My colleague Jerome Ludwig e-mailed me the following reminder of the scarily impressive accuracy of the PECOTA system developed by Baseball Prospectus’s Nate Silver (now also behind ):

I was wondering about this year’s Golden BAT Award, suggesting to Miner that surely no one picked the Rays to make the playoffs, and yet:

“Baseball Prospectus is not prepared to call the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays the best team in the AL, but its PECOTA projection system, which precisely predicted the White Sox‘ stunning 18-win falloff last season, forecasts an 88-74 finish for baseball’s perennial bottom-feeders, a 22-win jump from 2007. “

Not quite 97-65, but not bad.

And, I might add, even more impressive in its analysis of key players like ALCS MVP winner Matt Garza and clincher David Price–well worth a read