Baseball Prospectus has made headlines with its PECOTA projection system in recent years, most notably in the algorithm’s disregard for the Kansas City Royals.
That hasn’t changed in 2017, as the computer projects the Royals to be the worst team in the American League this season. But it sure does love the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The full PECOTA projections for the upcoming season were released Tuesday, and expectations are highest for the Dodgers, who are pegged for a 98-64 season. That’s five wins better than the top projected AL team, the Houston Astros at 93-69.
Other projected division winners include the Cleveland Indians (92-70) — the only AL Central team tabbed for more than 79 wins — Boston Red Sox (90-72), Chicago Cubs (90-72) and New York Mets (88-74).
On the bottom end, the Royals are pegged for a 71-91 season as their feud with the Baseball Prospectus computer continues. Heading into the 2015 season, PECOTA infamously projected just 72 wins out of the defending AL champion Royals, and Kansas City players actually cited the virtual snub as motivation when they rolled to 95 wins and their first World Series title in 30 years.
PECOTA, which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, did pretty well in its 2016 forecast. It correctly projected all five NL playoff teams but was a bit optimistic on the Astros and Rays (as it is again in 2017). Those two ended up missing the playoffs as the Rangers and Orioles exceeded the computer’s expectations and made it to October.
Check out the full projections for 2017 here.