PECOTA Projects Milwaukee Brewers to Finish 4th in NL Central

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on in the dugout against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 11, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on in the dugout against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 11, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

PECOTA released their projections for the 60 game season, and the Milwaukee Brewers end up finishing fourth in the NL Central.

With the MLB season set to begin in just a few short weeks, we’ve started to see new projections for the 60 game season released. Recently we took a look at Fangraphs’ ZiPS projections, which had the Milwaukee Brewers finishing second in the NL Central at 32-28.

The latest projection to come out is the PECOTA projections from Baseball Prospectus, and before we dive in, here is a quick look at how the PECOTA system goes about making these projections:

"“PECOTA is a system that takes a player’s past performance and tries to project the most likely outcome for 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.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.”"

If we rewind back to February, you know, before play was suspended, the original PECOTA projections weren’t that high on the Brewers, to begin with as they had them finishing 79-83 overall and in fourth place in the NL Central.

Well, even in a shortened 60 game season, not much has changed. This time the projections have Milwaukee right at .500 at 30-30, and once again, in fourth place in the very tough NL Central division.

In addition to sitting at .500, PECOTA has the Brewers with a 12.1 percent chance of winning the division and a 14.9 percent chance of being a wildcard team. Both of these percentages are higher than the original 162 game projections; however, that is due to it being a shortened season. With fewer games being played, record-wise, teams are going to be grouped closer together.

You’ll also notice that four of the five NL Central teams finish at or above .500 – the most out of any division – and the fourth-place Brewers finish on average, just 2.8 games back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds. From game 1 to game 60, wading through the NL Central this season is going to be a gauntlet.

Truthfully, I believe this shortened season sets up very well for Milwaukee. The addition of the DH to the NL means more at-bats for Ryan Braun as well as opportunities for someone like Logan Morrison, who can add some more left-handed pop to this lineup.

On top of that, rosters are expanded for about the first month of the season, and there may not be a better manager in baseball than Craig Counsell when it comes to using those additional players to his advantage. Not to mention that the time off has allowed Corey Knebel, Eric Lauer, and Luis Urias to all get healthy.

Brewers Starting New Season 'In a Healthy Spot'. light. Related Story

However, while this is a deep team that GM David Stearns has put together with plenty of options for the starting rotation, a ton of defensive versatility, and a high-octane bullpen led by Josh Hader,  there are also quite a few question marks surrounding the Milwaukee Brewers as well.

Sure, they have about seven potential starting pitchers to choose from this season, but can Brett Anderson stay healthy? Will Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta rebound from their 2019 performances? Will Adrian Houser continue to build off of last season?

And at the plate, who is going to replace Mike Moustakas’ and Yasmani Grandal’s production? As we all remember, the Brewers didn’t sign any high-profile players this past offseason; instead, they are banking on several bounce-back candidates.

Meanwhile, the bullpen is very top-heavy, but for a team that oftentimes doesn’t allow their starting pitcher to go past five innings, do they have enough reliable depth to get them to the playoffs?

It’s these question marks and uncertainties that hurt the Milwaukee Brewers in the projections. And clearly, PECOTA isn’t projecting the many offseason additions that the Brewers made to be enough to get them to the playoffs for the third straight season.

Now, of course, this is only a projection, and it is a very unusual season as well, but PECOTA did project the Brewers to win 87 games in 2019, which was just two wins shy of their actual win total. So take that information as you wish, but ultimately, the PECOTA projections are showing that Milwaukee didn’t do enough this offseason to maximize the 2020 season.

dark. Next. Brewers Have Reportedly Signed All 5 Draft Picks

However, as I’ve said, I really believe these unique circumstances and new rules play into the Brewers’ favor, and as we’ve seen in the past, we can never truly count out a Stearns and Counsell led team.