6-3-09: 2009 Peek at the Picks Vol. 1

Hello again everybody...

We've reached the middle of the week. So far, it seems like it's flown by. Probably because of all the changes at work, I'd imagine. Whatever it is, I hope it keeps the gas to the floor and we get to the weekend as soon as possible. And not just because the Belmont's on Saturday!

Actually, now that I look at our local forecast, maybe it *is* just because the Belmont's on Saturday. I hate to make you wait for that pick by the way, but it's not coming til Friday. Suffice it to say, the post-draw was this morning and Mine That Bird will be running out of the 7-hole (there are 10 horses) in the race and has been installed as a 2-1 favorite. Will I be picking Calvin to win the jockey's version of the Triple Crown? Come back on Friday and find out!

Wait, I didn't mean you should leave now! I've got a whole column ahead of you for chrissakes! I will offer these words of warning: those of you who aren't into numbers, statistics and math are going to be tempted to tune out rather quickly. But don't succumb to that temptation! Just because there are a lot of numbers doesn't mean it's not entertaining! Hang in there! It's worth it, I promise!

Today I debut the bigger, better, 2009 version of Peek at the Picks! With the help of some trusted advisers, I've beefed it up a little this year. Hope you like it!

"We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems."
- John W. Gardner (1912 - 2002), Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson

Life is perspective people. How you approach things is half the battle, right?

«Read More...»

It's in that vein that I bring you the 2009 version of the Peek at the Picks.

So why do I call this a bigger, better version? Because this year, I'm not just evaluating my picks based on the first-place finishers. Rather, I'm including all my picks. And how am I doing that? Via the Sports Take Kelley Formula.

As I mentioned before, I consulted with some trusted advisers trying to devise a way to measure the approximate "correctness" of all of my picks, not just the division winners. If I picked an upstart to finish second in a division, or a stalwart to finish fourth or fifth, that should be noted somehow, right?

Ultimately, with the assistance of my friend Lon Kelley, I settled on what I'm now calling the ST Kelley Formula. And it's not even that complicated! Essentially, I get 4 points for each team which finishes in the position I predicted. Then I deduct a point for each spot separating a team from the position I predicted. For instance, if I picked someone to finish 2nd and they're currently 4th, I get 2 points. If they were in 5th, I get 1 point. And if I picked a team to finish 5th and they're in 1st, I get 0 points. Not that I need that last note, right? Woops, sorry Detroit!

So let's get to the formulating!

AL East:

Dan's Picks: Boston (whom I hate), Tampa, New York, Baltimore, Toronto

Current Standings: New York, Boston (whom I hate) (1 GB), Toronto (2 GB), Tampa (6 GB), Baltimore (7.5 GB)

Kelly Formula Results: 13 out of a possible 20 points.

Analysis: I'm not that far off here. After their hot start Toronto has faded a bit, and if they hit some injury troubles (as teams inevitably do), they might just sink to the bottom as I predicted. Tampa's had a tough go of it. Injuries and a certain amount of "League Champion hangover" have put them in a tough spot. They're not out of the running for the Wild Card, but they can't afford to fall too much further back. New York and Boston (whom I hate) are playing awfully well.

AL Central:

Dan's Picks: Minnesota, Cleveland, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit

Current Standings: Detroit, Minnesota (3.5), Chicago (3.5), Kansas City (5.5), Cleveland (8)

Kelley Formula Results: 1o of a possible 20 points.

Analysis: Once again, I'm struggling with the AL Central. Is it the homer in me? Hard to say. Minnesota is in a tie for second, so they're not that far off. Detroit is once again my Achilles Heel. I picked them to win the whole thing last year and they were terrible. I picked them to finish last this year and they're leading the division. Freaking Tigers! If Minnesota can figure out a few pitching issues, and the Tigers remember they're the Tigers, I'm not far from being back in this thing. Oh, and screw you Cleveland!

AL West:

Dan's Picks: LAAAGOCRCUSPE, Texas, Seattle, Oakland

Current Standings: Texas, LAAAGOCRCUSPE (4.5), Seattle (6), Oakland (9.5)

Kelley Formula Results: 14 of a possible 16 points.

