Explaining Baseball-Reference's laughably disrespectful 2024 Yankees prediction

It could happen! But that's not even what they meant.
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

On Monday night, Baseball-Reference, a trusted statistical resource, shocked the world by posting what they purported to be their current World Series odds and standings predictions. Curious Yankees fans, after not seeing their team among the many listed plausible World Series winners, clicked through in order to see how B-R could view their team so unfavorably. They were likely shocked by what they found.

Not only is Baseball-Reference counting the Yankees out of the World Series mix, but the site currently projects the team to finish dead last in the AL East with a median record of 71-91. Their projected "high watermark" for the 2024 Yankees is 82-80. Low? 61-101! What?!

We get it. Nobody likes the Yankees, they're too old, Gerrit Cole's out, Juan Soto doesn't exist. Pessimism is fair. They have to prove it before they deserve plaudits. But pessimism to this degree? From an unbiased computer simulation? While sites like FanGraphs project the Yankees to finish first in the AL East, win 87 games, and have a 71.6% chance to make the playoffs? Somebody better have gotten their wires crossed here.

As it turns out, though, according to MLB's Mike Petriello's helpful explanation, the wires are just fine. On the contrary, B-R included a helpful disclaimer explaining themselves. In our humble opinion, though, they instead should've written, "Do not read this site for 100 days."

2024 Yankees Projections: Why Does Baseball Reference Hate This Team?

Thankfully, Petriello helpfully clipped Baseball-Reference's disclaimer (after thousands of Yankee fans had presumably already spammed their inbox with hate mail).

This particular simulation estimates a roster's quality based on "their performance over their last 100 regular season games," which makes perfect sense, because during that span of time, the New York Yankees were very bad!

I, too, would project the 2023 New York Yankees would perform very poorly in 2024, especially based on a 100-game span mostly spent without Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo and definitely spent without Juan Soto. Very interesting predictions for sure!

There's no good reason this should've gone live on the site without a screaming, honking red caveat in any tweets describing the projections. It's extremely easy to misunderstand this projection, given all the other projections baseball fans are exposed to this time of year. No forward-thinking metric should predict this year's Yankees entirely based on last year's Yankees, and it's probably time to just bookmark this page and see how the statisticians feel again in mid-June.

Could the Yankees go 71-91? It's possible, if not plausible. It'd certainly represent the team's biggest travesty in 30+ years, and would mean they managed to finish 13 games worse than the irrelevant juggernaut that relied on Brian Roberts, Yangervis Solarte, Dean Anna and Chase Whitley back in 2014.

But, once again, this "projection" isn't even attempting to touch that third rail. They're merely saying that, if last year's bad Yankees played some more games, they'd still be very bad. Groundbreaking, and probably didn't need to be proclaimed on the eve of Opening Day.