Few things are more difficult than predicting baseball, but that doesn’t stop MLB experts from giving it a shot every pre- and postseason. Looking at the roster of predictions prior to the 2014 playoffs, many respected minds from top media outlets (and MLB front offices) have already been guaranteed to be wrong about who is advancing to the World Series. Here are five MLB experts (or groups of experts) who swung and missed on their postseason picks.
We gave credit to Keith Olbermann for his convincing take on Derek Jeter’s farewell tour, but the big guy will have to take a demerit on this one. After running down how many preseason predictions he nailed in 2014 (an impressive 15 of 26), Keith set his sights on this year’s playoffs.
“Bluntly, I think one team is going to blow through the postseason,” Olbermann concluded on his late-night ESPN show. “They might lose no more than four or five games in October. That team? Your 2014 World Series Champion Washington Nationals.”
MLB front office executives
ESPN’s Jayson Stark, himself a highly respected baseball mind, polled some “15 astute baseball executives” from different teams before the playoffs began to see how they saw the postseason unfolding. (These MLB executives were from teams that did not make the playoffs.)
As for National League picks, every astute front office figure got the prediction wrong. The breakdown reveals 12 picking the Nationals for the NL pennant, while two chose Pittsburgh and one had the Dodgers. (All three teams have been eliminated.) In fairness to these MLB insiders, two picked Baltimore to win the World Series, so there’s still a chance these numbers will improve — slightly.
ESPN baseball experts
ESPN has such a large stable of expert MLB reporters and analysts that it is hard to keep track of them all. From Buster Olney and Peter Gammons to Tim Kurkjian and Barry Larkin, each has the ability to make a convincing argument backed by logic and experience. In the case of the 2014 MLB postseason, however, 39 of 70 experts had the Nationals winning the NLCS, while 37 had the Nats winning the World Series. The top vote-getter to win the American League Championship Series was the Angels, followed by the Detroit Tigers.
Fox Sports experts
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports may have the most access to baseball executives and players among all media figures. Along with his colleague Jon Morosi, Rosenthal chose the Nationals (the bête noire of so many experts) to win the World Series. The three other Fox Sports baseball minds — Rob Neyer, Gabe Kapler, and C.J. Nitkowski — chose the A’s, Angels, and Pirates, respectively, to go the distance in 2014. Obviously, no one is winning the pool in that office.
Las Vegas oddsmakers have their own system in place when predicting World Series winners. Naturally, teams from the largest cities attract the best odds so a high volume of underdog bids doesn’t bankrupt the sports book. Nonetheless, Bovada’s top four teams favored to win the World Series have all been eliminated. The Dodgers (5-1), the Angels (5-1), the Nationals (11-2), and the Tigers (6-1) have already exited stage left this postseason. Bad news for Vegas: underdogs like the Giants (12-1) and Royals (16-1) are still going strong.