When it comes to projections, there are no absolutes and they all should be taken with a grain of salt because they are all built by folks that have baked in certain assumptions and statistical weighting. The Atlanta Braves have largely been lauded by projection systems going into 2023 and that certainly passes the eye test. The Braves, assuming things don't go sideways, are going to be a very good baseball team in 2023 and most of the projections have that being the case.
And then there is PECOTA. Amongst all the projection systems, it sure does seem like the projected standings that Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system spits out each year has at least one wild result every time. A running joke amongst Braves fans is that someone in New York must have built PECOTA, but again...this is just an engine created with what the fine folks at BP value. However, it is true that PECOTA was at it again today as they predicted the Mets to win the National League East over the Braves by a more than five games.
To be clear, this isn't just a panel of Baseball Prospectus writers voting or something like that, this is just the result of BP's data analysis. We certainly don't think there is any funny business going on. However, given the state of the rosters in question here, it is pretty shocking that PECOTA has the Mets winning the NL East, which should again be one of the absolute toughest in baseball, so comfortably.
The same could be said about the AL East as well. The Yankees are projected to win almost 100 games with the Blue Jays and Rays finishing way behind them. SOMETHING about that doesn't seem quite correct given that both the Blue Jays and Rays are perennial contenders with tons of young talent even if the Yankees probably should be favored to win the division overall.
At the end of the day, though, these are merely projections and don't mean a ton beyond a very interesting thought exercise. It is not out of the realm of possibility that PECOTA ends up being correct, either. It wouldn't take a lot for the Braves, Phillies, Blue Jays, and Rays to underperform and the Mets and Yankees to go wild. Still, you would be forgiven if you saw these projections and thought they were a bit odd.