The Atlanta Braves season isn’t what fans expected after nearly reaching the World Series; the PECOTA projection everyone laughed at is closer to the truth.
Three months ago, Jake wrote lamenting the lack of respect PECOTA showed the Atlanta Braves after their successful postseason run in 2020. PECOTA can’t respect or disrespect anyone; it’s an unbiased analysis of statistics, not a person.
The PECOTA analysis found the Braves a team heading for serious regression, looked at the probable outcomes if it did, and determined that the club would win 83 games and finish fourth.
Fans retaliated by calling PECOTA stupid, which is also impossible because it isn’t a person, and saying a season of 91 to 96 wins was coming. The good news is that PECOTA now predicts a third-place finish. The bad news is the projected win number dropped to 81.
I expected Ozzie to rebound and be the team’s heartbeat, believed Pache’s strike zone recognition would allow him to hit well enough to remain in center field and thought the combination of Matzek, Martin, Minter, and Smith would be enough to close out games.
I thought Max Fried, Ian Anderson, and Charlie Morton, and prospects filling in the gaps, would stabilize the rotation well enough that Drew Smyly (pitching like a five) wouldn’t cause trouble until Soroka returned.
As fans, we remain optimistic until we can’t. Most who projected win totals in the 90s relied on talent winning out and ignored the perfect storm of events that made the 2020 postseason run possible.