Analysis: Believe it or not, this was only my second best division. LAAAGOCRCUSPE was beset not only by injuries at the beginning of the year, but also by the tragic loss of Nick Adenhart, and they've been struggling to get back on track ever since. Fortunately, their only competition seems to be the Rangers, who are still subject to their traditional July/August swoon. Give Texas credit, they're scoring a ton of runs. But pitching has always been their biggest problem, and I'm not sure they've quite turned that corner yet.

NL East:

Dan's Picks: Phliadelphia, New York, Atlanta, Florida, Washington

Current Standings: Philadelphia, New York (2.5), Atlanta (4.5), Florida (6.5), Washington (16)

Kelley Formula Results: 20 of a possible 20 points.

Analysis: Nailed it! Okay, this one wasn't *all* that hard. Washington finishing 5th was only slightly less predictable than the sun rising tomorrow. After that, the rest pretty much slot into place. There's still a chance that New York can catch the Phillies, but all that money they spent fixing their bullpen hasn't exactly panned out. K-Rod has been solid, but J.J. Putz has been struggling to get through the 8th. It's crazy how small changes in a pitcher's role can mess with his head. And New York's not a fun place to struggle, even if you play for the Mets. Let's just say I don't envy Putz's position at the moment.

NL Central:

Dan's Picks: Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh

Current Standings: Milwaukee, St. Louis (t), Cincinnati (2.5), Chicago (4), Pittsburgh (6), Houston (7)

Kelley Formula Results: 10 of a possible 24 points.

Analysis: Okay, I was WAY off on Houston. Not quite as far off as I was with Seattle last year, but still pretty far. The veterans haven't performed to expectations and the pitching's been average at best. When Roy Oswalt's name is already getting floated in trade rumors, it's easy for me to say that I'm just going to be wrong on that pick. Milwaukee's been a pleasant surprise. Except for that little bump in the road where THEY GOT SWEPT BY THE TWINS (sorry Crew fans, I had to do it), they've been playing excellent baseball. I have no idea how their pitching is holding up, but it is. Gallardo has been outstanding, and the rest of the staff has at least been average. And given the number of runs that the Brewers can score, that's good enough to get them a tie for first with the Cardinals.

NL West:

Dan's Picks: L.A. Dodgers, Arizona, San Francisco, Colorado, San Diego

Current Standings: L.A., San Francisco (9), San Diego (10), Arizona (12.5), Colorado (14.5)

Kelley Formula Results: 14 of a possible 20 points.

Analysis: Well I'm going to get the Dodgers pick right. As for the rest? I still think San Diego's horrible. And once Jake Peavy allows himself to be traded, they're going to get a lot worse. But Arizona's been at least as bad, and doesn't show a lot of signs of getting better. And I don't even know what to say about the Rockies. They fired their manager not long after Arizona did, only they don't have the pitching talent that the D'backs do. Translation? It's going to be a loooooong season in Denver.


Combined Kelley Formula Results: 81 of a possible 120 points (67.5%)

Last Year's Final results: 86 of a possible 120 points (71.7%)

Analysis: Last year I got only one division winner right (Cubs), so far this year I've got two (Philadelphia and L.A.) and am in sniffing distance of three more. So I don't hate where I'm at. It's interesting to me that I'm doing best in the NL East, which is the division I did the best in last year. And struggling most in the AL Central, where I struggled mightily last year as well. All in all, I'm off to an okay start, but lots of room for improvement.

So there you have it. The first edition of the 2009 Peek at the Picks. Hopefully it wasn't so math intensive that it scared anybody off. Special thanks again to Lon for all his help in putting it together. Comments, as always, are more than welcome.

That's it for today. Check back on Friday when I drop some DFTU on you and bring you my Belmont pick as well.

Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. Yay! Math!

    Heh, I got a shout-out. Next, we're going to have to hook up with Jon and re-hash out our computer rating system for college football again....again...and again. 'Cause it's that much fun.

  2. You guys put it together, and I'll be happy to publish the results!