Once again, an analytical system projects an ugly season for the Kansas City Royals. This has become an annual event. Even through Kansas City's trip to the World Series in 2014 and their championship in 2015, the projections have been right in the same range, so whatever is being missed is being missed consistently.
But the numbers that were the most surprising from Baseball Prospectus this year were the metrics behind the Chicago Cubs' forecast of 91 wins. Chicago won 103 games in the regular season last year, and at least one statistical model suggests the Cubs played well enough to win 107 games. After they won the World Series, they made few changes: allowing Dexter Fowler to leave as a free agent while knowing that Kyle Schwarber is back and ready to assume at-bats, and replacing closer Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis. Their bullpen will be deeper at the outset of 2017 than it was a year ago, given the addition of Koji Uehara and the emergence of Carl Edwards.
You could argue that the Cubs are due for some bad injury luck, after keeping their rotation mostly intact last season. But such a steep drop-off would be surprising -- almost as surprising as the statistical projections for the Cubs to suffer a significant defensive regression.