• NJIT Prof: Yanks In Six

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via a New Jersey’s Science and Technology University Press Release

    NJIT’s Bruce Bukiet, a mathematician who has applied mathematical modeling techniques to elucidate the dynamics of run scoring in baseball, has computed the probability of the Yankees and Phillies winning the World Series. He also has computed the most deserving of Major League Baseball’s prestigious 2009 Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Cy Young awards.

    Bukiet, a popular NJIT math professor, dives annually into such terrain in part for his love of the game, but also for his love of teaching and math. “Baseball can be a terrific learning tool,” said Bukiet. “It demonstrates how math can be used to help us better understand the world around us.”

    With the World Series set to begin Wednesday night in the new Yankee Stadium, the model gives the Yankees a 70 percent chance of winning the series with most probable outcomes being a Yankees championship in 6 games (23 percent chance). The chance of them winning in 5 or 7 games is 19 percent each. The Phillies have a 30 percent chance to defeat the Yankees. Their best chance is a 10 percent chance to win in 7 games.

    Bukiet’s method uses the 2009 regular season statistics for each player on each team’s roster. He then applies a Markov Process approach to modeling production of runs in baseball games. Bukiet first presented this mathematical model in 1997 in Operations Research. His method has been used for a number of purposes over the past decade, including predicting how many games a team should win in a season, the expected influence of trades, the value of wagering on a game and who is most deserving of Major League Baseball’s most prestigious awards.

    Well, at the least, a study like this is less messy than performing a tasseography on Damaso Marte’s Starbucks empties…

    Click here for some more interesting methods of predicting this series…

    Comments on NJIT Prof: Yanks In Six

    1. Evan3457
      October 28th, 2009 | 12:48 am

      The Good News: If you chase the Prof’s Markov Chains back to the beginning of the post-season, he had the Yanks beating both the Twins and Angels.

      Now for the Bad News: His Chains had every other series wrong, some by embarassingly bad percentages, such as that he had the Dodgers as only slightly smaller favorites over the Phillies in the NLCS (.696 to .304), and the Red Sox over the Angels (.546 to .454). He also had the Cards over the Dodgers by a smaller amount.

      You can’t really take this type of probaballistic prediction seriously, because they’re all based on assumptions of team level of play that are 1) hopelessly inaccurate because of insufficient data, and 2) unable to adjust the probabilities to deal with matchups and 3) unable to distinguish between a mediocre team, and a great veteran team coasting home (see 2000 Yankees and 2009 Phillies).

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