Take Brewers’ Win Projections With a Grain of Salt
Milwaukee Brewers’ PECOTA projections are out today. PECOTA is the win projection model from Baseball Prospectus. They have the Milwaukee Brewers with only 79 wins. To make matters worse, they have the Cincinnati Reds winning the division with a measly 86 games. This doesn’t help the case of the Reds overspent in the offseason while being a small market team. But before everyone overreacts to PECOTA, it appears that the Brewers’ model might break projections. As I began to page through some research, I found this great tweet that explains why the projection models don’t always work for the Brewers.
Last year PECOTA was high (89), Steamer was low (78) and ZIPs was in the middle (84). This year ZIPs is high (88), PECOTA is low (79) and Steamer is in the middle (84).
— Steven Anderson (@S_McAnderson) February 11, 2020
What does this tell us? Brewers are doing something different than everyone else? Why are the projections off by 10 or 12 for different projection models? Each of the different models considers different things. I do not think it is intentional for Milwaukee to screw up with their models, rather, whatever they’re doing is making it difficult for people to get a true finger on the pulse of how they will end up this season. Those who think the Brewers did enough will point out the ZIPs model. And those who think the Brewers are screwed, they’ll point to PECOTA. Weirdly, each side of the argument has proof that they’re right.
We will see which wins out this season. Last year, PECOTA took home the prize with the Brewers landing exactly at 89 games won. Could they be right this year? And if they are, do we trust those projections over the other ones? One thing that Baseball Prospectus does point is the fact that if you play out the season mostly, that’s their win total.
As I’ve said before, this is a great experiment with Cincinnati to see what will win out. Brewers and Reds are both small market teams. Both did their offseason in different ways. After a month of Spring Training, it’s go time.