Spring Training is right around the corner, which means it’s time for MLB regular season predictions and projections. On Monday, PECOTA released its yearly win total projections for every team, and it thinks 2023 will be better for the Cubs, but only slightly better. The algorithm from Baseball Prospectus has the Cubs going 77-85, just a three game improvement from last year. Accordingly, PECOTA believes the Cubs have only a 9.5% chance to make the playoffs and a 4.2% chance to win the division.
The computers are apparently unimpressed with the Cubs’ offseason moves, which included signing shortstop Dansby Swanson, outfielder Cody Bellinger and first baseman/designated hitter Trey Mancini. Those signings not only added big bats to the Cubs lineup, but shored up some defensive positions. For instance, Swanson taking over shortstop means Nico Hoerner can play everyday at second base. Seven different guys played at least 10 games at that position last year since Nick Madrigal dealt with several injuries. Bellinger should also be a steadying force in center field, where five guys played at least 19 games, and no man started more than 50 games.
PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, and it looks at every player’s past performances then projects what they’ll do the following season.
“It looks at all of the numbers, and all the numbers that make up the numbers, to see which players are more likely to repeat their success and which ones benefited from good fortune,” says the Baseball Prospectus website about PECOTA.
Cubs pitchers and catcher begin Spring Training on Feb. 15, and the rest of the team joins on Feb. 20.