Other that a world championship, what would you consider a great season for the Los Angeles Dodgers? Well, for starters, how about finishing with the most wins in baseball? That’s exactly what PECOTA – Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm – has slated the team as accomplishing.
PECOTA is used by Baseball Prospectus, and they’re the website that has the Dodgers finishing with the top record in baseball. On top of that, they have the team winning the National League West by seven games over the San Francisco Giants. That’s quite a thing to behold.
As you can see, the Dodgers finish with a 94-68 record while scoring over 700 runs and allowing the fewest in the division. The 94 wins is slated to be the most in baseball, according to PECOTA. The Chicago Cubs finished with 92, and the New York Mets finished with 90. That’s as far as the National League goes.
In the American League, the only two teams to top the 90-win mark were the Cleveland Indians (92) and the Tampa Bay Rays (91). So, while this projection seems a little wonky and likely to be off-base, they still believe in the Dodgers a whole lot.
PECOTA has the Dodgers scoring the second most runs in the National League – only the Cubs are higher – and allowing the fewest runs in all of baseball. Yes, you read that correctly. The projection has the team allowing the fewest runs in baseball during a year after they lost a Cy Young runner-up.
None of this means that this is exactly how the season is going to go. This is just one projection system used by a major website to determine how they think the season will play out. They still have to play the games, but you have to love how PECOTA views the Dodgers entering the season.
Last season, PECOTA had the Dodgers finishing with the best record in baseball (97-65). They finished at 92-70. PECOTA did miss on several teams, though. Namely the Kansas City Royals, who they had going 72-90, Houston Astros (77-85), Boston Red Sox (87-75), and Pittsburgh Pirates (80-82).
In the case of the Royals, Astros, and Pirates, they all wildly exceeded the PECOTA projections while the Red Sox ended up underachieving by a wide margin. They did, however, hit the San Francisco Giants (84-78) right on the nose, so there is that, and came close to hitting the Cleveland Indians (81-81).