What? They picked us ahead of the Phillies? That's hilarious! Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA Projections Puts Phils Behind Mets

Computers are only good for two things. Writing baseball blogs and buying flowers for your wife online after accidentally forgetting your anniversary. That’s it.

They are NOT good for projecting baseball results, as evidenced by Baseball Prospectus’ MLB PECOTA projected standings for 2013.



Yes, you read that correctly. According to this “computer” the Phils are set to finish the 2013 season in fourth place in the NL East, BEHIND the New York Mets.

I know. The words fail me too.

According to PECOTA, the Nationals will finish with a record of 87-75, with the Braves close behind at 84-78, the Mets at 82-80, the Phils at 81-81 (same as last year), and the lowly Marlins at 66-96.

First of all, the win total for the Nats appears to be very low. Washington appears to be the deepest and most talented team in the Majors, with Sports Illustrated picking them to win the World Series in their baseball preview publication out this week.

Of course, just because SI says a team is going to win it all doesn’t mean it’s going to. But the general consensus around the league is the Nats clearly are the best team. The Braves’ win total seems a bit low as well.

But the real eye-opener is their projection of New York as the third-best team in the division, with a record over .500.

Now, stranger things have happened. Last year’s Orioles team was a complete shock to everyone, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility the Mets could surprise.

But come on, ahead of the Phillies? Over .500? Are these computers smoking crack, or are they too distracted with their ongoing plot to launch nuclear weapons against us that they’re not really paying attention to what they’re supposed to be doing?

You know, like accurately predicting baseball games?

Let’s look at New York’s projected roster. An infield of Ike Davis at first, Daniel Murphy at second, Ruben Tejada at shortstop and David Wright at third is decent, but nothing to write home about (except for Wright, of course). Their outfield looks even worse than the Phils’, with Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Marlon Byrd holding down the three starting spots right now.

Yes, that’s right. THAT Marlon Byrd.

Catcher John Buck is a decent enough, if overpriced, player, and the rotation he will be catching has some decent arms, but doesn’t come close to what the Phils have, provided Roy Halladay returns to some semblance of being an effective starter. Jonathan Niese, Shaun Marcum, Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey (who will be a good one before too long) and Jeremy Hefner are not going to put a lot of fear into the hearts of many opposing lineups.

As for the bullpen, closer Bobby Parnell definitely has closer stuff and had a good year last year as a set-up man, with a 2.49 ERA. But this will be his first year as a closer, so it remains to be seen how he’ll take to the job. LaTroy Hawkins, Brandon Lyon, Scott Atchison, Robert Carson and Josh Edgin make up the next five arms out of the ‘pen.

It’s obvious the Mets have much less star power than the Phils, which is why every publication in America is picking Philadelphia to finish ahead of the Mets in 2013.

Of course, most of those same publications picked the Phillies to win the division last year, so, there’s that.

Still, I’m not sure what data the PECOTA computers were using to compute their projections. Whatever they are, they’re certainly not looking at depth charts or, you know, anything having to do with actual baseball.

But, that’s what happens when you let computers control the world.

Nice job, WORLD.

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Tags: New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies

  • Ben Horrow

    Projections include a confidence interval, basically that is the number of wins/losses the system thinks with most confidence will occur, but expand that interval even a little and I’m sure the numbers shift. Nothing in forecasting is absolute, so let’s not treat it that way. Also, and most importantly I think, projection systems like PECOTA have to account for factors that can be very difficult, like young players who get called up mid-season. Since there is no previous MLB data on these guys it does it’s best to guess, so when Wheeler & D’arnaud look to be on the Mets roster at some point this season, it probably overcompensates for them. Just saying, these systems are tools to help guide us, so let’s not make overarching judgements.

    • John Stolnis

      Thanks for that extra info, Ben. And, as usual, I was overstating the importance of these projections just to be, you know, hilarious. Plus, it was an excuse to make fun of the Mets. But you’re right, these things should be taken with a grain of salt. Although, I do think computers are going to kill us all one day. The Matrix was based on a true story, you know.

    • Ben Horrow

      No problem, I’ve seen WAY more egregious overstatements of projection systems before, and it’s tough to read when people don’t completely understand them. I don’t even completely understand them! Even still, I agree, with your premise 100000%, the Mets won’t be winning more games than the Phillies this season, in fact, we’ll see if the Braves can. The computers may not kill us all one day, just use us for energy to power their futuristic post-apocalyptic world.

    • John Stolnis

      I’d rather they just kill us, frankly.

    • Ben Horrow


  • Alex

    Good image choice. Seems to fit the piece just wright. Wocka wocak.

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