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PECOTA Projections are out!

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Baseball Prospectus annual projections are out and the Diamondbacks are looking pretty good

MLB: NL Wildcard-Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks
Our 2018 Closer, according to the computers that eventually will enslave us
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of the year when various stat-minded folk release projections for the upcoming MLB season and you, the fan, get extremely mad about them one way or another.

PECOTA (Or Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, an acronym I totally didn’t just copy and paste from its Wikipedia entry, which you can read here for a more detailed breakdown) has been used by Baseball Prospectus since 2003, when Nate Silver, yes that one, developed it. Like all projection systems, it tries to nail down a team’s W/L record, and individual performances. Should the 2018 projections come true, the Diamondbacks will be in a similar position as 2017, but that’s not the worst thing in the world.

You can view the full standings here, and the individual Diamondbacks here so you can be better informed about your yelling in the comments. Here are the points of interest, according to me the protagonist of my own reality:

  • The Diamondbacks finish 2nd in the NL West, with 87 wins. They would be the first Wild Card, again, and play the Cardinals in the Wild Card Game.
  • PECOTA does not think particularly well of Alex Avila, projecting a .217/.332/.369 slash line. I figure he’ll probably do better than that (Some of the weight might be coming from his less than stellar 2015 and 2016 seasons), but even if it’s that he’s Hank Aaron in his prime offensively compared to Jeff Mathis.
  • It views Chris Owings and Ketel Marte being the primary Middle Infield pairing/
  • Yasmany Tomas will have a good power season, but struggle with OBP and Fielding, which you can probably copy and paste into the future. It feels like at this point, with his production and injury history and the stagnant free agent market, that he’ll opt into the final few years of his deal with the Diamondbacks. Something to watch out for this season.
  • By almost all statistical accounts according to the projections, Robbie Ray will be the de-facto Ace of the Diamondbacks, with Zack Greinke being second best starter.
  • Archie Bradley projects to be the Closer. This is something the team probably should do, but hasn’t made any formal commitments.
  • PECOTA doesn’t think well of the back-end of the bullpen, but something to always remember is that relievers are volatile, and that one of those guys having a long good stretch in 2018 is not out of the realm of possibility
  • Back to the standings, the Rockies are projected to finish below .500 and behind the Giants. That, to me, is extremely funny.

These projections aren’t gospel, but they’re fun and it’s another reminder that Baseball season is just around the corner, and all the belabored Spring and Rebirth metaphors that come with Spring Training. Can’t wait.