Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections came out Tuesday morning, which means baseball fans everywhere were busy shouting about how computers are dumb and their favorite team is underrated.
Actually, they’re probably not shouting that in Los Angeles. PECOTA, the projection system originally created by Nate Silver, forecasts the Dodgers as by far the best team in baseball, with a 98-64 record. Los Angeles won 91 games last year despite an onslaught of injuries to the starting rotation, including the back problem that sidelined Clayton Kershaw for much of the second half. This offseason, the Dodgers re-signed Kenley Jansen, Rich Hill and Justin Turner and traded for Logan Forsythe to plug their hole at second base.
PECOTA projects the American League’s best teams will be the Astros (93 wins) and Indians (92 wins).
As for the Cubs? The defending champs and presumptive favorite entering the season are forecasted for 90 wins and another NL Central title.
Other projections of interest include the Cardinals winning only 77 games, the Twins finishing the second place, the Orioles finishing in last place, the Mets topping the Nationals in the NL East and the Mariners cruising to the playoffs.
The projected worst team in baseball? That would be the Padres.
There’s not much sense in criticizing (or praising) these projections too aggressively. Sure some of the outcomes are puzzling, and yes this feels like the hundredth straight year PECOTA has doubted the Royals and Orioles while hyping the Rays, but the computers can process a lot more data than humans can, so they deserve some benefit of the doubt. And in the end, these are just projections. They still have to play the games.
Here are the full projected standings, via Baseball Prospectus:
Red Sox: 90-72
Blue Jays: 82-80
White Sox: 77-85