Many stories have circulated the past couple of weeks about how difficult it is to pick a perfect bracket. The numbers have ranged anywhere from 1-in-9.2 quintillion (or 1-in-2 to the 63rd power) to 1-in-128 billion (a seemingly more scientific study).
We think MLB.com's Beat the Streak, which has a $5.6 million grand prize, is easier. A lot easier. Like, 6 trillion times easier.
For the purposes of our bold statement, we're going to use the 9.2 quintillion number. Why? Because quintillion is a fun word, and we don't get to use it that often.
So how did we reach our own 6 trillion number? Simple math that any second grader (or someone with a PhD in Statistics -- either way) could do.
Looking at our data of all users who have amassed streaks of at least 38 games in the past five years (two-thirds of the way to the required 57 games), we noticed that the average person picked 10.3 players during their streak.
Next, we looked at the top 10 players for each of the five seasons from 2009-13 based on hit rate (the percentage of games in which a player appeared that the player successfully got a hit). We also only took players who played in at least two-thirds of games in those seasons (108 or more games).
Taking all 50 qualifying players from this group, the average player got a hit 77.9 percent of the time. Assuming a BTS player selects from only from among these hitters, their odds of breaking 56 games fall at around 1.52 million to 1 (.779 to the 57th power).
Finally, 9.2 quintillion divided by 1.52 million comes out to a little over 6 trillion. Got it?
While some will claim the odds of beating the streak are much higher than 1.52 million to one, we've had several people come within 10 games of pulling off the feat. In fact, in 2006, one user put together back to back streaks of 31 and 27, meaning that if Joe Crede hadn't been unable to get a hit on June 27 of that year, our streak would have been broken eight years back.
Time will tell if Year 14 finally produces our first winner.