By Dan Bernstein–
670TheScore.com senior columnist
(670 The Score) The PECOTA projection algorithm used by Baseball Prospectus gets periodic updates as rosters fluctuate, and the Cubs’ signing of right-hander Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126-million contract has now upped their win total from 89 to 92.
I had estimated more conservatively ahead the actual recalculation, just eyeballing numbers from other forward-looking systems to expect a two-win increase when a Mike Montgomery season was swapped out for that of the new arrival, but Baseball Prospectus’ numbers added up for the better.
Darvish projects to be worth 2.6 wins on his own in the starting rotation, with Montgomery now expected to contribute 0.8 wins as a multi-use reliever and spot starter. PECOTA sees Darvish with a team second-best 3.79 ERA among starters to go along with team-bests among starters in WHIP (1.21) and strikeouts (196). The 23 home runs he projects to surrender are also a team high, we should note.
That’s what all those years and millions buy for you, the incremental improvements that can provide more breathing room in trying to assure the divisional titles that avoid the exposure to variance in the wild card coin-flip games. This is an in-window move for a team doing what it can to make another World Series win that much more possible.
And that’s all just to make it about more significant moments in the playoffs, the short series and small sample sizes that not even the smartest baseball minds and most informed and finely tuned algorithms can even pretend to predict.