It’s the time of year that player and team predictions start trickling out. Most are just some blowhard’s thoughts on a team he rarely watches (for example, BN’s annual and upcoming “Why X Team Will Suck in 2011” series), but others are deeply involved statistical analyses that are a little bit harder to ignore.

Such are the annual Baseball Prospectus projections. And a warning: they are profoundly unkind to the 2011 iteration of the Chicago Cubs.*

BP has the Cubs finishing a lowly 70-92, 5th in the NL Central, ahead of only the Pirates. The Cubs will finish as the 8th worst team in all of baseball on the strength (weakness?) of a pathetic .245/.313/.382 offense (the Cubs went .257/.320/.401 last year – seems like a steep decline) and a pitching staff they say will be third worst in the National League. To the latter point, the Cubs were the 10th worst pitching staff in baseball last year, so the projection is not utterly insane, if overly pessimistic.

Other points of interest: BP thinks the Reds will win the NL Central by 8 games over the Cardinals, who are followed by the Astros (um, what?), and then the Brewers, Cubs, Pirates. BP obviously was not impressed by the Brewers’ offseason: they’ve got the team going just 75-87 and giving up more runs than the Cubs.

*Given that Brewers figure, it must be the case that these projections predate some of the offseason. It’s a bit unclear when the projections were made, but a note on the page suggests they could be as old as September. If so, I’m not sure how much¬†credence¬†even BP would give this particular set of projections.

h/t CCO.

UPDATE: BP has confirmed that the projections (which are now missing from the above-linked page) were created last year, before the offseason, and they weren’t meant to be posted at this time. While it is likely that BP’s actual 2011 projections will be unkind to the Cubs, we can at least hope they will be slightly less unkind.

  • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

    Since when did “BP” (British Petroleum) begin predicting baseball? After the oil spill?

  • pfk (Peter F. Kempf)

    How did BP’s predictions turn out last year?

    • EQ

      Had them going 79-83

  • One Who’s Style Is Old

    Jeez, I say 81 wins. Apparently, I’m a moron.

  • Harry Da Hoss

    Every year at about this time, all the guru’s and seer’s show up with their predictions. Rarely are any of them “in the ballpark”… If one believes any one of these forcasts, then there is no sense in going to any ballgames since you already know the season’s outcome…. But for the rest of the foolish Cub fans (myself included), I suggest we watch the games and add another season to the Cubbies string and enjoy whatever the outcome……..By the way, my Mom passed away last year, she too a life-long fan, (born 1920) and always thought that she would see World Series game, but alas.

  • greg

    Seems like a pretty terrible offensive prediction. I mean that’s basically predicting worse than no bounce back for Rami (and Pena but I guess this was before him) which is contrary to what statistics would argue. Also regressions for the rookies? Idk where they are coming up with their numbers but they seem bad.

  • Wickit

    They also have the best team in the AL 3rd in their division. They have the Red Sox 3rd in the division behind The Yankees and Rays. LOL. I am not saying the Cubs are contender but that prediction is just stupid.

  • Willis

    Having the Astros finish above the Brewers as a prediction is laughable enough to go ahead and put zero stock in this. I don’t think the Cubs will finish anywhere near the 22 games under .500 mark.

  • Mike

    All these predictions are generally made off how they finished last year. Seems to be nothing different. Just like the Cubs were predicted to finish second last year based off the year before………

  • BT

    I refuse to believe these are their predictions for 2011. They are a holdover from 2010. There is simply no way they think the Rays are going to win 98 games after the offseason they had.

    BP won’t love the Cubs, but I have to think this is the last set of projections they made in 2010, since no predictions are listed for individual players.

    • Ace

      I don’t doubt you’re right (hence my footnote) – though they are definitely 2011 projections; why BP would be making 2011 team predictions in mid-September of 2010, you can search me. And when you click around on that page, you’ll see that BP is representing those as current 2011 projections.

      • BT

        I think that is where the 2011 projections WILL go when they are ready. They haven’t done the depth charts yet, and that is what the projections are based on, as the depth charts determine playing time for each player.

        And actually, now that I click on that link, the projected standings are gone. I’d say that pretty much confirms they haven’t done the 2011 ones yet.

        • Ace

          Yeah, they tweeted late yesterday that the standings were inadvertently placed on that page as though they were new. Goofs all around. As this post will soon be buried, I’m disinclined to update it; instead I’ll just make a new post when the projections do come out.

  • BT

    check that, it even says “last update 9-11”. I would think that’s 9-11-10. This is a non-story.

    • Kenny L.

      Yeah, Ace said that in the post.

  • Philoe Beddoe

    all this hub-hub-a-loo about projections…who cares?…at this point I could see the Cubs predicted as a 5th place team…we should be happy about that!….the Cubs usually never do well when expected and surprise when they are supposed to be crap…I know that sometimes Baseball Prospectus is eerily correct (so good that they now predict elections very accurately too)…..

    here’s how you know we have an extremely average to below average team….the MLB network has this series on the 10 best at each position and Mamrol (5th) and Castro (10th) are the only ones to get a sniff yet…I would imagine Soto will when they do Catchers, but I watched the 2b one the other night and it was laughable how far off the Cubs are at that position(and CF, and LF, and RF and 1B)

  • IA Cub

    How about a trade of Soriano for Michael Young. Put Young at 2b for this year until A Ram gets hurt then move him to third. Young is probably not going to still you very many bases but I bet he would get on pretty consistently in the leadoff spot.