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MLBPET 2011 Baseball Forecast

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

For a number of years now, I've prepared for the Major League Baseball season by running projections for players and rolling them up into team forecasts. The system is a counterpart to and actually predates my basketball system, NBAPET, and as such bears a similar name: MLBPET. Since I've sought to de-emphasis sabermetrics in my baseball work, I didn't really have a place to publish MLBPET's forecasts this season, so I thought I'd throw them up here, just to get them on record. I don't really feel like re-writing the overview of my methodology that I come up with every season, but here's what I wrote last year, for a site for which I used a Royals angle:

"My process (see, I have a process, too) for projecting the baseball season is really pretty simple, though it requires an encyclopedia of data and a spreadsheet that currently takes 31 minutes to open on my laptop. First, I generate projections for several thousand players, dipping deep into the minor-league organizations for each team. The projections are based on recent performance, with the most recent seasons given the most weight. I also apply aging adjustments to player forecasts, based on historical patterns.

"Once I have all those raw projections in the hopper, I then build each team's anticipated depth chart and divide up the playing time. This is an inexact science, but in general, players with a history of being injured or platooned are going to receive the more pessimistic projections for playing time. Once the depth charts are built, the system adds up the runs created and allowed for each team. The data is fitted to a predicted run-scoring environment which is based on league data from the last five years. At the end of this step, I have an initial projection of each team's record, which always turns out to be really close the the official projection.

"At this point, I input each team's predicted runs scored and allowed totals into a simulation engine, in which I've also entered the 2010 schedule. Then the fun begins: I run the simulation 100,000 times to see what happens. What I'm left with are average win totals for each team's run of simulations, as well as their percentage chances for playing on in October. In 100,000 simulations, it would be very unlikely for a team to project to a ZERO percent chance of making the playoffs. So it is for the Royals. So I say again, the Royals can make the postseason in 2010."

There you go. Let's start with the baseline won-loss projections with runs scored and runs allowed. No commentary--the projections are what they are.

NL East        W   L   Pct   RS   RA
Philadelphia  89  73  .549  767  684
Atlanta       88  74  .543  785  706
Florida       84  78  .519  762  731
New York      83  79  .512  759  739
Washington    71  91  .438  708  800
NL Central     W   L   Pct   RS   RA
St. Louis     86  76  .531  799  745
Cincinnati    83  79  .512  778  753
Chicago       78  84  .481  756  780
Milwaukee     78  84  .481  708  735
Pittsburgh    72  90  .444  737  824
Houston       69  93  .426  667  784
NL West        W   L   Pct   RS   RA
San Francisco 89  73  .549  759  681
Los Angeles   85  77  .525  717  672
Colorado      84  78  .519  835  797
San Diego     78  84  .481  682  703
Arizona       72  90  .444  735  822
AL East        W   L   Pct   RS   RA
Boston        94  68  .580  896  750
New York      90  72  .556  879  774
Tampa Bay     85  77  .525  811  766
Baltimore     80  82  .494  831  838
Toronto       68  94  .420  684  812
AL Central     W   L   Pct   RS   RA
Minnesota     83  79  .512  823  791
Detroit       83  79  .512  803  776
Chicago       81  81  .500  798  797
Cleveland     74  88  .457  772  839
Kansas City   67  95  .414  732  875
AL West        W   L   Pct   RS   RA
Texas         88  74  .543  847  763
Oakland       83  79  .512  742  716
Los Angeles   79  83  .488  719  736
Seattle       70  92  .432  656  757

Here are the results of using those baseline projections and simulating the season 100,000 times. List are each team's adjusted average win total, an their percentage chances of winning a division, a wild card berth and just making the playoffs.

