New York Yankees on top, and Stanton’s comeback: The PECOTA Projections

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

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PECOTA Projections show the New York Yankees as No.1

The has issued its crystal ball 2020 projections. They are done annually and throughout the season.  On the site, they issue a warning: “Please remember that PECOTA and our simulations do not “pick” a team to “win” any particular number of games. Rather, they identify an estimated range of games a team might win and tells you the average of that fairly wide range. That is the point of the visualizations. Any one of those outcomes is possible. However, some of them, as you can see, are more likely than others.” PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison, and Optimization Test Algorithm is BP’s proprietary system that projects player and team performance.

The PECOTA standing shows the New York Yankees with a one-game lead over the Houston Astros for the best in the American League total of 99 wins.  The only team to come out ahead of the Yankees in baseball is the National League Los Angeles Dodgers, fresh off their acquisition of Mookie Betts and David Price.  The model shows the Dodgers with 103 wins.   In somewhat of a surprise, it also shows the New York Mets besting the Washington Nationals for a one-game lead in the NL East.  In the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays come in second to the Yankees with 87 wins, Boston with 84 with the Jays and Orioles trailing.

Interestingly the projections for the Yankees have been off by about two games in the negative for the last few years.  Based on that, give or take it would put the Yankees at 101 wins, which I believe is more accurate, as they have won 100 games in 2018, and with unprecedented injuries last year, they won 103 games.  With the addition of true ace Gerrit Cole, and hopefully a much more healthy team this year, it would appear to support this writer’s opinion over the issued projections.  Nevertheless, they do have the Yankees on top. In another interesting forecast, they have newly hired Joe Girardi’s Phillies coming in at less than a .500 winning percentage.

Projection model shows Stanton improvement

Giancarlo Stanton, after having two unimpressive seasons for the Yankees, and they paid the big bucks for him after being the 2017 National League MVP winner, he is projected to play much better this year and most importantly while making 595 plate appearances.  Stanton plays the left outfield and is frequently a DH in the lineup.  Last year he hit .288 with three homers in only 59 at batts.  The PECOTA model shows him hitting .257/.353/.537 for a sharp line.  But the huge difference is that he is projected to remain healthy appear in as many games as he did in his MVP season.

Just like the team standing, I believe he will hit better than that.  I question the plate appearances as his injury history has not been wonderful although he did make a career-high 705 plate appearances in 2018.  If he stays healthy, it’s not unreasonable to assume he will hit in the 40 plus range for home runs, and become very productive.

Field Manager Aaron Boone recently said of Stanton: “I felt like his process and his work, even in the small number of games that he did play for us, is at that quality to start the season before he got hurt. Then, he came back and had the fluke (injury), where he hurt his knee on a weird slide into third base. His at-bats and his focus and his process were good last year. I felt like he was going to have a monster season for us. And I feel that way very much going into this year.”

“So the big thing is going to be just keeping him healthy, keeping him built up properly, using spring training smartly. And I do feel like he’s got a special season. The desire and the burn is very much there.” The Yankees are hoping Stanton can have a 2017 like season as they are still on the hook for nine more years of his $325 million guaranteed deal he signed in November 2014.  He will earn $26 million this year.

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