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PECOTA projects Marlins to finish third in National League East

Miami is projected to finish the season 81-81, which would be a four win improvement from 2014.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami feels it will improve once again after posting 77 wins a season ago. But the Marlins' offseason moves are only good enough for third in the National League East, according to PECOTA, the projection system put out by Baseball Prospectus. The Marlins are expected to win 81 games and finish the season at five hundred, which would mark a four game improvement from 2014.

The Nationals and Mets are projected to finish the season first and second, respectively, with the Braves finishing fourth and the Phillies fifth.

PECOTA believes the Marlins will have success on the mound in 2015, with the system estimating the Marlins will score and allow a total of 636 runs, an average of just under four (3.9) per game.

Here's what some of the numbers really mean:

  • PECOTA thinks it will take 90 games to win the National League East. The Nationals are expected to end the 2015 season with a 91-71 record, which is a short drop off from last season's 96-66 campaign. Both the Giants and Pirates won National League Wild Card spots in 2014 with 88 wins, and the Marlins are hoping to get there. Ultimately, while the Nationals are projected to win the division, 82 wins for the Mets may not be enough for a playoff spot in the world of PECOTA.
  • PECOTA believes the Marlins and Mets are very similar squads. And that will likely prove to be true. The Marlins improved their offense and are expected to have a solid rotation until Jose Fernandez returns this summer. The Mets have a handful of young and talented starters, with an offense anchored by David Wright. In the world of PECOTA, the Marlins and Mets will be competitive rivals. In reality, they could both challenge the Nationals, too.
  • Although it is just a projection, PECOTA has challenged the Marlins' offense. The team's on-base percentage is expected to be .252, with a .305 on-base percentage. Miami improved its offense this offseason, but the uncertainty regarding Giancarlo Stanton could have led to that number being a bit low. Martin Prado, Michael Morse, and Dee Gordon should help Miami's offense. At the end of the season, those projections may end up being a bit low.
  • The key takeaway here is that every win will matter for the Marlins. The club, for the most part, successfully avoided losing streaks in 2014, and doing so again next season is essential. A couple of mistakes late in games is the difference between ending the season at five hundred or three games above it in the world of PECOTA.
  • Based on these projections, the expectations for the Marlins in 2015 are not much higher than they were in 2014. The current odds to win the World Series are 33/1 for the Marlins, and 11/2 for the Nationals, according to Bovada.
Miami, essentially, is projected to be an average team. The club, after adding Mat Latos, Morse, Dan Haren, Prado, and Gordon should improve. Ichiro Suzuki gives them outfield depth. And the bullpen is experienced. The Marlins could very well be a five hundred team in 2015. But if they want to make the playoffs, they will have to be better.