NL East         aW     Div      WC      PL
Philadelphia  89.3  43.64%  14.26%  57.90%
Atlanta       88.1  34.55%  14.88%  49.43%
Florida       83.2  12.83%   9.01%  21.84%
New York      81.6   8.71%   6.76%  15.47%
Washington    70.2   0.27%   0.23%   0.50%
NL Central      aW     Div      WC      PL
St. Louis     88.0  50.04%   6.83%  56.88%
Cincinnati    85.3  31.14%   7.52%  38.66%
Chicago       79.7   9.42%   3.12%  12.54%
Milwaukee     78.7   7.37%   2.48%   9.85%
Pittsburgh    73.4   1.64%   0.52%   2.16%
Houston       69.1   0.39%   0.10%   0.49%
NL West         aW     Div      WC      PL
San Francisco 89.2  48.51%  10.52%  59.03%
Los Angeles   85.9  26.53%  11.08%  37.61%
Colorado      84.5  19.64%   9.46%  29.11%
San Diego     78.3   4.60%   2.81%   7.41%
Arizona       72.1   0.72%   0.39%   1.11%
AL East         aW     Div      WC      PL
Boston        94.0  57.78%  21.59%  79.37%
New York      90.2  30.23%  29.05%  59.28%
Tampa Bay     84.8   9.45%  15.35%  24.80%
Baltimore     79.6   2.52%   5.27%   7.78%
Toronto       66.1   0.02%   0.04%   0.05%
AL Central      aW     Div      WC      PL
Minnesota     85.7  39.12%   5.07%  44.19%
Detroit       85.2  35.91%   5.02%  40.93%
Chicago       82.4  20.70%   3.95%  24.65%
Cleveland     75.4   3.86%   0.82%   4.68%
Kansas City   68.1   0.40%   0.06%   0.46%
AL West         aW     Div      WC      PL
Texas         89.8  67.48%   4.43%  71.91%
Oakland       83.5  22.82%   6.51%  29.33%
Los Angeles   79.2   9.11%   2.74%  11.85%
Seattle       69.7   0.59%   0.13%   0.72%

Finally, here is a forecast for each team by unit: hitting, overall pitching, fielding and bullpen. Listed are the club's predicted league rank for each unit.

NL East      HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
Philadelphia   5    3    5   16
Atlanta        3    4   12    6
Florida        6    5   15   13
New York       7    9    6   11
Washington    14   12   14    7
NL Central   HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
St. Louis      2   10    8   14
Cincinnati     4   11    2   10
Chicago        9   15   11    4
Milwaukee     13    7   10   15
Pittsburgh    10   14    4    8
Houston       16   13   13   12
NL West      HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
San Francisco  8    1    3    3
Los Angeles   12    2    1    2
Colorado       1    8   16    5
San Diego     15    6    7    1
Arizona       11   16    9    9
AL East      HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
Boston         1    1    9    4
New York       2    8    5    1
Tampa Bay      6    9    3    9
Baltimore      4   14    8   14
Toronto       13   11   12    8
AL Central   HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
Minnesota      5    5   13    5
Detroit        7    4   10   10
Chicago        8   10    7    3
Cleveland      9   12   11   12
Kansas City   11   13   14    2
AL West      HIT  PIT  FLD  PEN
Texas          3    7    2    6
Oakland       10    2    1    7
Los Angeles   12    3    6   13
Seattle       14    6    4   11
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At The Buzzer: Episode No. 22 Review

Friday, October 8th, 2010

This particular episode was unique in that it was entirely pre-recorded from my home office. My family left the previous evening to visit my mom and to attend the annual Apple Festival in Versailles, MO. This is the second consecutive year we’ve attended the event, and given that we have a two-year-old little girl it will remain a yearly tradition for a very long time.

It was interesting to put the show together. It took longer than anticipated, like what occurs with most worthwhile pursuits. Those of you who have created podcasts can likely relate. Having a quality USB microphone really made it possible to complete and produce the opening segment, and then I used Audacity as my audio editing software program, including editing my two interviews. I streamed the show from afar, and producer John Parker did an excellent job of flowing the show as intended on air. It’s not as easy as some may think.

My opening commentary included a preview of the show's guests and the latest NBA news; this included Carmelo Anthony and a Denver Nuggets update, Greg Oden news, the rookie class of 2007 and more.

Segment 2 featured an interview with Chaminade College Prep High School head basketball coach Kelvin Lee. Kelvin has been at Chaminade for 14 years, and coached NBA star David Lee for his four seasons there. We re-visited those days with coach Lee, got his thoughts on David Lee now being in Golden State, and what Lee’s high school recruiting madness was like - and why he went to Florida.

The final interview segment showcased NBA and Sacramento Kings writer Zach Harper. We discussed whether the Kings can remain in Sacramento now that their proposed arena deal has fallen through. Of course, we attempt to see if the Kings may move to STL, and what lies ahead in the Kings’ future.

The show wrapped up with a final news segment and my sign off. We touched on North Carolina freshman Harrison Barnes, the story of USC superstar Harold Miner, Nate Robinson wearing Shaquille O’Neal’s size 22 shoes and signed off with a big thanks to show sponsors RG Plumbing Services, The Post Sports Bar & Grill and producer Jon Parker.

