Baseball Prospectus’s yearly PECOTA forecast picked the New York Yankees over the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
A famous physicist named Niels Bohr once comically said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
However, New York Yankees fans will likely ignore that truth when it comes to Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA prediction.
PECOTA is an acronym for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm. The sabermetrics-based methodology indicates that the Bombers will take the East in 2019 with a 96-66 record.
Also per the prediction, the Boston Red Sox will take second place with a 90-72 record. The Houston Astros will have the best record in the MLB, at 99-63.
Don’t get too excited, though. The same system predicted that the Yankees would blow out the East in 2018.
That was obviously way off, because the Boston Red Sox held down first place virtually all season long. New York spent just 26 days atop their division, none of which came after July 1, per Baseball-Reference.[membership level="0"]
Of course, injuries to main contributors didn’t help the Bombers in 2018. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Aroldis Chapman all missed significant time.
It’s interesting to note that this year’s PECOTA doesn’t factor in Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Neither of those guys has signed yet, and where they land could majorly impact projections.
If the Yankees do an about-face and grab up Harper or Machado, the addition could be all the team needs to overtake Houston for the projected top record. However, at this point, that seems unlikely to happen.
Speculation aside, Baby Bomber growth and a few new faces are more than enough to give fans confidence for 2019.