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PECOTA projects Indians to be second best team in American League

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Well hello there.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections are out, and they are a big fan of the Cleveland Indians.

They don’t care that the Indians lost Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, and Austin Jackson. They don’t care that the Indians haven’t perfected cloning technology and don’t yet have the ability to put Francisco Lindor at every position in the field. No, they have the Indians winning a whopping 97 games in 2018.

Those 97 wins would technically be worse than last season, which is remarkable in itself, but they represent the second best record in the American League behind only the World Series Champion Houston Astros, who are projected to win 99 games.

The American League Central is predictably weak according to PECOTA. Not only does it feature the worst projected team in the league (the 66-win Kansas City Royals*), but if you combine all the non-division winners, the AL Central’s .444 winning percentage is the lowest among any division in baseball. The closest competition for the Indians in the AL Central is the Minnesota Twins at 81 wins — the lowest among any second-place team.

*I just wanted to type it again: The Worst Team in Baseball, The Kansas City Royals. It feels so good.