I know, I know, I KNOW.
Your Twitter timeline is blowing up with pics like this:
It’s a new day. Baseball is almost back. Winter may not be done, but we’re on the other side of the mountain.
But as much as I’d like to pretend that the Cardinals playoff miss in 2016 was a single year hiatus so The Nation could recharge for this upcoming October, there are signs pointing in a different direction.
This week Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) win/loss projections for the 2017 season. Close your browser now if you have small children in the room, Cardinals fans.
The projected 2017 NL Central:
I’m not a math major, but 77-85 sure looks like a – DEEP GULP – losing record.
77 wins, yo! Seventy-seven!!
Now before you abandon all hope, our friend Bernie over at 101 Sports makes some pretty good points about PECOTA projections:
+ The Cardinals are projected as the NL’s 10th best rotation.
+ Carlos Martinez is projected to have a 4.20 ERA with 27 other pitchers in the NL having a higher WAR.
+ The Cardinals are projected to give up 746 runs, their most in a season since 2007.
+ PECOTA has pretty much hated the Royals the past several years. And, well, they’ve done OK.
Grain of salt. PECOTA is a data point, but it’s not infallible by any means.
Then again, I’d also be totally lying if I said that I was really super duper confident that the Cardinals were better than a 77 win team. If I had to bet a million bucks – I’d go over.
But what is a fair line?
USA Today has projected 88 wins. Vegas? Win totals will be posted soon. I’d expect it to be in the 84.5-86.5 range.
We’ll have lots of time to gnash teeth as spring training gets under way.
Make no mistake, though – the Cardinals are going to be heavy dogs in the NL Central for 2017. Let’s hope they’re ready for a brawl all season long.
UPDATE (FRI 2/10):
Las Vegas has released the opening odds on MLB win totals:
- Cardinals 87.5
- Cubs 95.5
- Dodgers 91.5
- Nationals 90.5
- Mets 89.5
- Giants 87.5
- Pirates 85.5
- Reds 73.5
- Brewers 72.5