PECOTA — Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm — was created by Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus back in the early 2003 and continues to be a great analysis of what’s to come.
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Hell, they nailed the hammer right on the nail with the 2016 Atlanta Braves. In February of 2016, BP released their PECOTA wins totals and they had the Braves winning 68 games. Well, the Braves went on to win 68 games. In 2015, they projected the Braves to win 73 games but they only won 67 that year. Still, six games off isn’t that bad.
What I’m getting at is BP’s PECOTA rankings are a great scope of what’s to come. It’s probably the most accurate prediction system for baseball.
Can we be pissed or upset at what the computers shoot out at us? Absolutely. But we have to be realistic…computers don’t lie. — or do they?? That’s another topic.
Before we get any further with what the PECOTA actually predicted, let’s make sure you understand what this is.
PECOTA isn’t just your typical “projections”. This system looks at the projections of performances of individual players. They use the individual stats, depth charts, to figure out the projected runs for and against each team. This is how they get their wins total.
2017 PECOTA’s Predictions
Alright, so now that (hopefully) you understand this system a little better, let’s look at the numbers.
PECOTA predicts the Braves will win 76 games in the 2017 season. This would place Atlanta 4th in the division in front of the Philadelphia Phillies — projected 74 wins, what?!?
The Mets are projected to win the NL East with 88 wins, followed by the Nationals with 87 wins and the Marlins with 77 wins.
BP is extremely high on the Dodgers this season as they’re projected to win 98 games. WOW. Cubs didn’t even get that last year…they got 92 wins. LA has the highest total of wins given out in 2017.
The Braves are tied for the fourth lowest win total in the NL (tied with the Cardinals, Brewers and Rockies). They’re tied for the seventh lowest in the MLB…A’s, Royals and O’s have the lower win total.
Looking At The Braves Projections
So we covered where the Braves stack up in the NL East, but let’s dive deeper into the stats.
They’re projecting the Braves will score 662 runs in the 2017 season. If you’re thinking “well, that doesn’t sound too bad, we have a pretty solid lineup that should score a lot of runs”…stop right there. This is second lowest in the MLB in front of only the Padres….THE PADRES!!!
We all know one category Atlanta should struggle in this upcoming season…home runs. Matt Kemp on this team for a full season is going to help, but other than him and Freeman, this team doesn’t have much power. It shows in the computers as well. Braves are projected to have a .383 SLG which sits as the lowest in the MLB.
On the other side of the coin, the Braves fall in as the tenth lowest in runs against. This is a good thing. BP is projecting Atlanta to give up 705 runs in 2017. The lowest is the Dodgers with 597 runs against. Guess our veteran rotation, and Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz, are getting nice grades in the system! Braves also have a pretty solid bullpen on paper heading into the 2017 season.
The Braves have an excellent score in the FRAA category — Fielding Runs Above Average — which sits at 21.5. The top team in this is the Mariners with a score of 59.2. The Braves rank 10th in this category…big thanks to Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson and of course Ender Inciarte.