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Preseason Predictions: Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

Via USS Marinerthis is a pretty hilarious read. It revisits preseason predictions about wins and losses for each team made by PECOTA and various analysts. It turns out that if you predicted every team would win 81 games, you would have beaten everyone but PECOTA, Rob Neyer and Keith Law.

Naturally, this is interesting because PECOTA has never watched a baseball game in its life and Neyer and Law never played pro baseball. All are known for their stat-centric approaches to analysis. To be fair, Joe Sheehan, also a sabermetric type, didn't do so well. Still, in general, the writers who focused on numbers were better than everyone except PECOTA, which came the closest on surprising teams like the Rays (projected by PECOTA to win 88 games) and the Mariners. Next time someone tells you fancy stats don't matter, you can point to this. 

The more traditionalist writers, including ESPN's Buster Olney, Steve Phillips, Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark, were uniformly horrible. Phillips missed on the Seattle Mariners' record by 31 games, which is simply spectacular. Naturally, none of these people will be held accountable for not having any idea what they're talking about. It's all about entertainment, and I guess there must be someone out there who finds Baseball Tonight entertaining.

Of course, everyone makes mistakes, so I suppose it's only fair to revisit some of my predictions, so here are my preseason writeups for the NL Central. I got that the Cubs and Brewers would finish first and second and that the Pirates would finish last. I also predicted the Cardinals would finish fourth, which is where they are right now, although I had the Reds in third and the Astros fifth, so I had their positions reversed.

I also did some predicting here, in a post about four teams who had bad offseasons. I accurately predicted that the Giants would be bad (duh) and that the Mariners wouldn't contend. You might or might not give me credit for the Astros, depending on how you look at things. I completely missed on the White Sox. (Most analysts thought the Tigers and Indians would be a lot better than they were, and I'm not sure anyone really saw Carlos Quentin and John Danks coming.) My picks for the NL West got the top three teams and the bottom two teams, but had them in the wrong order. In the East, I thought the Marlins would be a dis aster, which turned out to be wrong, but I was alright otherwise. I didn't do posts on the AL, but I think I would have been way better than most in the West (I might well have had the Mariners finishing last), better than most in the East (I would have had Tampa third), and downright awful in the Central (where I might well have had the White Sox and Twins in third and fifth, respectively).