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At the Buzzer: Episode No. 17 Review

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Most people tend to agree that spending a lot of time listening to yourself can be rather unpleasant. Not sure if this may be different with singers, professional speakers and the narcissistic. But, for me, it can be very painful ... but sometimes not as much.

I am relatively pleased with the radio show over the past two months, but am slighted irritated at last week's opening commentary. It's not awful. No major errors. But there are a few moments where I don't sound natural.

It is such a freaky thing to be on the radio for someone like myself. I love it, and look forward to the show each week because I genuinely enjoy the content and the fact no one else is doing what I am doing. If I found out that, say, only 37 people in the St. Louis metro area were actually tuned in and listening it would have no impact on my experience. Regardless of of how this turns out, whether it be six months from now, or 16 years from now, I will always be pleased that I pursued one of my life's dreams: to bring my love of the NBA to St. Louis radio. So, there you go.

The show seems pretty well entrenched, so I don't mean to imply otherwise. Just recently I have ran into a struggle to cover my costs for doing this show, but hopefully that will work itself out very soon. I'm sure when basketball season returns, that will help quite a bit!

But, as for my performance, I think I do a decent job of just talking like I usually do  to other sports fans. There is a certain necessity to speaking in a radio-friendly manner and to move outside of yourself at times, but, for me, the primary thing is to never "act." No reason to be artificial, inflammatory and just act like someone you are not. Well, that is my approach anyway. If you listen to a lot of sports radio shows, they tend to be light on content, feather light on substance and heavy on  being antagonistic, sensationalistic and controversial - or, at best, they just talk about TV, movies and sex in an attempt to pass that off as a radio show.

The challenge for me is to not be boring. But if you like basketball and sports, then you'll like the show. I may not be a fake, an asshole or an actor - but I love hoops and will bring that passion to the air as long as the opportunity is in front of me.

As for episode No. 17, I could have paced myself better and been more jovial in the opening segment but my headphones volume was off (my fault)  and I thought I was louder than I was. I broke down the plight of Team USA in the World Championships, and set the stage for the show's theme:  the historical impact that the University of Kentucky had in the 2010 NBA Draft.

I was very pleased with the good interview we had with Washington Wizards writer Zach Weidie, as we analyzed John Wall, Gilbert Arenas and the state of that franchise.  I was equally happy with the interview we had with Sacramento Kings writer Zach Harper. as we taked in-depth about DeMarcus Cousins, and also Tyreke Evans and what to look for from the Kings in the 2010-'11 season. Each is an NBA expert who happens to specialize in a single team's coverage. But you'll find their work all over the NBA landscape.

I also discussed the wild story of ex-Missouri player Josh Kroenke gaining control over the Denver Nuggets ... at the age of 30. Damn that kid! For more info and to listen to any of At The Buzzer's interviews, please click here.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-29

Sunday, August 29th, 2010
  • @Puntchy But then they'd decide that Pulaski was too crusty to deal with athletes, and Crusher would be back. in reply to Puntchy #
  • Injuries are the worst part about sports. I wish we could invent a Beverly Crusher device and just fix all of these things on the spot. #
  • RT: @DraftExpress JaVale McGee is a freak of nature. Body looks amazing. So talented. Going to have a monster year if he stays focused. #
  • The Jordan '30 on 30' literally gave me goosebumps. #
  • Spent too much time thinking about this, but if I'm Utah, I forget about Fesenko and offer Amundson rest of my MLE. Hey, it's not my money. #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-22

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
  • @SteveKays Agree, but this just shows what a golden era it is for point guards. in reply to SteveKays #
  • @SteveKays Agree, but this just shoe in reply to SteveKays #
  • @SteveKays agree, in reply to SteveKays #
  • Tonight shows why it doesn't pay to get excited about young pitchers. At least Strasburg could have had a Doc Gooden season or three. #
  • Must remember not to ask Lou Piniella if the Cubs are going to zone up or about Carloa Marmol's jump shot. #
  • Taking a few hours off of work on Pro Basketball Prospectus '10-11 for a one day stint covering the Cubs for mlb.com ... #
  • Answer couple of Whitlock ?s that came my way: I don't know the guy at all. Judge him only by his work. And weight comments are just wrong. #
  • Here's the thing about Whitlock that is too often ignored: He's a hack. His popularity is ... I'll never understand it. #
  • Did they pull Whitlock off the air? Few in local media had as sweet of a gig as he had at the KC Star. What a dick. Good riddance. #
  • Wow. Six weeks shy of turning 30, former No. 1 overall pick Bryan Bullington has 1st career win (8 shutout innings, 2 hits vs Yankees). #
  • Ned Yost pulled Bullington after eight. I understand the decision, but still disappointed. Will be lots worse if Soria blows save. #
  • @JPosnanski Tough call, but he's been waiting 8 years for this. I'd let him start the inning and have Soria ready. in reply to JPosnanski #
  • As @aarongleeman mentioned, Slowey has had elbow trouble, and it looks like he's coming out. Turning attention back to Bryan Bullington. #
  • An Edwin Jackson situation for Gardy. Twins' Kevin Slowey has thrown 7 no-hit innings, but has burned through 106 pitches. #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-15

