Take them as a grain of salt or treat them as reassurance to a personal claim, but either way PECOTA projections, (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test) were released on Monday for the 2013 baseball season.
By no means is PECOTA something to rely on, but it is still telling the simulations project the Yankees to win the American League East, perhaps baseball’s closest division.
The other winners were fairly predictable: The Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers were all tabbed to win all the other divisions with the: Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants winning wildcard spots. The Yankees were selected in the east, nearly a full four games ahead of the Rays and over five games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Vegas favorites to win the World Series.
One major flaw in the system is PECOTA doesn’t account for health, just talent, and the Yankees happen to have one of the oldest teams in the game. It’s also unrealistic to think there will be no 91 game winners as the Tigers are projected to reach 89.9 victories, the most out of any team.
At 88-74, the Yankees would be the worst East winner since its own 2000 version, a team who went on to win the World Series and they are projected at a 69.9% chance of reaching the playoffs in 2013.
The Blue Jays, widely considered the favorite in the division are being given just 82.7 wins and last year’s wildcard Baltimore Orioles team was treated rudely with just 74.8 wins in the simulation.
While the win totals may not match up due to computer reliance and lack of logic in terms of head to head matchups, the sentiment remains not only will the East be a tight race from top to bottom, but there may not be a team winning much more than in the low 90’s amount this season.
The Boston Red Sox perhaps come out the best out of any team. A 93 loss team in 2012, the Red Sox fired its manager, traded most of its highest contracts midseason and will have to rely on younger players making an impact, something traditionally frowned upon by PECOTA, yet still manage to leap to a 83.6 win projection.
For the record, PECOTA predicted the Yankees to win 95 games last season (which they did) 92 games in 2011 (they won 97) and missing the playoff entirely in 2010 (despite 93 projected wins, a season they won 95 games and home field advantage).