New Jersey Institute of Technology professor Bruce Bukiet, a mathematician who has applied mathematical modeling techniques to the dynamics of scoring in baseball, has computed the probability of the Rays and Phillies winning the World Series now that the Rays have defeated the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. He recently released the names of those most deserving of Major League Baseball's prestigious 2008 Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Cy Young awards.
This is the eighth year that Bukiet has used his model to determine whether it is worthwhile to wager on games each day of the baseball season. His picks (posted on www.egrandslam.com) have led to positive results for six of the past eight years.
Bukiet dives annually into such terrain in part for his love of the game, but also for his love of teaching and math. "Baseball can be a terrific learning tool," said Bukiet. "It demonstrates how math is all around us."
With the World Series set to begin Wednesday night in Tampa Bay, the model gives the Rays a 59 percent chance of winning the series with most probable outcomes being a Rays championship in 6 (20 percent chance) or 7 (19 percent chance) games. "I'm sure my friends who are Phillies fans are not happy about these numbers," said Bukiet. Updates on the chances of each team winning the World Series based on the outcome of each game and changes in prospective starters are posted at: http://m.njit.edu/bukiet/baseball/playoffs08.htm
Bukiet's method uses each player's 2008 season statistics. He then applies a Markov process approach to modeling production of runs in baseball games. Bukiet first presented this mathematical model in 1997 in Operations Research. His method can be used for a number of purposes including predicting how many games a team should win in a season, the expected influence of trades and whether to wager on a game.