That said, after reviewing the numbers, I believe the PECOTA projections for teams in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League have at least a 70 percent degree of accuracy. That makes it a good tool for assessing your team's strengths and weaknesses compared to your competition. If your team ranks last in your division in a certain statistical category, you have some work to do. If you are expected to finish first, you can count that category as a strength. I wouldn't read much more into the numbers than that.
With that, here's a look at the team forecasts by division.
HITTING PROJECTIONS - Give it a Yankee appears to have the strongest offense in the division, as PECOTA projects the team to win the runs, home runs and RBI categories. Mike Napoli, Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Phillips, Michael Morse, Corey Hart and Nick Swisher are all projected to hit 20+ home runs. No team in the league is forecast to hit more home runs or drive in more runs and only Los Coche Bomba is projected to score more runs than Give it a Yankee. It's safe to say Brian Benzing will have a potent offense in 2012. Bacon at Mile 11 is projected to lead the division in the fewest number of strikeouts and the highest on base percentage. Interestingly, the team is forecast to finish last in runs scored by a significant margin. Home Run 101 does not have a history of high-powered offenses but the team is projected to win the stolen base category by a significant margin. So much so, that it might benefit Bailey to explore the trade market.
PITCHING PROJECTIONS -The Bulls have built the division's strongest pitching staff. The starting staff is above average, led by Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter but it's the bullpen that pushes this staff to the top. Carolyn has a relief corps that is tied for the lead league in both saves and holds. But it rests on a shaky foundation. The projections call for Juan Oviedo to save 29 games and he's not penciled in as closer in Miami. Frank Francisco could pick up some of the slack, but it's a category worth watching early in the season. The starting staff is also reliant on Carpenter, who is battling a nerve injury that, in the past, has cost him the better part of two seasons.
Brian's offensive strength comes at a price, as Give it a Yankee is projected to finish last in five of the six pitching categories. The team is over-invested in offense, with 15 batters on the roster compared to just 11 pitchers. Brian should be looking to trade some of his offensive talent for a setup man or add a setup man through free agency to increase the team's holds.
SOUTH DIVISIONHITTING PROJECTIONS - Los Coche Bomba owner Jenni Kirk has built another solid offensive team. Bomba is projected to win five of the six offensive categories, including runs, RBI, stolen bases, fewest strikeouts, and on base percentage. The team is the projected to lead the league in runs scored. It is also balanced, with 14 hitters and 12 pitchers on the roster. The team's stolen base potential (four players are projected to steal 20+ bases) could lead to a deal for home run power to create a more balanced offense. The Cys are the division's most offensive team, carrying 15 position players on the roster compared to just 11 pitchers.
PITCHING PROJECTIONS - The Cys are projected to win three of the six pitching categories but tough decisions face owner Carla King. Does she sacrifice some starting pitching or offense to build a corps of setup men? With Matt Moore moving to the starting rotation in Tampa, The Cys have just Andrew Bailey and Aroldis Chapman in the pen. Adding two setup men would help with holds and lower the team ERA and WHIP. The bullpen battles in this division should be epic, with High Cheese holding an advantage at the back end of the pen and Bomba and HUMA solid with setup men.
EAST DIVISIONHITTING PROJECTIONS - This division is close, with three teams laying claim to the best projections in the offensive categories. The Jersey Boys are expected to score the most runs, drive in the most runs, and steal the most bases. Scully's Slammers will have the fewest strikeouts and highest on base percentage, while Twinkle Toes will have the most home runs. The home run category should be an all out war when these teams play each other in Rivalry Weeks. The Slammers could trade some of its offense in exchange for bullpen arms. The team currently has 15 offensive players and only 11 pitchers, with only three relievers. Twinkle Toes is another team unbalanced, with 16 position players and just 10 pitchers. Sunni York's team does not have a closer but it could trade some home run power for setup men.
PITCHING PROJECTIONS - Like the offense, the pitching categories in this division are very close and could be impacted significantly with a couple of roster moves. The Machine is trying to rebuild the back end of the bullpen after Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson were lost for the season with elbow injuries. They accounted for more than half the team's save projections. The Jersey Boys could shed an offensive player to add a starting pitcher to help elevate the strikeouts and quality starts. The team is heavy on offense with 15 hitters on the roster and only five starting pitchers.
WEST DIVISIONHITTING PROJECTIONS - Three of the four teams in this division are projected to win at least one offensive category, with the Lower Haighters projected for three. The offenses in this division are dramatically different. A-Rod's Mirrors has speed but lacks power. The Lower Haighters and Vicious Fishes are built around home run power. The Menehunes can score runs, ranking in the top five overall in that category. The Menehunes and Vicious Fishes both have 15 hitters and just 11 pitchers. Both teams should consider making trades or adding free agents to bolster their pitching staffs.
PITCHING PROJECTIONS - The bullpen weaknesses resulting from unbalanced rosters becomes evident for the Vicious Fishes and Menehunes when the pitching projections are reviewed. The Menehunes need to find a closer, which can be difficult, but not impossible, during the first month of the season. With injuries cutting down closers at a rapid pace, a free agent setup man could move into position to gain saves in April. The Fishes should be able to find a quality setup man. The Fishes could also have problems in the saves category, as Neftali Feliz and Chris Sale account for 31 of the projected 45 saves and both pitchers are being converted to starters in Spring Training. The Mirrors have a well rounded pitching staff to compliment its running offense.