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PECOTA projections have Milwaukee finishing in third place in NL Central

PECOTA has Brewers finishing below .500 for first time in a full season since 2016

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2024 PECOTA projections have been released, and Milwaukee fans likely won’t be too happy with what Baseball Prospectus foresees coming this season.

For the first time since 2020, PECOTA sees Milwaukee finishing under .500 and outside of the top two spots in the NL Central. The Brewers, of course, still made the postseason in the COVID-shortened season of 2020, going 29-31 and locking up the final spot in the NL.

The last time Milwaukee finished below .500 in a full season was 2016 (73-89), which was also the last time the Brewers finished outside the top two in the division in a full season (fourth place).

Per this season’s projections, the Cardinals will win the division with a win percentage of .528, which works out to 85 or 86 wins. The Cubs are projected to come in second at 80-82, followed by the Brewers at 79-83, Cincinnati at 78-84, and Pittsburgh at 73-89.

If those results play out, that would make the NL Central the closest division from top to bottom in the league, with just 12 or 13 wins separating first place from last.

Notably, Milwaukee is still given a 24.3% chance of making the postseason, just behind Chicago’s 31.2% and just ahead of Cincinnati’s 22.3%. The Brewers are given a 12.7% chance to win the division and an 11.6% chance of earning a wild card spot.

Last season, PECOTA had the Crew winning the division with an 88-74 record, which was close to the actual result of 92-70. However, the Brewers lost Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes and co-ace Brandon Woodruff this offseason, leaving the team with a depleted starting rotation, which was once the strength of this team. Milwaukee did manage to add a big bat in Rhys Hoskins while the team is also looking ahead with major prospects in Jackson Chourio, Jeferson Quero, Tyler Black, DL Hall, and Joey Ortiz well on their way to regular big-league playing time, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact those guys will have in 2024.

As for the rest of the league, the Dodgers and Braves are unsurprisingly the top team’s by record projections, winning roughly 101 games each (101.1 for L.A. and 100.7 for Atlanta). The worst team in the league is projected to be Washington at 57.9 wins, just ahead of the 58 wins projected for Colorado.