Following in the tradition of such battles as King Kong vs Godzilla, the Abbott and Costello vs Frankenstein, and Trump vs Rosie, here comes PECOTA vs SWOBODA. Baseball Prospectus put out their Prospectus Hit List today. Now I realize that the rankings are made up of more than just PECOTA, but it is the main component used in ranking the teams.
Usually I think their rankings are pretty good, but this season they are really wacky. Despite the excellent writing talents of Jay Jaffe, the pre-season edition of their Hit List cannot escape the bizarre ratings he has to use. We will see at the end of the year, but I suspect that someone will have to reexamine the PECOTA's engine in November.
I have listed my Top 30, with BP's in parenthesis. Like BP, I don't just grade strictly on record, as the AL is superior to the NL. For example, I suspect the Braves will have more wins than any team other than the Red Sox, but I knock them down to where I think they rate among all of MLB.
Pre-season Top 30
Red Sox (3)
White Sox (27?)
Blue Jays (21)
Devil Rays (24)
Look at BP's list and 3 thing jump out at me about the biases that PECOTA suffers from.
Top-notch young players are given too much credit. The Diamondbacks and Brewers are rated highly because of this factor. It reminds me of the guy who during a fantasy draft gets all excited about obtaining the hot prospects. Talented, young players are great, but I think you can get too far out ahead of yourself on them.
Big hitting teams, with questionable bullpens grade out well. See Indians, Phillies, and Rangers. These are the type of teams that are going to underperform their pythagorean, as they win a lot of 12-3 games, but fail too often on the 4-3 contests.
Teams with pitching staffs that don't have high strikeout ratios are downgraded. The White Sox are the best example of this.