NJIT Mathematician Releases 2014 Major League Baseball Projections

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As Opening Day rapidly approaches for most Major League Baseball teams, NJIT Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences Bruce Bukiet has prepared his annual MLB projections for the upcoming season.

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As Opening Day rapidly approaches for most Major League Baseball teams, NJIT Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences Bruce Bukiet has prepared his annual MLB projections for the upcoming season. And, to the chagrin of loyal Mets fan Bukiet, New York’s National League club looks to be in store for a disappointing year. Bukiet, who developed a mathematical model for calculating expected MLB win totals that was published in Operations Research, forecasts a mere 68 wins and a last-place finish for the Metropolitans.

Bukiet’s model can be used to project the number of games a team should be expected to win, the optimal batting order for a set of 9 batters, and how trading players will likely influence a team’s number of wins. “This all began when I, because I am not very big or powerful, set out to prove that a singles hitter who gets on base frequently would contribute more to winning than a slugger who strikes out a lot,” Bukiet recalls. “What I found was the opposite—the slugger will generate more wins.”

For the 2014 season, Bukiet’s model pegs Boston, Detroit, and Oakland as American League Division winners, with Anaheim and Seattle narrowly edging Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees in the AL Wildcard chase. In the National League, the numbers say St. Louis, Washington, and Los Angeles will take the top spots in their respective divisions. San Francisco and Atlanta are predicted to fill the Wildcard slots.

“There are some unknowns that the model can’t incorporate in projecting team win totals before the season, such as rookie performance and trades that have not yet occurred, but, sadly for my Mets, the forecasts have been very accurate,” Bukiet noted. In fact, Bukiet’s preseason expectations for the Mets have been within 3 games of the win total attained by the team in 9 of the last 10 seasons.

Of his annual projections, Bukiet said, “I publish these to promote the power and relevance of math. Applying mathematical models to things that people care about or enjoy, like baseball, shows that math can be fun as well as very useful.”

Bukiet, who serves as an associate professor of mathematical sciences and as associate dean of the College of Science and Liberal Arts at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, has done extensive research into the mathematical modeling of physical phenomena, including the healing of wounds, detonation waves, and the dynamics of human balance. He also has applied modeling to sports and gambling. Bukiet has made a number of media appearances in the past and is available to discuss his projections. He can be reached by contacting Matthew Golden in NJIT’s Office of Strategic Communications at 973-596-5695 or golden(at)njit(dot)edu. A listing of Bukiet’s 2014 expected win totals for each MLB team can be found below.

National League

Washington    94
Atlanta            90    
Philadelphia    79
Miami            69
New York Mets    68

St. Louis            95
Milwaukee            86
Cincinnati            82
Pittsburg            76
Chicago Cubs    57    

Los Angeles    95
San Francisco    88
Arizona            83
San Diego            82
Colorado            67

American League

Boston                 96
Tampa Bay         86
New York Yankees 86
Toronto                 82    
Baltimore                 73    

Detroit                 99
Kansas City         82    
Cleveland                 80
Chicago White Sox    65
Minnesota                 63

Oakland    93
Anaheim    87
Seattle    87
Texas    85
Houston    55

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2011 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.

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Tanya Klein
New Jersey Institute of Technology
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