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PECOTA by Baseball Prospectus puts our their annual projections every year for the upcoming MLB season, and last year, the Yankees were supposed to run away with the AL East.
But for the 2021 campaign, PECOTA has the Yankees yet again taking the AL East.
For the full 162-game season, they project the Yankees to have an average of 97.4 wins and 64.6 losses. The reigning-champion Rays are at 86.4 wins and 75.6 losses, while the Toronto Blue Jays -- a team that bolstered their roster with George Springer and more -- are at 84.9 wins in the simulation. The Boston Red Sox are at 80 wins, and the Baltimore Orioles once again come in last with 66.3 wins and 95.7 losses.
Of course, these are only projections and the 2020 shortened season showed everyone how much they can change. But the Yankees' positional rotation hasn't changed much, with massive power hitters still ready to mash balls out of the park and get revenge for losing in the ALDS. DJ LeMahieu also returns on a long-term deal that Yankee fans rejoiced seeing.
The biggest question mark is the starting rotation that will feature new faces like Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon instead of Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton up at the top.
Elsewhere in the AL, the Twins with 90.6 wins project to win the AL Central, and the Houston Astros are at 93 wins to take home the AL West.
Here's an explanation from Baseball Prospectus on the PECOTA projections:
Please remember that PECOTA and our simulations do not “pick” a team to “win” any particular number of games. Rather, they identify an estimated range of games a team might win and tells you the average of that fairly wide range. That is the point of the visualizations. Any one of those outcomes is possible. However, some of them, as you can see, are more likely than others.