First mistake: I'm watching Baseball Tonight.
Don't ask me why. In any case, during a Spring Training highlight of the Astros and the Marlins, and Karl Ravech makes the off-hand comment that the Nationals rotation looks "formidable this year."
Buster Olney -- a fantastic reporter but an awful analyst, something ESPN is oblivious of -- tops that innocent statement by saying, "no question about it, best rotation in the National League East." A shocked Karl Ravech prodded him on it a few more times through the next several highlights, and Olney just dug in his heels.
Well now. I think there might be a question about that.
So does PECOTA, which puts them at 821 runs allowed, good for last in the division (100 behind the Mets). Sure, that includes fielding, but still. The starters' ERAs range from 4.01 to 5.17 (meh stat, but give me a break). No VORP projected above 30, only one above 20. VORP is kind of lazy, but CHONE gives them about the same sort of performance in Runs Above Replacement, in fact a bit more dire. Though the ERAs are better, I still contend those don't look like the ERAs of a rotation that's unquestionably the best in a division, but who knows, it could happen. PECOTA and CHONE are wrong often. I'm sure Buster Olney doesn't have a history of being made to look stupid by the two systems because of silly, bold predictions.
It seems as though he just gets totally caught up in the story--"the Orioles are going to be really bad; how bad? well look, I'm going to predict they lose 106 games!"--without realizing how silly it is to make such extreme predictions.
Oh. . . my. . .
Well how about this?
I really can't stress enough how funny it is that Olney does worse than just using previous year's record. It's at least closer with the increased sample size--he beat the '06 record by a good deal in '07--but it's still quite pathetic. Here's a guy who probably follows baseball as closely as anyone on the planet, and he isn't adding an ounce of information to least year's records with his predictions. It's kind of incredible, really.
Sooooooo. . . there's kind of a history of this.
You might want to back off of your bold statements of unquestionable facts there, Buster.