The Cubs won 95 games in 2018, have the most wins in baseball since the start of 2015, with pretty much the same core, but after a disappointing end to last year some fans are fearing the worse for 2019. Baseball Prospectus has released its annual PECOTA projections and they certainly aren’t going to make Cubs fans any more optimistic.

If you’re not familiar.

PECOTA, which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is BP’s proprietary system that projects player and team performance

PECOTA is a system that takes a player’s past performance and tries to project the most likely outcome for the following season. It looks at all of the numbers, and all the numbers that make up the numbers, to see which players are more likely to repeat their success and which ones benefited from good fortune.

According to PECOTA, the 2019 Cubs will finish in third place with 82 wins.

Yikes.

As always, these are just projections. They’re sometimes wrong by a lot in either direction and sometimes they’re right.

The biggest difference between the Cubs and Brewers according to the projections is the pitch framing. The Brewers signed Yasmani Grandal, while the Cubs have Willson Contreras. The projections still think Contreras will be one of the worst pitch framers in 2019.

However, there is evidence that Contreras’ down 2018 behind the dish was definitely a fluke.

I mean, yeah 2017 was below average, but 2018 was unbelievably bad for him. So, get a solid back up and more rest for Willy.

Anyway, I’m sure players are well aware of the negativity toward the team this offseason, some of it deserved, but at least they’re getting some bulletin board material. After winning 95 games, the Cubs get to play the underdog role.