Sunday, April 04, 2004
ESPN Expert PicksPosted by Ben Jacobs
ESPN.com has its annual baseball expert predictions up. They had 17 people pick the six division winners, two wild card winners, World Series results and six major award winners. As usual, there are some interesting results. I'm not going to tell you everything because you should go check it out yourself, but I crunched the numbers and wanted to share some of them.
No team was picked to make the playoffs by every expert, but three teams (the Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs) were picked by all but one expert. Interestingly, 16 experts picked both the Red Sox and Yankees to make it while Jim Caple picked neither to make it. Caple has the Blue Jays winning the AL East and the Angels winning the wild card.
So who do the experts favor in the AL East? Well, aside from Caple, half of them picked the Red Sox and the other half picked the Yankees.
The two worst divisions (the AL Central and NL West) had the same distribution among three teams. Minnesota and San Francisco were each picked seven times, the White Sox and Diamondbacks were picked six times and Kansas City and San Diego were picked four times each.
The two teams picked to win their division the most were Anaheim and Philadelphia. Each team was picked by 13 experts and each team was also picked as the wild card once.
There were 17 different teams picked to make the post-season by at least one person. The best team that nobody picked? Seattle.
You think people are hoping for a Red Sox/Cubs World Series? Chicago was picked to reach the World Series by nine people and Boston was picked by eight. Four people picked them to both make it. Boston was picked to win the most World Series (6) as the AL was picked to win the World Series by all but three people (each of whom picked the Cubs).
For the awards, eight different players were named for the AL MVP, with Alex Rodriguez (5) and Vlad Guerrero (4) leading the way. Albert Pujols was picked as the NL MVP by nine people, but only Bob Klapisch expects Barry Bonds to win his fourth straight award.
Nine different pitchers were picked as the AL Cy Young, but more than half the picks were Boston starters. Curt Schilling was picked five times and Pedro Martinez was picked three times. In the NL, a Cub was the overwhelming favorite, but not the one you would have expected a month ago. Kerry Wood was picked by 10 of the 17 experts.
Two relief pitchers were picked as Cy Young winners, but neither was Eric Gagne. Klapisch picked Mariano Rivera in the AL and John Kruk picked Billy Wagner in the NL.
Tony Gwynn didn't pick Rookie of the Year winners, but 15 of the other 16 picked either Bobby Crosby (9) or Joe Mauer (6) in the AL. Kaz Matsui was picked by seven people in the NL, with nobody else getting more than three votes.
By the way, if you're wondering what we think, check back Monday. We'll have our own "expert" predictions up first thing in the morning.
Ben Jacobs can be reached via e-mail.