PECOTA projections are best known for predicting the performance of an individual player. The acronym stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm and is described by Baseball Prospectus on its website as a “proprietary system that projects player performance based on comparison with historical player-seasons.”
The player projections are used to come up with team projections.
So how good have the PECOTA projections been at predicting White Sox seasons? It doesn’t take a math expert to realize that with so many unpredictable variables, dialing in an exact record can be difficult.
Since 2005, the projections have been within three games only twice. In 2007, the White Sox won one less game than projected, and in 2011, they won three less than projected. Getting that close should be commended. Twice the predictions were off by double digits.
In the eight previous projections before this season, the White Sox actually won more games than expected six times. The biggest misfire came in 2005 when the White Sox won 19 more games than projected.
So what does it all mean? Not a whole lot really, but at this time of the year it’s all we have. As they say, it’s why they play the games.