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PECOTA picks the Angels to win the AL West

February 11th, 2013


Baseball Prospectus’s uber projection tool PECOTA gives Halos fans some reason to be optimistic. Today, BP released its 2013 projections, and PECOTA predicts that the Angels will win American League West with a 90-72 season. Finishing second, the Texas Rangers are projected to finish 87-75.

90 wins seems like a reasonable estimate for the Angels, who are coming off an 89-73 campaign. Arguments can be made against the strength of the club’s relatively older rotation, and, as Andrew Karcher wrote last week, Mike Trout could be due for some regression. These fallbacks are met by the addition of Josh Hamilton, a significantly stronger bullpen, a potential bounce back for Albert Pujols, the addition of the Astros to the bottom of the division, and fewer plate appearances from Vernon Wells.

With all of that on the table, a one-game improvement seems to short-change the club’s offseason. Over the next few days we’ll sort through many of the individual projections to see where we (actually just I) disagree with one of baseball’s most respected projection systems, but today, we can rejoice in the fact that the pundits believe in the Halos!

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  • Andrew Karcher says on: February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm


    Well since Nate Silver developed PECOTA, I don’t see the point in playing out the season.

  • Dubya19 says on: February 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm


    “With all of that on the table, a one-game improvement seems to short-change the club’s offseason….we can rejoice in the fact that the pundits believe in the Halos!

    I think this is a case of “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice….” You know how it goes. The one-game improvement might seem like short-changing to you, but after the pundits REALLY believed in the Angels last year – not sure what the PECOTA projection was, but ESPN was salivating all over them with talk of a 100-win season and 1/3 of the writers predicting a WS victory parade – expectations are a little more tempered to reality herein 2013.

    I don’t think a one-game improvement is short-changing in all. In fact, I think it might be generous. I have to laugh at the talk of a “bounce back” from Pujols. The dude is 33 and any talke of him getting back anywhere close to Beast Mode just doesn’t pass the smell test. Saying Hamilton is mercurial is putting it nicely. The rotation is thin behind Weaver, and the farm system is depleted. You’ll miss 5-win Torii Hunter too. You’ll get Trout for a full season, but I would counter that by saying that the Angels were one of the luckier teams in MLB in 2012 when it came to the injury bug. What if Weaver, Trout, Hamilton, or Pujols miss significant time to injury in 2013? What if more than one of them do?

    • Hudson Belinsky says on: February 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm


      It isn’t ridiculous at all to assume Pujols could bounce back in 2013. Legendary players don’t usually fall of the map instantly. Hunter was replaced by Hamilton, who could be very good. He’s a very boom-or-bust player, but he has the ability to be a star. I don’t trust anyone who says they can predict what Hamilton will do in 2013.

      Yes, if one or more of the team’s best players misses significant time with injury, the team will not be as good.

      Your reasoning is flawed. You want to say that because the 2012 team failed to live up to expectations–expectations of respected analysts, based on sound reasoning–that the 2013 team will. There are definitely causes for concern, but this is a team that should be very good.

      • Dubya19 says on: February 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm


        “Your reasoning is flawed. You want to say that because the 2012 team failed to live up to expectations–expectations of respected analysts, based on sound reasoning–that the 2013 team will.”

        I disagree. I think most expert analysts got caught up in the offseason hype, particularly regarding Pujols and Wilson. They envisioned 2012 Pujols as pretty much on par with 2007-2009 Pujols, and that clearly wasn’t the case. Hell, ESPN still had him ranked as the best player in MLB last preseason. Anyone who saw him play in 2011 knew those days were well behind him. And expectations for Wilson were a little higher as well. It takes some people a little longer to come around to seeing the flaws in a team, but they eventually do. That’s the crux of my point. The experts can see in retrospect that they over-estimated the impnact of Pujols and Wilson, and now, correcting for that and also adding another year of wear and tear (as both are in the backside of their prime years), it’s quite reasonable for expectations to be tempered.

        Unless Mike Trout hits .335/.425/.575 and Jered Weaver goes 20-5 with a <2.50 ERA to carry this team, I don't think they even sniff the playoffs.

  • Dubya19 says on: February 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm


    Looking strictly at internal moves, aging, regression/expectations, etc., I think the Angels shape up to be a slightly worse team in 2013 than in 2012. The biggest harbinger of hope, however, comes from what happened outside the organization with the putrid offseason by the Rangers and the addition of the Astros to the AL West. Both should help; however, let’s not forget the A’s actually won the division and should have gotten better while the Mariners are a wild card that might surprise. And I wouldn’t assume the Astros will just come in and be everybody’s patsy. They’ll be bad, no doubt, but I guarantee there’ll be at least a couple of teams they have .500 or better records against. It might just be the Angels that are the ones who can’t get up to play them.

    • Hudson Belinsky says on: February 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm


      I agree that the A’s are a significant threat. I think PECOTA is light on them. Definitely a threat to win the division, if not more. I could see the Mariners having a surprising year if their young talent can come up and impact the big league team, but it seems unlikely if we’re looking solely at the big league roster.

      The Astros aren’t good. They’ll probably win somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 games. Baseball isn’t a sport that’s easily predicted from game to game or week to week. It could go either way.

  • ParisB says on: February 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm


    Last season they blew 22 saves and had a flukey 1-8 mark against TB. They won 89 games despite that and while playing in the best division. You’re not credible if you think this team is closer to the outside than it is amongst the best teams aspiring for a world series.

    They improved their bullpen and rotation. They have a top tier offense (and balanced), top tier outfield and infield defense. They had good road record desperate the the failures of their middle relief early on.

    The pieces are there. Don’t be foolish. Every team has question marks but you can’t just look at all the potential negatives. Everything went right for the Nationals and they still got bounced in the playoffs. Go write about their doom. They can get regression from their young guys and injuries to their stars too, lol, and finish with 80 wins.

    The Tigers had the7th best record in AL, below .500 record on the road, atrocious defense and base running, 7th best run differential in AL, and generally mediocre outside their pathetic division yet you talk them up like a powerhouse.

    • Dubya19 says on: February 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm


      You use the word “flukey” (sic) a lot. Methinks you don’t understand very well the randomness involved in a 162-game baseball season. Espcially since you seem to consider anything that doesn’t paint the Angels as a 100-win juggernaut that’s a legitimate WS contender is, by definition, flukey.

      Lost of teams blew lots of saves and could make the same argument (“Oh, we’d have won 90 games if not for….”) Lots of teams had record against individual teams that were anomalies (“Damn, we’d have won 90 if we’d have just won half our games against that 100-loss squad.”). And lots of teams have players who performed in way sthat defied expectations (“How’d he hit just .265 when he’s a career .300 hitter???)

      It all evens out over 162 games. It is what it is. And the Angels are not an elite team. My best guess would put them anywhere from around 8th best to 15th best.

      • Hudson Belinsky says on: February 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm


        I’m curious, Dubya. What kind of moves in this offseason would you have made if you were in charge of the Angels? The bullpen was in issue in 2012, so they tried to make it an area of strength in 2013. The rotation wasn’t very good (or reliable) in 2012, and so they added some innings-eating types who have a track record of staying on the mound, and a wild card in Tommy Hanson. There’s some depth Richards and Williams, who were competing for spots at this time last year. Given that the team is in a win-now mode, I think it made some very strong moves this offseason, and it isn’t unreasonable at all to think that this team could win the division.

      • ParisB says on: February 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm



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