The Royals dispatched the Cincinnati Reds tonight in a sloppy, rain-lengthened game, picking up their 73rd win of the season—one better than the much-maligned prediction from Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA forecasting tool.
Much ridicule was wasted in the off season after a series of articles dared to wonder if other teams would emulate the Royals defense and relief pitching template for getting to the World Series. Well, the trading deadline saw many teams attempting to do just that.
I come not to bury the projections, because I am a fan of them. I find it fun to play with numbers and charts, especially in the off season when no real games are being played.
I won’t try to shout down the haters who done their hatin’ when institutions like the Wall Street Journal dabbled in the world of sports to get some readers and presented half-baked theories with some heavy recent bias. As you can tell, I enjoy that, too.
No, I just want to enjoy this vanquishing of the projection. The BP projection (and many others) are best used to put how well the Royals are playing into perspective. They are leading the league, for sure, but they are also leaving behind the years of under performance that led to such lowly estimations of their talent in the first place.
With every win, they are hammering home the point that this is who they are now. A team that gets it done. Not just an October fluke, but a contender all year long.
They playoffs are a crap shoot, and a few fluky bounces or crappy calls could end this season with more than 90 feet between the Royals and a championship, but this entire season has been a joy to watch. The Royals are in front and they belong there. And, I’m not sure anybody would have predicted that.