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PECOTA doesn’t like the Phillies’ division chances

And it REALLY doesn’t like Atlanta’s chances

Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

We’ve all seen the PECOTA projections from Baseball Prospectus before. Why, not long ago I gave you some of the high points and low points that were spewn forth from the system about the Phillies, showing that it likes Bryce Harper, really likes Alec Bohm and isn’t too sad about the seemingly lost season of Spencer Howard. But what it didn’t show you was the way PECOTA feels the division race will shape up, mostly because they hadn’t given it yet.

Well today is the day, friends. We finally get to see the first projected standings for the NL East given by PECOTA and, well, it’s not what you’d expect.

That is not what was expected at all. Let’s break it down.

  • First off, the Phillies seem just about right. By talent level of the entire roster, this does look like a .500 team that needs some things to break right for them to get into the playoff picture with a little more certainty. The fact that they look like they’ll score more runs than they will allow is a positive sign, given what we saw from the bullpen last year. The system must really believe in that starting pitching at the top. But judging from that, this bullpen, the consensus weakest part of the team, must really overachieve in order to make the season interesting.
  • The Mets - well hey now. Francisco Lindor is a real upgrade, huh? The gains made by players like Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis last year look like they’ll be real enough that this is a nearly 100 win team? Color me skeptical about the offense, but that front three on the pitching staff must be driving this projection and with good reason. Trotting out Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Marcus Stroman three out of five days is a nice luxury to have for the team. Having back prime Edwin Diaz helps that bullpen a lot, so maybe this projection isn’t so crazy.
  • The Braves though? Wow. Can’t say that I agree with PECOTA on this one. Without digging into the numbers, we’ll have to assume that they don’t like the ability of the pitching staff, nor are they crazy about the depth of the team. Ozzie Albies backslid a tiny bit in 2020, so maybe that’s part of the culprit? Also, were these projections run before or after the Marcell Ozuna signing?
  • With Washington, the pitching staff probably also leads this one, their collective bouncing back being the key to the Nationals’ season. IF Stephen Strasburg can stay healthy, IF Max Scherzer can use a truncated season to save his arm, IF Patrick Corbin can rebound from a rough 2020....boy that’s a big house of cards there in our nation’s capital.
  • The Marlins aren’t good and we need to stop pretending they are a threat.

PECOTA has a tendency to be wrong a lot, something the creators at BP freely admit. Having Atlanta projected as a near .500 team doesn’t feel right at all. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.