The A’s are projected to win 82.6 games this season according to the annual PECOTA forecast.
Some of the Oakland players are aware these projections exist, but don’t pay too much attention to them. Third baseman Matt Chapman, for instance, said he’s used to the projections being unkind to the A’s.
“I definitely am aware, I’m not somebody that’s constantly checking those things, but you know, I pay attention, I see those things,” Chapman said Wednesday ahead of Opening Day.
First off, what is PECOTA?
Well, each year, Baseball Prospectus releases their Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm (PECOTA) rankings. Essentially, it’s a projection into how a team should perform based on a team’s depth charts and projects the playing time and stats for their individual players, then simulates them into the season coming up with estimated win totals and playoff chances.
Yeah, it's a lot.
Chapman admitted he doesn’t put too much credence on some of these numbers.
“I don’t value them too much because I don’t agree with their opinions, so I don’t think it’s worth digging into too much, but we like being the underdogs, that just means we’re playing with house money, we’re not expected to do anything, so anything we do is great," Chapman said. "But I know it’s a different vibe, different feel in this clubhouse, but we’re expecting to win the division. I think this is the best team that we’ve had since I’ve been here so, you know 97 wins, two years in a row, I think we could get to 100.”
Those 82.6 wins would have the A’s projected to finish third in the AL West, barely over the .500 mark (something A’s reliever Jake Diekman joked he was happy about), and gives them just a 10 percent chance of winning the AL West after winning the division last season.
“It’s motivation for me because I like proving people wrong,” Chapman said. “But I think that people don’t like to give us credit for some reason and you know they predict us to win like 81 games which is absurd, but you know, that’s their own opinion.”