Experts’ Consensus:
Twins to Win 2005 World Series

by Jeff Lewis

In an ongoing search for conventional wisdom, I’ve created a compilation of prognostications for the upcoming baseball season from twenty-six so-called baseball experts around the nation. The results were, for the most part, expected, and indicate that there will likely be only two compelling playoff races—the NL West and the NL Wild Card. However, I found one prediction surprising: 37% of the experts picked the Minnesota Twins to reach the World Series, while the Yankees and Red Sox received 26% and 21% respectively. This is not a very scientific survey and the eleven-point spread between the Twins and Yankees is only a plurality, but it’s interesting that a low budget squad that plays in a park with a giant plastic bag on the right field wall is good enough to be mentioned as equals with the Bronx Bombers and BoSox, with their $121-205 million payrolls.

Here’s the complete breakdown; the values indicate the percentage of experts that picked each team to reach the World Series:

American League
Minnesota 37%
New York 26%
Boston 21%
Los Angeles of Anaheim 16%

National League
Atlanta 32%
Florida 32%
St. Louis 16%
San Francisco 11%
San Diego 5%
Philadelphia 4%

To analyze the predicted playoff results, I created a fancy statistic called Babblofactor-WS, which I prefer not to explain too carefully, or in fear of ruining its mystical qualities. Suffice it to say, it is highly accurate, although I must add this disclaimer: do not use it to make any bets or purchase playoff tickets.

Spoiler Alert! Here are the results of the 2005 Major League Playoffs, in case you can’t wait until October. If you want to be surprised, please skip past this section:

American League
Division Series
Minnesota defeats Boston in six games
New York defeats Los Angeles of Anaheim in six
League Championship Series
Minnesota defeats New York in seven

National League
Division Series
Atlanta defeats St. Louis in five
Florida sweeps San Francisco; in three of the games, the Giants have the games sewn up, only to be undone by errors from Gold Glovers Metheny, Vizquel and Snow. Babblofactor-WS doesn’t state this explicitly. I just know.
League Championship Series
Atlanta defeats Florida in seven; here, I find Babblofactor-WS’s results impossible to comprehend. The laws of nature would need to be reversed for the Braves to beat the Marlins in the playoffs. The only thing that could account for this is an outpouring of political correctness in the ATL, causing Braves fans to cease the Seminole war chant.

World Series
Minnesota defeats Atlanta in seven games

That’s all pretty interesting, but I have more! I created another enigmatic statistical category called Babblofactor-RS, to track the results of the divisional races. Here are the predicted standings in Major League Baseball for 2005, with a little commentary thrown in. The Babblofactor-RS value is in parentheses. By the way, if you want to read an even more detailed projection of the 2005 season, the website Diamond Mind Baseball has predicted the number of wins that each team will have. It has also critiqued the 2004 predictions of a number of experts and media outlets.

National League West
Packed with competent players and mid-nineties All-Stars, the Giants could be the first team to have every starting player spend time on the disabled list. Without access to The Clear/Flaxseed Oil, the team may be slower to heal than in recent seasons. The Padres made no substantial off-season acquisitions—Woody Williams replaces David Wells, one crafty problematic veteran for another—but they have one of the better lineups in the National League and two great relief pitchers, not to mention the talented Jake Peavy, so changes weren’t necessary. I would like to see them to trade for someone with a fat sausage neck, however. The team that brought us Tony Gwynn and John “I am not a” Kruk is looking a little too svelte.

Nobody knows quite what to make of the Dodgers, but with Eric Gagne on the disabled list, they are missing some intensity. Thankfully, with the acquisition of catcher Jason Phillips, they still have at least one active player with silly goggles. The D-backs have improved enough to avoid losing 111 games again, but they didn’t learn their lesson from last year’s Richie Sexson fiasco and have sunk a lot of resources—Shawn Green, Troy Glaus and Luis Gonzales are slated to make over $34 million in 2005—into players with structural damage to their shoulders. As for the Rockies, this team is only of interest if you are hypercompetitive in fantasy baseball.

1. San Francisco Giants (Babblofactor-RS=94)
2. San Diego Padres (87)
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (44)
4. Arizona Diamondbacks (27)
5. Colorado Rockies (15)

National League Central
I sincerely hope that the Cubs nudge out the Cardinals for the division title, so that during the playoffs we’re treated to visuals of Dusty Baker’s lizard tongue instead of Tony LaRussa’s mullet and his four-plus trips to the mound.

1. St. Louis Cardinals (141)
2. Chicago Cubs (58)
3. Cincinnati Reds (28)
4. Houston Astros (24)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (14)
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (7)

National League East
It’s rather embarrassing when you break the bank for free agent players—i.e. the Mets with Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran—but still the pundits don’t think you can crack the top three in your division. That’s partially due to the Atlanta Braves, who haven’t lost the division since the George H. W. Bush administration.

Speaking of Bush, this from Clinton (George that is): “God bless Chocolate City and its vanilla suburbs.” The Washington Nationals née Expos blew a golden opportunity this off season when they passed on Washington’s old Negro League nickname, the Grays, to settle for the nondescript Nationals.

1. Florida Marlins (121)
2. Atlanta Braves (119)
3. Philadelphia Phillies (58)
4. New York Mets (26)
5. Washington Nationals (14)

American League West
I’m disappointed that the city of Anaheim has not taken a hard line against the Angels and their ridiculous name change. The solution: withhold water and power in the home locker room and close the team’s parking lot. After players are forced to carpool to games in their uniforms like little leaguers, the team will drop the L.A. from its name.

1. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (a.k.a. The The Angels Angels of Anaheim) (135)
2. Oakland A's (41)
3. Seattle Mariners (35)
4. Texas Rangers (33)

American League Central
The Twins are not the Yankees or Red Sox, but they’re good enough to win this division again. The experts that picked them to win the World Series must be banking on the home field advantage from the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

1. Minnesota Twins (148)
2. Cleveland Indians (43)
3. Chicago White Sox (37)
4. Detroit Tigers (26)
5. Kansas City Royals (14)

American League East
The Yankees haven’t lost the division since 1997 and they still look good on paper, despite the fact that the roster is filled to the rafters with overpaid players. That’s because they’ve got the good overpaid players.

1. Boston Red Sox (145)
2. New York Yankees (140)
3. Baltimore Orioles (24)
4. Toronto Blue Jays (18)
5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays (14)

Individual Honors
If you’ve gotten this far, I might as well add the experts’ MVP, Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year picks:

National League
Albert Pujols, St. Louis – 50%
Orlando Cabrera, Florida – 28%
Carlos Delgado, Florida – 11%

Cy Young Award
Jason Schmidt, San Francisco – 33%
Tim Hudson, Atlanta – 28%
Jake Peavy, San Diego – 11%

Rookie of the Year
Chris Burke, Houston – 26%
Gavin Floyd, Philadelphia – 21%
Jeff Francis, Colorado – 16%
Garrett Atkins, Colorado – 11%

American League
Alex Rodriguez, New York – 28%
Manny Ramirez, Boston – 17%
Hideki Matsui, New York – 11%
Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles of Anaheim – 11%
David Ortiz, Boston – 11%

Cy Young Award
Randy Johnson, New York – 44%
Johann Santana, Minnesota – 28%
Rich Harden, Oakland – 11%

Rookie of the Year
Jeremy Reed, Seattle – 32%
Dallas McPherson, Los Angeles of Anaheim – 16%
Scott Kazmir, Tampa Bay – 11%
Huston Street, Oakland – 11%
Nick Swisher, Oakland – 11%

Copyright Jeff Lewis, 2005.