It’s not what A’s fans want to hear, especially not after the way the 2014 season tapered off.
Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA rankings have Oakland finishing third in the American League West with 84 wins, behind the Angels (91 projected wins) and Mariners (87 projected wins).
PECOTA, for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, was developed to predict baseball futures with alarming accuracy. Normally the system is spot on.
What should come as good news to A’s fans, the system is not designed to keep up with a unit that changes continuously and often undervalues the team by four-or-so wins.
According to projections, the A’s should have a shot at the wild card once more with the added four wins. 84 total victories, though, will not cut it.
Another skewed factor, which the systems creators would likely admit, the A’s have several young players who are next to impossible to accurately project numbers for.
One of the more intriguing figures the PECOTA system projects is Oakland’s defensive ability.
The A’s are projected to have the third-best fielding efficiency rating in baseball, barely trailing Kansas City and Tampa Bay.
If the A’s surpass PECOTA projections by one-quarter run per game, they’ll be in the upper echelon of offenses, per the rankings.
Noted above, the system is designed to accurately project the outcome of the baseball season. The design takes individual projections and couples them together, with some other adjustments.
Nobody outside of Baseball Prospectus is privy to the exact nature of the algorithm, though the creators provide a basic explanation.