It's almost spring training, which means it's time for the prognosticators to get to work. Baseball Prospectus released its PECOTA projections for the 2021 season this week, and though more than a few free agents remain unsigned, it's as good a time as any to start examining how rosters stack up.
Let's take a deeper dive into the algorithm and break down what each projected win total says about all 30 teams heading into the season.
PECOTA loves what the Yankees have done this offseason. Though there's a lot of risk in replacing Masahiro Tanaka with two pitchers coming off major injuries in Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon, both offer very high rewards. Bringing back DJ LeMahieu was also a must, and the team took care of it.
The AL champion Rays will be hard-pressed to repeat after jettisoning Blake Snell and losing Charlie Morton. It remains to be seen whether their unique approach to building a pitching staff will help them withstand those losses. A full season of Randy Arozarena and a rebound campaign from Austin Meadows will go a long way for this club.
The Blue Jays will be in tough even after a splashy winter that saw the team add George Springer and Marcus Semien, among others. The pitching staff behind Hyun-Jin Ryu probably did Toronto no favors when it came to this projection. Still, this is a very talented club with enough offensive firepower to outperform expectations.
What exactly are the Red Sox? Andrew Benintendi is gone, Jackie Bradley Jr. may follow, and the pitching staff remains an odd assortment of question marks. Their biggest additions have been utility players like Enrique Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez, or bounce-back candidates like Hunter Renfroe and Garrett Richards. But the offense - still anchored by Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts - remains potent enough to push Boston above what's expected.
Maybe PECOTA was simply being nice by projecting 66 wins for the Orioles.