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PECOTA projects the Mariners to finish ahead of the Angels, all hail PECOTA

Has the Mariners finishing 83-79, second in the AL West

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
another projection system tosses its hat into the ring
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Finally a projection system that doesn’t make me want to shank my computer into Puget Sound! Baseball Prospectus released the PECOTA projections today, and PECOTA—who is our new ruler, all hail PECOTA—projects the Mariners to finish at 83-79. That’s still 16 games behind the new and improved SuperAstros, but more importantly, it’s ahead of the Angels, at 80-82. This helps dull the pain of the Rays being projected at 84-78 and both the Wild Cards going to the AL East. Which...really? You can read the whole article here. PECOTA does have a history of over-predicting the Mariners and under-predicting the Angels, but let’s just shove that nugget of info under the rug for now and focus instead on what PECOTA likes about the 2018 Mariners.

PECOTA is highest on one Kyle Duerr Seager, projecting a 3.7 WARP, which seems like a lot considering his 2.7-WARP season last year, but not that much considering the 7 WARP accrued the year before that. Betting on Seager returning to form feels like a safe bet, and he’s joined by Robinson Cano with 3.1 WARP as the two highest-producers on the team. PECOTA also likes Mitch Haniger, awarding him 2.9 WARP, which is just a tick over what it projects for Nelson Cruz, at 2.8. That seems low for Cruz, who has averaged 4.4 WARP as a Mariner, and who knows, maybe this is the year Cruz falls off and, as Keith Law predicted, the Mariners DFA him mid-season because 38 is just so old, you know, the human body—

@ironglenn in town getting me ready for the season. #nodaysoff #nohaydescanso @mariners

A post shared by Nelson Cruz (@ncboomstick23) on

You tell ‘em bout it, Boomstick.

PECOTA is predictably less bullish on the M’s arms, and that’s with a projected 26 starts/174 innings for Felix Hernandez, which seems....overly optimistic. Pax, on the other hand, is only projected for 148 innings at 2.8 WARP. PECOTA also isn’t as high on the M’s bullpen, widely seen as a strength of the 2018 team. Other than Edwin Diaz and Juan Nicasio (listed as a spot starter), the next highest projection is...James Pazos at .8 WARP? With Nick Vincent at 0? That doesn’t seem right.

Like most other systems, PECOTA sees the strength of the 2018 Mariners as their offense, and is maybe a little higher on them there (this is one of the few systems that gives Ryon Healy any kind of positive valuation). Projection systems are always flawed, but it’s certainly fun to see one that doesn’t have the Mariners buried under the Angels. All hail PECOTA.