last year, with the Texas Rangers winning that division – the Orioles made the post-season and not the Rays as the model projected). The model calls for the Toronto Blue Jays (90 wins) and the Detroit Tigers (86 wins) to be the American League Wild Card teams. The Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees should all be 6 games behind the Tigers and this not make the post-season.
At the other end of the spectrum, the San Diego Padres (53 wins) should replace the Minnesota Twins as the team with the worst record in baseball. The Padres should win just over half as many games as the division winning Dodgers, ending up 51 games out of first place. The White Sox (64 wins) should win the least games in the American League.
Bukiet makes these projections to demonstrate and promote the power of math. He wants to show young people that math can be fun, that it can be applied to improve one’s understanding of many aspects of life and that if you love mathematics, it can be a great college major and lead to a satisfying career.
Bukiet bases his projections on a mathematical model he started developing in the late 1980s. He has made various revisions over the years. His results have been noted in many publications and he has been predictions champ at baseballphd.net several times. See more results for his baseball modeling, including the projected wins for each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams at http://web.njit.edu/~bukiet/baseball/baseball.html and at www.egrandslam.com.
A complete listing of what the standings should look like on October 1, 2017 is below.