2020 PECOTA projections have Braves finishing 3rd in NL East, missing playoffs

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ATLANTA, GA - SEP 20: Mike Foltynewicz #26 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates in the clubhouse with champagne at the conclusion of an MLB game against the San Francisco Giants in which they clinched the NL East at SunTrust Park on September 20, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

It's that time of the year again for projections as PECOTA releases its annual team projections, which aren't kind to the Atlanta Braves in 2020.

As Atlanta Braves fans we know just how meaningless pre-season win projections can be, but that doesn't mean they aren't fun to debate and talk about.

Last season there was the infamous MLB Network predictions where none of their "experts" picked the Braves to even make the postseason.

When the Braves went on to win the NL East for the second consecutive season, the fans were quick to remind them of their mistake.

And that will hopefully be the same thing we're doing to PECOTA at the end of the 2020 season as they picked the Braves to finish third in the NL East with just 83 wins.

You can take a look at the full projections here.

It's surprising -- to say the least -- to see the New York Mets at the top of the NL East. Most other projections I've seen have them finishing fourth in the East with the Braves finishing first.

I can't imagine the level of disappointment in Philadelphia if the Phillies finish with just 77 wins.

The NL East will certainly be a competitive division and I can see them beating each other up and one of those top four teams finishing below .500.

But with the depth of the Braves, I find it hard to believe that anyone would think they'd fall from 97 to 83 wins.

I'm not even going to try and act like I understand what goes into these projections, but common sense should tell you that 85 wins is the floor for this Atlanta Braves team in 2020.

Things would have to really go wrong for them to win less than 85 games.

The only real difference in the lineup is Marcell Ozuna is replacing Josh Donaldson. There is certainly a bit of a dropoff there, but not a 14-win drop-off.

And the bullpen should be much better from the start in 2020, which should be good for a couple of extra wins.

I think our friends over at Knockahoma Nation put it best when considering these PECOTA projections...

Again, they're fun to talk about and discuss, and they let us know that baseball is just around the corner. But these projections for the Braves are terrible.

Most other sites would agree that the Braves -- at least on paper -- are the clear favorite in the NL East going into 2020.

As for the rest of the league, the Dodgers are the runaway favorite in the NL, projected to win 103 games, which might actually be low.

They have the Reds winning the NL Central with the Cubs and Nationals facing off in the NL Wild Card game.

In the AL they have the Yankees, Twins, and Astros, which seems pretty obvious, with the Rays and Angels in the AL Wild Card game.

Next: Freeman keeps on keeping on

Let us know what you think about these projections in the comments below. And how many games do you see the Braves winning in 2020?