Sunday, August 15th, 2010
  • @SarahSpain Noise pollution. It freaks my dog out. in reply to SarahSpain #
  • Sure sounds like Larry Drew is doing a lot of tweaking to an Atlanta offense that posted 2nd-best offensive efficiency in NBA last season. #
  • @espnchijon A sports bar! Just what that neighborhood needed. in reply to espnchijon #
  • Either they're practicing for this weekend's air show outside, or we're being invaded a la "Red Dawn" #
  • @JohnGasaway Yep. Da'Sean Butler was drafted despite an awfully ugly knee injury. in reply to JohnGasaway #
  • At Basketball Prospectus: a treatment of yesterday's trades in the NBA. http://bit.ly/9K3AKi #
  • Awesome! RT @pfref: FB Blog: Welcome to College Football at Sports-Reference.com http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/blog/?p=9 #
  • @ProfessorParks You forgot predatory, exploitive, community-wrecking and just generally evil. And then there's David Glass... in reply to ProfessorParks #
  • I was critical of the Mike McGlone/Geico commericals at first, but they're getting pretty clever. Love the one with Abe Lincoln. #
  • Rangers win! Great game in Texas. Love the last two months of the baseball regular season. Well, even more than the first four ... #
  • @serhatugur Yep, a formula glitch missed a few of the Hawks' B2Bs. Rest of the data looked fine. Correction made. Thanks! in reply to serhatugur #
  • Kind words! RT @BQRMagic: Now that schedule's out, next big NBA event (for me) is release of this year's Pro Basketball Prospectus. #
  • @KCJHoop Here's a link to the full list: http://bit.ly/97QpWO in reply to KCJHoop #
  • Here's a post with the back-to-back data in one list at Basketball Prospectus Unfiltered: http://bit.ly/auPB3b #
  • My quick and unofficial count of NBA back-to-backs by team: 26. SAS 18; 27. ATL 17; 28. OKC 17; 29. PHX 16; 30. LAL 15. #
  • My quick and unofficial count of NBA back-to-backs by team: 21. TOR 19; 22. UTA 19; 23. GSW 18; 24. NO 18; 25. SAC 18. #
  • My quick and unofficial count of NBA back-to-backs by team: 16. ORL 20; 17. BOS 19; 18. DEN 19; 19. MIA 19; 20. MIN 19. #
  • My quick and unofficial count of NBA back-to-backs by team: 11. IND 21; 12. MEM 21; 13. NY 21; 14. WAS 21; 15. DAL 20. #
  • My quick and unofficial count of NBA back-to-backs by team: 6. NJN 22; 7. PHI 22; 8. POR 22; 9. DET 21; 10. HOU 21. #
  • My quick and unofficial count of NBA back-to-backs by team: 1. CHI 23; 2. MIL 23; 3. CHA 22; 4. CLE 22; 5. LAC 22. #
  • I'd hate to be "Spencer" today, or ever. http://bit.ly/ajUFKe #
  • Has potential to be highly addictive. RT @SebastianPruiti: Introducing NBAPlaybook’s Player Scouting Reports - http://tinyurl.com/247a6ys #

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At the Buzzer: Episode No. 15 Review

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

As I give the topic some brief in-depth consideration, it is amazing how I've went from the brink of panic attacks and anxiety-ridden experiences to a relativley smooth and enjoyable way to deliver my weekly NBA radio show to St. Louis each Saturday.

Going from being a first-time radio show host attempting to navigate the various technical obstacles involved with doing live remote broadcasts from an active sports bar setting ... to the quiet comforts of a professional studio setting is an enormous contrast. As I've mentioned, I am settled into doing my show from the Sports Radio 1380 AM studios at Laclede's Landing in downtown St. Louis. I'm really enjoying it, and feel like I have much to look forward to each week. BIG THANKS to the new co-producer of At the Buzzer ... Producer John!

