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PECOTA loves the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 14, 2010 03:57 PM

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If you think baseball statistics begin and end at batting average and ERA, this is not the post for you.

There, you've been warned.

The latest PECOTA projections are up at Baseball Prospectus and Red Sox fans will like what they see. PECOTA has the Sox winning the AL East by two games over the Yankees and scoring a healthy 808 runs.

PECOTA is a sabermetric projection system that I would look foolish trying to explain. It was invented by Nate Silver and has proven to be fairly accurate over the years. Silver used his projection ability to correctly forecast 49 of the 50 states in the last presidential election and every Senate race. This is a very smart guy, so don't just laugh this off.

(Yes, it was named after Bill Pecota, the Kansas City infielder)

In essence, the formula tries to project the career path of every player based on their history. Take the 25 players you expect to be on the roster, project their playing time and you can project the number of victories based on runs scored and runs allowed.

Obviously this can (and will) change because of injury, trades or a player having an off-the-charts unexpectedly good or bad season. But it's fun to take a look at.

PECOTA is digging the pitching staff. It has Josh Beckett (15-8, 3.46), Jon Lester (15-8, 3.40) and John Lackey (13-8, 3.60) all performing well and Jon Papelbon registering 42 saves. Offensively, it sees the Sox having a balanced lineup with a high on-base percentage (.360) and ultimately a run differential of 131.

The projections have shifted back and forth several times between the Red Sox and the Yankees. But the general idea is that the Sox should win in the neighborhood of 95 games.

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