PECOTA Projects a Slight Improvement for the Cubs in 2014

Baseball Prospectus released the first PECOTA projections for the upcoming season Tuesday. And to no surprise, PECOTA pegs the Cubs to finish in the cellar of the NL Central. PECOTA sees the Cubs winning five more games under new manager Rick Renteria than they did a year ago.

PECOTA’s early projection points to a 71-91 record for the 2014 season, a slight improvement from the 66-96 record the Cubs posted last season. PECOTA projects the Cubs to score 641 runs while allowing 732 runs and hitting .246 with a .304 OBP as a team.

The Cubs’ 71-91 mark would put the Cubs seven games back of the fourth place Pirates and 17 behind the division winning Cardinals according to PECOTA, but not last in the National League.

PECOTA sees the Nationals, Cardinals and Dodgers winning the three divisions in the Senior Circuit with the Giants and Braves squaring off in the Wild Card game.

Here is how PECOTA predicts the 2014 season will play out, at least in the standings:

National League

East

  • Washington Nationals – 88-74
  • Atlanta Braves – 85-77
  • Philadelphia Phillies – 76-86
  • New York Mets – 74-88
  • Miami Marlins – 69-93

Central

  • St. Louis Cardinals – 88-74
  • Cincinnati Reds – 83-79
  • Milwaukee Brewers – 80-82
  • Pittsburgh Pirates – 78-84
  • Chicago Cubs – 71-91

West

  • Los Angeles Dodgers – 98-64
  • San Francisco Giants – 87-75
  • San Diego Padres – 81-81
  • Arizona Diamondbacks – 79-83
  • Colorado Rockies – 78-84
American League

East

  • Boston Red Sox – 89-73
  • Tampa Bay Rays – 89-73
  • New York Yankees – 82-80
  • Toronto Blue Jays – 80-82
  • Baltimore Orioles – 75-87

Central

  • Detroit Tigers – 88-74
  • Cleveland Indians – 79-83
  • Kansas City Royals – 79-83
  • Chicago White Sox – 75-87
  • Minnesota Twins – 71-91

West

  • Oakland A’s – 88-74
  • Los Angeles Angels – 87-75
  • Texas Rangers – 85-77
  • Seattle Mariners – 82-80
  • Houston Astros – 66-96

PECOTA’s win-loss projection for the Cubs is not far off from the 68-94 prediction David Schoenfield posted for the Cubs on ESPN.com. Schoenfield thinks the Cubs will end the season with the fourth worst record in baseball for the second year in a row.

Click here for Baseball Prospectus’ Depth Charts – The Depth Charts are playing time-weighted projections for each player which build up to a team projection.

Baseball Prospectus posted its early projections for players’ performances. This information is by subscription only so only a few of the player’s stat lines will be posted. For those that follow baseball closely, a subscription to BP is highly recommended.

  • Anthony Rizzo: .258/.332/.472 with 34 doubles, 28 home runs in 631 plate appearances
  • Welington Castillo: .249/.323/.414 with 25 doubles, 17 home runs in 511 plate appearances
  • Starlin Castro: .280/.311/.411 with 34 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs in 651 plate appearances
  • Nate Schierholtz: .254/.306/.418 with 31 doubles, 17 home runs in 584 plate appearances
  • Jeff Samardzija: 10-16 with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP (176 strikeouts, 75 walks) in 31 starts
  • Travis Wood: 10-14 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP (146 strikeouts, 54 walks) in 31 starts
  • Edwin Jackson: 10-15 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP (154 strikeouts, 56 walks) in 31 starts
  • Jake Arrieta: 6-10 with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP (94 strikeouts, 44 walks) in 21 starts

Baseball Prospectus pointed out Jason Hammel was not included in the projections because he has not officially signed with the Cubs.

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  • Vivid_Reality

    Hypothetically, would it please the masses if the Cubs signed Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana? There is a theoretical scenario in which one of them could be lured to Chicago. Both pitchers come with question marks due to inconsistencies in their careers as well as being tied to draft pick compensation. They could sign a one year deal with the Cubs and then be traded to a contender by the deadline. This would allow them to still compete while shedding the draft pick attachment. The Cubs would lose their 2nd round pick but would hopefully get back something with a perceived higher value. A prospect closer to the majors would help sooner than a fresh draftee.

    There is a rather large associated risk for both parties which is why it will never happen but it is an interesting thought none the less. I am not necessarily for or against the idea but I was curious what all the posters here thought?

    • TheWrongGuy

      If the CUBS were closer to contending in 2014, I believe they would have signed one of the 2 pitchers, Santana or Jimenez. Signing a player in today’s FA market with the money associated and the risk involved is much too great. We all want the flashy high priced FA signings to sign with the CUBS. But with the current roster as it is today. I do not see a FA wanting to sign with the CUBS. It would be pretty hard to sign ANY big name FA with the CUBS with the current MLB roster. We will have to HIGHLY OVERPAY to get any big name FA to want to sign with the CUBS.

      The current re-build phase puts the current CUBS team at “shut-up and perform or be gone (mode)”(Ian Stewart). Which is why Shark will be gone.