After almost four months of constant production, the show had its first week off at the end of July as I enjoyed a family vacation in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was a great time! But I found myself very eager to get back to doing the show, and was very pleased with what we came up with this past Saturday.

The challenge I am facing is to get past these next two months before diving into season previews, preseason action, and the upcoming regular season. To me, this is not so much of a challenge as it is an opportunity to show just how much news is going on day-to-day, and how much perspective and insight is available to entertain us each week.

Episode No. 15 was really smooth, as I feel great about a new interview technique I've implemented. Using a high-quality USB microphone, Skype and a good audio-editing software (such as Audacity or Adobe Audition) I can create a studio-like recording from my home office with much ease.

I delivered my weekly opening commentary, with notes on the Chris Bosh controversy, David Lee, Team USA, Mike Krzyzewski and much more. I mentioned that At the Buzzer is now available via iTunes and Podcast, as well as an RSS feed. So, many ways to check on this developing show.

Our final two segments featured a very revealing and substantive interview with Toronto Raptors writer Zarar Siddiqi from RaptorsRepublic.com, who details the Bosh point-of-view from the heart of Toronto hoops culture. We wrapped up with some very solid content about St. Louis native David Lee and his new team, the Golden State Warriors, as well as some other Warriors-related topics with Mike Arnoldi (Olympic Mike) from GoldenStateofMind.com.

GSOM was kind enough to promote our show this week: click here.

For everything related to ATB, please visit my web site - the new Sports Radio 1380 web site is not yet finished.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-08

Sunday, August 8th, 2010
  • Sometimes, I think guys get labeled as good defenders simply because they're lousy on the other end. Gotta be a reason they're in the L ... #
  • The Bogans signing doesn't do it for me. Never liked his game. Bulls still need shooting. #
  • The Rodney Dangerfield of Twitter. RT: @buzzbissinger Actually I have a terrific marriage with wife no. 3. She just doesn't know it. #
  • @AnnaUndercover Lewis Carroll. Nice. Henry Miller, my favorite writer, does a brilliant send-up of Carroll called "Jabberwhorl Cronstadt." in reply to AnnaUndercover #
  • A number of people in my stream are watching Jersey Shore. I'm having serious doubts about you people. #
  • Why does it seem like the Padres and Dodgers are wrapping up like an eight-game series? Do they play anyone else? #
  • Too f'n funny ... RT: @jazayerli Going bald is just one humiliation after another. Today's episode: I just got a mosquito bite on my scalp. #
  • RT: @Kevin_Goldstein Spent a lot of time sketching out a 25-man roster for 2013 #Royals results tomorrow at baseballprospectus.com #
  • @Nick_NoHeart Exactly what it means. Yes! in reply to Nick_NoHeart #
  • @yanks08701 Last year was $19.95 for hard copy or $9.95 for pdf in reply to yanks08701 #
  • The Royals have designated Jose Guillen for assignment. Finally, KC will (mostly) field a lineup worth watching. #
  • At Basketball Prospectus: The books are back! http://bit.ly/9iJ0ga #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-08

Sunday, August 8th, 2010
  • Sometimes, I think guys get labeled as good defenders simply because they're lousy on the other end. Gotta be a reason they're in the L ... #
  • The Bogans signing doesn't do it for me. Never liked his game. Bulls still need shooting. #
  • The Rodney Dangerfield of Twitter. RT: @buzzbissinger Actually I have a terrific marriage with wife no. 3. She just doesn't know it. #
  • @AnnaUndercover Lewis Carroll. Nice. Henry Miller, my favorite writer, does a brilliant send-up of Carroll called "Jabberwhorl Cronstadt." in reply to AnnaUndercover #
  • A number of people in my stream are watching Jersey Shore. I'm having serious doubts about you people. #
  • Why does it seem like the Padres and Dodgers are wrapping up like an eight-game series? Do they play anyone else? #
  • Too f'n funny ... RT: @jazayerli Going bald is just one humiliation after another. Today's episode: I just got a mosquito bite on my scalp. #
  • RT: @Kevin_Goldstein Spent a lot of time sketching out a 25-man roster for 2013 #Royals results tomorrow at baseballprospectus.com #
  • @Nick_NoHeart Exactly what it means. Yes! in reply to Nick_NoHeart #
  • @yanks08701 Last year was $19.95 for hard copy or $9.95 for pdf in reply to yanks08701 #
  • The Royals have designated Jose Guillen for assignment. Finally, KC will (mostly) field a lineup worth watching. #
  • At Basketball Prospectus: The books are back! http://bit.ly/9iJ0ga #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-01

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

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