Back in March, we decided to handle baseball predictions a little differently.
Meet Kitty Sanchez: Kitty is nine years old, a cat, and, as far as I know, is not a devoted baseball fan. What we are here to find out today is whether or not these things will get in the way of her ability to accurately predict the outcome of the 2013 Major League Baseball season.
The idea behind this was that basically anyone can make predictions about baseball, that the prediction business is such a crapshoot that even a cat had the same chance of correctly choosing the World Series winner as someone who is paid to do this as a profession. Now, with the season behind us, we can take a look to see just how accurate the internet's most adorable prognosticator was.
No, really, she's super cute.
If you need a reminder of how Kitty Sanchez went about picking her playoff teams and eventual winner, the whole thing can be found here through the wonders of hyperlinks. Now, on to the results.
Kitty picked the Orioles to win the American League East, the Royals the AL Central, and the Angels the West. While it would not have been prescient, in the eyes of many, to select the Orioles or Royals as legitimate playoff contenders, the Angels were seen as a pre-season favorite. To Kitty's credit, she was only as wrong on Angels as many others were, and was closer to right on the Orioles and Royals than most, given Baltimore finished at 85-77, six games back from a wild card, and the Royals came even closer at 86-76.
Our feline friend had much better luck with her selection of the Red Sox as an AL wild card and eventual American League Championship Series entrant, but not so much with the Astros, who finished with the worst record in the majors. She also missed the boat with the Angels as the AL's champion, but again, Red Sox in the ALCS is better than most accomplished: Just three of ESPN's 43 participants correctly selected the Sox as a playoff team, and none of them had the Sox reaching the World Series, either.
Over in the Senior Circuit, Kitty picked the Nationals as the NL East champion, with the Brewers taking the Central and the defending-champion Giants pulling through in the West. She correctly identified one wild card, the Reds, and missed on the other, the Mets, who ended up finishing with a protected draft pick thanks to their poor record. The Nationals missed the playoffs by four games, while the Brewers were well back of the pace at 74-88. The Giants, as Grant Brisbee reminded us all constantly, were a mess, and ended up tied for third place in the Dodgers-dominated NL West.
That's a shame, since Kitty picked them to meet up with the Angels in the World Series. Of ESPN's 43 predictions, 36 of them had the Giants in the playoffs, but none of them had San Francisco reaching the Fall Classic.
Kitty picked the Angels to triumph over the Giants, in a case of an off-season favorite defeating the previous season's champion. Three of ESPN's experts also picked the Angels to win, with another two having Los Angeles reach the World Series, but fail to come out champions. Only two of ESPN's predictions were without the Angels reaching the playoffs at all, so they were a popular pick in general, even outside of the feline realm.
While her picks weren't incredibly accurate, she correctly picked the Reds to be a wild card, was closer than most on the Orioles and Royals -- just two of ESPN's predictions had the Royals in October, with six going for Baltimore -- and had the Red Sox reaching the ALCS. When you adjust for the fact she's a cat, that's some pretty solid preseason predicting. When you look at what most other people picked, you probably don't even have to adjust for her species for that to hold true.
Just so we had a baseline to use besides ESPN's, I tossed my own predictions in last March at the end of Kitty's article: it wouldn't be very nice of me to judge them for their picks without making my own, you know. Mine went decidedly better than Kitty's, so at least she won't be replacing me as an SBNation.com editor. Not yet, anyway.
AL East: Rays; Red Sox (wild card)
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Rangers; Angels (wild card)
ALCS: Rays over Red Sox
NL East: Braves; Nationals (wild card)
NL Central: Reds; Cardinals (wild card)
NL West: Dodgers
NLCS: Braves over Nationals
World Series: Braves over Rays
It could have been more accurate, sure, but I only missed badly on one playoff team -- I also picked the Angels, who pitched even worse than I imagined they would -- and my LCS predictions ended up being LDS match-ups instead. Given the outcome and my allegiances, however, I'll take being wrong on where the Red Sox' season ended, especially since I wasn't upstaged by my cat on that one.