WNYC in New York's Brian Lehrer is fond of humorously describing some of the call-in polling/projecting he does around elections as being "thoroughly unscientific".
USA TODAY Sports got into the unscientific projection game this afternoon with what they described as a "semi-scientific stab" a projecting the standings for Major League Baseball in 2016.
Fangraphs.com released its projected standings for 2016 earlier this year, "taking the individual Steamer projections and the playing time projections from [their] depth charts to produce win-loss records for every team in baseball."
Their projections for 2016 had the Washington Nationals winning the NL East for the third time in the last five years with a projected total of 88 wins (to the defending division winning New York Mets' 85 wins).
USA TODAY Sports' reporter Gabe Lacques, who did the write-up, offered the following caveat in his article accompanying their projected standings:
"Unlike Las Vegas, our win totals are based on exactly how many games we think each team will win – with no need to make adjustments for the betting public’s anticipated reaction. And unlike the many excellent projection models out there, we are not beholden to formulas [which are] capable of producing strikingly accurate statistical projections, but lack an occasionally necessary human element."
USA TODAY's projections have the Nationals winning the NL East as well, with a total of 89 wins (to the Mets' 87 projected wins).
After the obligatory political reference since he's writing about Washington, D.C. (he goes topical with a SCOTUS joke), Lacques writes that USA TODAY's writers think, "... it all comes together for [Stephen] Strasburg just in time for free agency, Anthony Rendon stays healthy, Dusty Baker keeps everyone sane and the Nationals (89 wins) fulfill their destiny a year later than imagined."
Dang it, I thought no one was going to predict that the Nationals were going to win the division so that they could prove everyone wrong? So much for that narrative... unless you talk to New York Mets fans, who are sure their team will repeat as division winners on their way to the World Series and a potential dynasty...
[ed. note - "We don't know any Mets fans who actually said this."]
Also, we'll just offer one more edit to Mr. Lacques regarding his suggestion that the Nats will "fulfill their destiny" this season: I believe it's pronounced "Dustiny" or, alternately, as George McFly said, "density"...
Here are USA TODAY Sports' projected MLB standings for 2016: