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Nate Silver, Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA guru, has taken his first shot at team PECOTA projections for runs scored and runs allowed.

Pyth 2007 AL East PECOTA

Using the PECOTA projections and Steven Miller’s variation of Bill James Pythagorean Win Expectation equation based on runs scored and runs allowed:

Where (a) = 1.79, you get a near dead heat for the AL East with only two tenths of a win separating the two teams.

How realistic is this? It is important to note that Pythagorean Win % is a better judge of how a team should have performed given the component data points and at predicting a teams future success within a season. In fact, it has been shown by Clay Davenport at Baseball Prospectus that Pythagorean Wins are a better predictor of future success than actual winning percentage.

Using PECOTA projections to make win expectations is layering a few educated guesses on top of each other. But that’s what the offseason is all about.

The best way to see how realistic these hypothetical standings are is to look at the component projections of each individual player and give it a finger to the wind proof test.


First lets look at the PECOTA projections for hitters. In my opinion, most of these are relatively in line with fair expectations. If anything, I think PECOTA is a little low on J.D. Drew, Alex Rodriguez, and Hideki Matsui and a little high on Dustin Pedroia. The Red Sox lineup features a better high end and low end, while the Yankees lineup is deeper throughout. I fully expect the Yankees to score more runs than the Red Sox this season, and I would not at all be surprised if the distance in Runs Scored between the two teams is greater than Silver’s projected five runs.


Looking at the starting pitching, the expectations do not show the advantage in the starting rotation that I think the Red Sox have over the Yankees.

Collectively, the Red Sox starting five contributes a 54-43 record with a 4.29 ERA, while the Yankees are 52-41 with a 4.36 staff ERA. I expect that the Red Sox starting pitching will be significantly better than the Yankees starters. While the Yankees have a clear edge int he bullpen, I think PECOTA has understated the difference in Runs Allowed. I would not at all be surprised to see the Red Sox stretch that Runs Allowed advantage well past the projected two run difference here.

So where does that leave us? The Yankees will stretch their Runs Scored lead while the Red Sox stretch their Runs Allowed lead, and we end up right back where we started. In a dogfight for the AL East.

Lets just hope that the old adage, “pitching wins championships” holds true.


11 Responses to “PECOTA Projects a Tight AL East”

  1. on 21 Jan 2007 at 12:18 pm Peter N

    I am so good with math, but I like to think of baseball as a game filled with hearts, with emotions, with our lives!
    But that’s just me….keep writng…I’ll keep reading!!! Promise.

  2. on 23 Jan 2007 at 3:32 pm Callum

    That’s all well and good but it is going to be a 3 horse race.

  3. […] By plugging that expected increase in offense into Steven Miller’s variation of Bill James Pythagorean Win Expectation equation like we did in this post, Helton’s addition to the lineup would account for two additional wins over the course of the season. […]

  4. on 28 Feb 2007 at 5:51 pm Sox Blog - Baseball. Tonight.

    […] Ooh. I haven’t been this turned on since I looked at Coco Crisp’s PECOTA projections. […]

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  11. on 22 Nov 2014 at 12:37 pm AzlAn

    i didnt read into how they came up with this projection but just lonoikg at the AL West i dont know, LAA under .500 and SEA at .500? i think SEA may be the front runner as of now, with their offseason. OAK and LAA, im not sure where they’ll fall. of course, id like OAK to finish first, realistically dont think itll happen, but its more of a wait and see, lots of questions to be answered (i could write a book going into the ‘10 season). LAA, its a guessing game. i think itll be very close for 2nd. i think TEX will finish last, i havent followed them close this offseason, but they sending millwood to BAL and signing vlad and harden. whos gonna catch for them? dont see them finishing ahead of OAK or LAA.so for SAG1. SEA 85-90wins2. OAK above .500 without major/long injuries. maybe 83-87wins3. LAA 77-83wins4. TEX near .500, 76-80wins.bailey’s college # retired? thats a total shock to me, no offense. glad wuertz will be around for a couple years i hope.

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