It is PECOTA week over at Baseball Prospectus which would normally mean that in a normal offseason, we would be getting full season team projections. This however, is not a normal offseason. The lockout has been in place since December 2 and despite a late November flurry, many free agents remain unsigned and plenty of teams still have a ton of work left to do before the regular season begins.
With that in mind, Baseball Prospectus released its pre-lockout projections Friday and the Atlanta Braves are currently projected for an 82-80 record and a third place finish in the NL East.
Your World Champion (and 88-win, let’s please not forget that part) Atlanta Braves are slotted in at third place in the division, which is, to be fair, a step up over the last couple of projections. But it also makes a lot of sense. The Braves have yet to replace the four-plus wins of Freddie Freeman, and with all those amazing midseason outfield acquisitions gone, the roster could use some amazing midseason outfield acquisitions. PECOTA is probably a little unkind to the rotation, especially Ian Anderson (97 DRA-, 126 IP), so feel free to bump that total up a couple wins if your heart desires.
PECOTA has been low on the Braves throughout their streak of four straight division titles so I am not going to focus too much on that. They were projected for 82 wins and a fourth place finish last year for example.
What is interesting is that the Mets are projected to win the division with 90 wins with the Phillies coming in second at 86.5. The Mets did a lot of heavy lifting before the lockout but Philadelphia essentially stood pat. Will this be the year that the Phillies actually live up to the hype?
These are going to change in a big way once the lockout ends and the offseason roars back to life. Still, I think it is an interesting snapshot of where things stand. Even if I am still not buying the Phillies.