Let’s be honest: algebra isn’t a popular subject in school. Nor is geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. But there is a way for baseball fans to have fun with math. Yes, that’s a fact.
New Jersey Institute of Technology professor Bruce Bukiet, who is also an avid Mets fan, has applied mathematical analysis to project Major League Baseball standings for the past 20 years. Last season, Bukiet guessed correctly on eight of the 10 postseason teams, and predicted that the St. Louis Cardinals would miss October by a few games–which did happen.
So, who is expected to make a postseason appearance in 2017? Apparently not the Yankees.
According to Bukiet’s latest model, the Boston Red Sox will win the American League East division with a 91-71 record, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays (90-72) in second place, and the Yankees (80-82) in third. Below New York are the Baltimore Orioles (77-85) and Tampa Bay Rays (76-86).
The Yankees haven’t been selected as a postseason candidate under Bukiet’s projections since 2012. That year, he predicted New York to finish first in the AL East with 97 wins. His guess wasn’t far off at all, as the team finished the regular season with two less wins, and made an ALCS appearance against the Detroit Tigers. Since then, the Yankees have played in only one postseason game, which came in 2015 (wild card loss vs. Houston).
Around the American League, Bukiet likes the Cleveland Indians (99 wins) and Houston Astros (94 wins) as Central and West division champions, and has Toronto hosting Detroit in the Wild Card play-in game. In the National League, Bukiet predicts that both the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers will secure their respective divisions with 104 wins apiece. He also likes the New York Mets (92 wins) to finish in second behind the Washington Nationals (97 wins) in the NL East. His 10th postseason team, the San Francisco Giants (95 wins), have reached the playoffs in Bukiet’s model for the past four years.
As for the sport’s bottom feeders, Bukiet’s expects the San Diego Padres (53 wins) to be the worst team in baseball, followed by the Cincinnati Reds (62 wins) and Chicago White Sox (64 wins).
If statistics never lie, perhaps Bukiet’s analysis is worth paying attention to.