Red Sox Nation is already confident in this year's team. Now, they have another reason to believe that Boston could be on its way to a fantastic season.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Dimitis Bertsimas used quantitative models based on player analytics to determine that the Red Sox will record 101 wins, according to Reuters.
"A player is a vector of numbers and from that, we can make accurate predictions of how many runs they will score and translate those to overall team statistics," he said in an MIT press release.
Bertsimas is a professor of operations research at MIT's Sloan School of Management and wrote his Ph.D. thesis on probabilistic combinatorial optimization problems. He released his findings in his research paper, "The Analytics Edge in Baseball," that he worked on with student Allison O'Hair.
"Now I am a big baseball fan. It’s not so much the sport that captivates me; it’s the math. More than any other sport, baseball lends itself perfectly to quantitative analysis. There are 162 regular season games in baseball, compared to 82 in basketball and 16 in football. This amounts to a larger sample size for statistical analysis. Plus, the ratio of the seven largest payrolls to the seven smallest in major league baseball is 4 to 1, compared to 1.75 to 1 in the NBA and 1.5 to 1 in the NFL. This gives more incentive for general managers of less wealthy teams to get great players at lower price," the professor wrote on the MIT Sloan Experts blog.
"All teams have the same goal: make the playoffs," he added. "The wish to make the playoffs is due to the extra revenue gained from more ticket sales, an increased fan base, and more media attention. However, for the less rich teams to even think about gaining more revenue, they have to get to the playoffs on a much smaller budget. And that’s not easy to do."
Though a Red Sox fan, Bertsimas didn't keep his research strictly in Boston. He is also predicting that the New York Yankees will win 93 games.
The Tampa Bay Rays will finish behind the Red Sox with 100 wins, the Baltimore Orioles will fall behind the Yankees with 83 wins and the Toronto Blue Jays will sit in the AL East cellar with 80 wins.
According to the Boston Globe, Bertsimas has a decent track record; last year he predicted 90 wins for the Sox and they ended the season with 89.
Don't bother asking him to predict the playoffs, however.
"In a five-game series, the worst team in baseball will still beat the best team in baseball 15 percent of the time. Analytical principles are very useful for getting a team to the playoffs, but they are much less helpful once the playoffs start because the level of randomness is much higher. Any general manager worth his salt sees his job as getting the team to the playoffs, but once they get that far, luck plays a much larger role."