Baseball Prospectus projects 82 wins for YankeesPECOTA projections foresee a third-place finish in the AL East for New York
Gone are the veteran standbys like Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann, who for years helped establish a championship expectation year in and year out in the Yankees clubhouse.
While the chase for a 28th World Series title is still the ultimate goal, the Yankees will be pursuing it with a much different looking roster in 2017.
With less than a week until the first official Spring Training pitches are thrown, the City of Tampa is getting set to welcome a brand new group of high-upside Yankees talent, who have seen little to no Major League competition. It's an exciting time for those players to make a name for themselves, but an uncertain one for projecting the success of the 2017 Yankees.
However, thanks to the folks at Baseball Prospectus, the latest batch of PECOTA projections have officially been unveiled, with the goal of predicting how each MLB division will play out over the course of next season. Inevitably, projections are merely conjectures, but they present an intriguing opportunity to speculate over what's about to play out in the Bronx.
Last year, PECOTA -- which stands for "Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm" -- predicted that the Tampa Bay Rays would win 91 games, and take home the AL East division crown. That didn't quite happen. They won 68 games, finished last, and dashed the high hopes of thousands of Rays fans in the process.
Granted, unforeseen injuries were a year-long issue for Tampa, especially to their starting rotation, but it just goes to show you how many grains of salt one should consume before reading too deeply into these kinds of projections.
Turning the focus to the 2017 Yankees, PECOTA's algorithm predicted an 82-win season for New York this year (at time of publication), as the team rounds into shape with their new nucleus of young stars. A year ago, PECOTA forecast 85 wins for the Yankees, and they ended the year with 84.
The thing to remember though, is that those projections took into account New York's Opening Day roster which included Beltran, Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Ivan Nova, all of whom provided positive WAR until they were traded away at the deadline. After their departure, the Yankees hung around until the final week of the season utilizing a hodgepodge of young players called up ahead of schedule, and they still almost lived up to PECOTA's estimation -- a promising sign for the future.
This year's 82-80 projection (and subsequent third-place AL East finish) may turn out to be conservative, optimistic, or right on the money, considering the team is still figuring out exactly what kind of talent is on the roster. But as the retired Mark Teixeira recently said, the Yankees "have a chance to surprise people."
For more information on Baseball Prospectus and its PECOTA system, check out this link here.