PECOTA likes the Yanks

Last week, Baseball Prospectus unveiled that basic PECOTA projections for the 2008 season. For the uninitiated among us, PECOTA is a computer projection system that calculates the likelihood of how a player will perform in a season based on his past performance by comparing him to similar players. Got it? Good.

Anyway, when the Weighted Means spreadsheet hits, it’s always fun to page through to see how the computer predicts the season to turn out. Since I know you’re all dying to find out, Melky projects to around .283/.342/.404. No further comment, your honor.

Saving any of us the trouble of doing the number-crunching, Paul, one of the Red Sox fans, at Yanksfan vs. Soxfan, figured out how PECOTA projects the Yanks, and Yankee fans should be guardedly happy. When all is said and done, an ideal, computerized PECOTA world, the final AL East standings look like this:

Yankees 103-59
Red Sox 101-61

And that was before Curt Schilling’s injury came down.

But of course, baseball teams don’t play computer-simulated games. They play the games on the field, and besides the fact that two 100-win teams in one division is rather unlikely, a perfectly simulated PECOTA season is rather unlikely too.

This should, however, give despairing Yankee fans reason to hope. Too many critics look at the Red Sox’s October and forget that what happened in the six months prior. They saw a team comeback from a 3-1 ALCS deficit to win seven straight and a second World Championship in four years. But the Red Sox were no sure lock at the end of September when the Yanks had cut their division lead to two.

Now PECOTA likes the Yanks, and we do too. There should always be hope, projections aside.

email