PECOTA, It’s Friday and You’re Still Wrong.

The PECOTA rankings were sprung upon anxious baseball fans on Monday. No shocker, PECOTA still despises the Royals. Which is a little funny, since PECOTA is just a computer algorithm predicting the outcome of the upcoming season and cannot possibly have any feelings. But, THIS COMPUTER DOES. It has angry fire emoji feelings about the Royals.

The Royals are predicted to win 71 games. 71. That’s under .500. Correction, that’s WELL under .500. Even worse, this 71 is an updated version of PECOTA’s predictions. The algorithm had originally set the Royals at 69 wins. This computer is whack (I’m so hip).

At first, I thought, ok, we didn’t sign Hammel until Tuesday, so maybe the computer didn’t factor him into the calculations. Nope. He’s factored. The Royals new pitcher that had 15 wins last season is going to help lead his new team to dead last in the AL Central. Last, as in behind the White Sox who do not have Chris Sale and who are absolutely going to trade off their next best pitcher, Jose Quintana. Last.

To add insult to injury, because being basement dwellers beneath the White Sox and the Tigers wasn’t bad enough, with a whopping 71 win projection, the Royals are predicted to have the second worst record in all of baseball. Only the Padres (sorry about that James Shields stint) are predicted to finish below the Royals. For those keeping track, PECOTA predicts the A’s, the Rockies, the Phillies, and the Reds, to perform BETTER than a team that still carries more than half of its World Series winning roster. Ok, sure.

PECOTA is a computer and can therefore not account for that intangible chemistry that has become a Royals trademark. You just can’t plug in “factor in that these players have played their entire careers together and know each other better than their own family members”. Computers don’t work that way which explains why PECOTA has been very wrong about the Royals for the last 4 years.

Year   PECOTA   Actual

2013           76                    86

2014          76                     86           *playoff team*

2015          72                     85           *playoff team*

2016          79                     81

Fangraphs also has predicted the 2017 season. They have the Royals in third place, above the White Sox and the Twins, with 77 wins. While I am more inclined to agree with the win total and placement of the Royals with Fangraphs, putting the Twins below the Royals is ludicrous. There are faults to every system.

Royals Review has invited its readers to submit their own predictions here. I invite you all to participate (I will be) as it will be fun to see which will win out at the end of the year in this clash between man and machine.

Some things to keep in mind: Hammel starting and Strahm in the bullpen will make the Royals stronger-maybe even more so than they would have been with Ventura. Alternatively, this may feel like the same World Series winning team KC had two years ago, but it’s not even close. The Royals only retained 56% of their World Series roster. Last year, the Royals ended the season at 81-81. Speculate away, my friends.

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