Remember last year, when Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projections pegged the Cubs as a mediocre club and everyone flipped their ish? That was fun. The raw numbers aren’t much better this season, but finishing ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers is at least a step in the right direction. Only trouble is, the Cubs’ 85 projected wins still have them falling a game back of the very active Reds.
Just in case you’re grousing about how these projections are treating your team like a group of disgruntled umpires, remember that they’re actually objective. They don’t hate you or your team. Well, maybe your team. But given our audience, that would mean they hate the Cubs, and that isn’t the case.
Please remember that PECOTA and our simulations do not “pick” a team to “win” any particular number of games. Rather, they identify an estimated range of games a team might win and tells you the average of that fairly wide range. That is the point of the visualizations. Any one of those outcomes is possible. However, some of them, as you can see, are more likely than others.
Also remember that it’s early: Pitchers and catchers are just trading tee times for bullpen sessions. These standings will continue to be tuned over the next several weeks until we reach Opening Day. Do not be surprised if your team moves up or down a few games as rosters finalize and additional tweaks are made.
Oh, and did I mention that those 85 wins — the actual projection is 84.5 and 77.5 — would be good enough to capture a Wild Card spot? As much fun as it would be to break this stuff down six ways from Sunday, I’ve got some pressing appointments pulling me from my computer. Not only that, but this is all pretty self-explanatory. Have at it in the comments and mark this for future conversations.