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UNU Releases its 2017 MLB Predictions



In October of 2016, the stars aligned, unicorns appeared, pigs flew and hell froze over as the Chicago Cubs ended a 108 year championship drought by winning the World Series. It wasn’t just the accomplishment, either, so much as the improbable way it was done, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to win it all in seven games. Who could have seen that coming? Not many experts, but UNU, the world's first Swarm A.I. technology did just that, long before the postseason started.

In 2017, the Cubs will try to become the first team since the 2000 Yankees to repeat as World Series Champions. At the same time, UNU is putting its remarkable predictive record on the line by stepping up to the plate and calling its shot for the postseason. To find out if either of them is up for the challenge, researchers at Unanimous A.I. recently brought together a swarm of baseball fans in UNU to predict how the 2017 Major League Baseball season would play out.

Predicting the baseball postseason a full six months and 2,400 games before it becomes reality is obviously a difficult task, but it is one that sports experts and statistical analysts across the country attempt every spring. The list of factors that can affect how teams finish in the regular season is lengthy and complex, and present a challenge for even the most knowledgeable of experts. And yet, that's exactly what our Swarm A.I. accomplished in 2016, when an UNU Swarm composed of Boston Globe readers correctly picked 9 out 10 playoff teams, the correct World Series matchup, and even the historic Chicago Cubs World Series Victory.

How is that possible? The secret is Swarm A.I., a combination of real-time human input and A.I. algorithms. Rather than rely on a single expert or computer program to process massively complex data systems, UNU relies on the individual smarts of swarm participants. These participating baseball fans all bring some of their own knowledge to bear on these questions. Some may know which young hitters are raking all over the park in spring training. Some other fans may have seen a local report on their hometown team about a rookie pitcher hitting triple digits on a radar gun. Perhaps they caught an exhibition game on TV and noticed a reliable veteran’s swing showing signs of age.

Our Swarm A.I. platform processes all of that information from individuals and helps a swarm to build a consensus among them. So what does UNU have to say about the 2017 pennant races?

Click here for replays of all the swarm’s picks!

In the American League, UNU has strong faith in the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Texas Rangers to win their respective divisions. That certainly comes as no surprise to Sox and Tribe fans. Boston turned a blockbuster deal in the winter to add Chris Sale to its ace pitching staff. Cleveland waited out the rest of the league and signed free agent slugger Edward Encarnacion to bolster an already potent offense. The swarm must also think that the Rangers’ pitching is healthy enough to hold off a hungry Astros team.

For the National League, everything’s coming up Cubs. The Swarm has the Northsiders picked to win the Central, with the Nationals set to win the East and the Dodgers picked to prevail over the Giants in the West. Although the Baby Bears lost closer Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees and centerfield sparkplug Dexter Fowler to their division rivals in St. Louis, the additions of Wade Miller and a full season of healthy Kyle Schwarber has the swarm leaning Chicago’s way.

In the playoffs, UNU sees a couple of fascinating October fights. The swarm picked Boston to prevail for the AL pennant over a game wild card-qualifying Astros team. In the National League, UNU stayed on the Cub bandwagon, having them defeating Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers for the NL flag.

UNU's predicted Fall Classic in October will be music to baseball fans' ears. If this comes true, we might be one of the most exciting World Series in recent memory, pitting two storied baseball franchises against one another in the postseason for the first time. Who takes the hardware in this potential matchup that the swarm foresees? As a certain Northside icon used to say, “Cubs win! Cubs win!”

UNU will be back this weekend with swarm picks for Opening Day games, as well as picks next week from our regular groups that forecast everything from sports to entertainment to current events. If you’d like to get our weekly newsletter showing off the power of swarm intelligence, check us out at UNU.

For comparison's sake, here is how ESPN's FiveThirtyEight sees the season playing out: