I'm not going to say that the Miami Marlins are going to win the 2013 World Series, or say that I think they even have a particularly good shot at doing so. I just know that the Marlins have a shot, a rather insignificant, but still existent shot at winning the 2013 World Series.
Projection systems do not like the Marlins' chances in 2013. PECOTA's Playoff Odds gives the Marlins a rounded 0.0 percent chance at winning the World Series and a 1.0 percent chance of making the divisional round of the playoffs. The Vegas odds of the Marlins winning the World Series are 200 to 1. There is, however, a reason that the Marlins are not given an absolute 0.00000 percent chance of winning the World Series or going at infinity to one in the Vegas books. There is still that little chance the Marlins defy the odds and go all the way.
Underdog stories are what make sports fun. You never know exactly what will happen before the start of the game or before the start of a season. Even in a long 162 game season things could happen that now seem absurd. At the start of the 2012 season the Baltimore Orioles were given a 0.0 percent chance of winning their division by PECOTA and their chance to win the first Wild Card was similarly 0.0 percent. The Orioles of 2012 faced longer odds than the Marlins of 2013 will face and they managed to overcome them to have a fantastic season.
This is not meant to bash PECOTA or other projection systems in any way at all. PECOTA is an incredibly useful tool to gauge what is the most likely outcome, which is the best that anyone can ever hope for in a projection system. As put best by author Lemony Snicket:
"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure".
PECOTA was designed by Nate Silver, who, despite the accusations of critics is not a witch and has no (known) ability to see the future. With PECOTA and other such projection systems we have one of the ways of knowing something for "pretty sure". In this situation the "something" is how the Marlins will perform in 2013. We are pretty sure they will not have a good season, we should go into 2013 expecting a bad season, but a good season for the 2013 Marlins is not an impossibility.