      • paulcatanese

        They (Cubs) are even having a hard time finding a new bat boy that wants to come aboard. Why anyone would want to come to the Cubs unless the money is so great that they can just sit back and enjoy the weather is a given.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Both Santana and Jimenez costs the team a #1 draft pick. Therefore, it would never happen. If either player would play for free for one year, the cost would be too high to pick them up, as the draft pick is worth more than they are worth.

      Beyond that, I think most GMs figure that neither one can repeat their 2013 stat lines, and thus, they dwell in limbo.

      • Tony_Hall

        The Cubs 1st round pick is protected so the Cubs would lose their 2nd round pick to sign these guys

        “If a team makes such a qualifying offer to an outgoing free agent and the free agent signs elsewhere, then his former team will receive a sandwich draft pick between the first and second rounds. The signing team, meanwhile, will forfeit its first-round choice — unless it’s a top-10 pick, in which case the team would give up a second-round pick. The lost picks don’t go to any other team; rather, the teams behind the vanished pick all slide up a slot.”

        http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/20763514/how-the-new-free-agent-compensation-system-works

        • Ripsnorter1

          Thanks for the correction.

          But you would expect the price to still be too high, would you not?

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t believe that either guy is worth anywhere near what they have been asking. I wouldn’t touch either one without it being very club friendly.

            But for a team going for it this year, that can slot them 4th or 5th, they could make sense.

          • John_CC

            2 weeks till pitchers report to camp…I image they are listening to offers and will seriously start considering them in a few weeks.

    • John_CC

      I thought the same thing. While 2nd round is pretty high pick and the Cubs scouting department has high odds of getting a pretty solid player here, if – big if – Ubaldo or Santana threw well the first half either would certainly return at least one AA prospect, which is a couple years closer than a college draftee and a few years closer than a HS player.

      It is no doubt a debate/conversation that Theo, Hoyer, McCloud are having or have had. It’s a pretty big gamble, but I would like to see them make it. Why the heck not at this point? A 2nd round pick is a pretty big gamble as well.

    • 07GreyDigger

      I’m pretty positive there’s something in the CBA that doesn’t let you do that in multi-year deals.

    • Eugene Debs

      That’s a tough call; you hate to lose the draft pick.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Meanwhile, get your shovel full of salt before you swallow PECOTA’s projections. Here are the 2013 projections for your Chicago Cubs, courtesy of your CCO:

    “Baseball Prospectus released their first PECOTA projections for the upcoming season on Monday. And while the projections point to the Cubs finishing last in the NL Central, PECOTA projects the Cubs to make a 16 game improvement over last season’s miserable 61-101 record. PECOTA thinks the Cubs will post a 77-85 record, two games back […]

    Well now, we know that the Cubs were not close to that 77 win mark. In fact, they won 66 games.

    • Tony_Hall

      LOL Rip. These projections are based on roster construction as of right now. It doesn’t take into effect the FO knowing they won’t win this year and trading off guys like Matt Garza to bring in CJ Edwards, Justin Grimm, Mike Olt and Neil Ramirez.

      Would you have rather they held pat all year and went for those 77 wins?

      • Ripsnorter1

        My post was about kicking Pecota for being so wildly off base in their 2013.

        They predicted the Astros not to lose 100 games, and boy, were they wrong.

        Check out how many 100 game losers they predicted for 2014. It’s a nice, round number…..

        • Tony_Hall

          You should also notice that the PECOTA system only shows 1 team winning more than 90 games. Just one. That also won’t happen. These computer model projections are just not going to show the teams winning or losing to those extremes. It can’t take into effect what happens over a full season with teams.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Those are some good points Tony. And also I’m with Rip, basically on all predictions in general. My favorite are the NFL Mock Drafts. What a bunch of hooey! I still read them because I’m hopelessly fanatic, but for real. They are so wrong. I guess Pecota says, “if the roster doesn’t change one iota and everyone stays healthy, here is what we expect could happen.” Obviously there is a serious lacking of complete information when they compile these. But by nature, any prediction is greatly lacking in information, no?

        • cubtex

          You mean to tell me that computer baseball and predictions aren’t accurate??? Say it ain’t so Rip!

  • CubbyDenCritic

    First…..whoever is praying for snow, would you please stop it!

    Anymore snow, the Bleacher Roof Tops will cave in on their owners !…….on second thought…….

    If those players stats come out true, especially with Rizzo, I think our future first baseman will be Vogelbach………

    Our buddy, Koyie Hill, signed with the Nationals !

    Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors, says that the Cubs will get a better haul of players in a Samardzija July trade then what we got with Garza…….oh please Lord, do not let Shark have TJ issues this year.

    I do not agree how those teams will stack up in 2014…. I will leave my predictions later…..but I do believe the Marlins will have more wins then the Cubs……and we will have either #1 or #2 daft pick in 2015.

  • Ramjet

    These projects seem odd. They project the starters indicated above to have a 36-65 record, which means in order to finish with a 71-91 record, the relievers and the 5th, 6th, 7th, etc. starters will have a record of 35-26. Go bullpen! I don’t put much stock in these projections, obviously.

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