We are one month away from the beginning of the baseball season and the experts are starting to weigh in on who will be this season’s contenders and who will be the pretenders.
Bookmaker.com has released their over/unders on wins for the 2011 season. And no surprise, the Phillies (96.5 wins), Red Sox (95.5) and Yankees (91.5) are the teams projected to win the most games. The defending World Series champs, the Giants, lead the next group at 88.5 wins. At the other end, the oddsmakers are predicting awful seasons for the Pirates (67), Royals (69.5) and Mariners (70).
But over/unders aren’t always a good way to judge how good a team will be. Rather, over/unders are more of a reflection of how the public views these teams. To get a better sense of how good a team is, we can turn to BaseballProspectus.com and their PECOTA projection system. PECOTA forecasts the performance of every player in the big leagues and the minors, and then projects their playing time. These numbers are then used to project how well each team will perform over the course of a full season.
According to PECOTA, the Red Sox are the best team in the majors with a projection of 92 wins. The other 90-win teams are the Phillies (91), Yankees (91) and Giants (90). The Mariners (68) and Astros (68) are projected to be the worst teams in baseball.
But where these PECOTA projections can be very useful is to look at the teams that are projected to be a lot better (or worse) than their Vegas over/unders. Here is the full list of PECOTA projections ranked by the difference between the two win total projections…
The Orioles, the afterthoughts of the AL East, could be the biggest surprise this season. PECOTA projects the O’s to have a winning record (82-80), 5.5 wins better than their Vegas line. On the other hand, the White Sox (-5.5), Phillies (-5.5), Angels (-5) and Reds (-5) may be the most overrated teams according to PECOTA.
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