ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals were just four wins from playing in the 2019 World Series at the end of last season. But just about three months from their NLCS defeat, the defending NL Central champions aren't getting much love in the PECOTA projections.

The PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison Optimization Test Algorithm) projections, which have been done by Baseball Prospectus since 2003, are picking the Cardinals to finish third in the National League Central and win just 80.3 games.

The projections have the Reds and Cubs finishing above St. Louis in the standings, with the Reds taking the division crown with a projected 86 wins.

Watch: Jack Flaherty talks about his 2020 goals at spring training

PECOTA also gives the Cardinals just a 24.4% chance at securing a playoff berth.

This year's projections have the Mets and Dodgers joining the Reds as NL division winners, with New York, Minnesota and Houston taking the divisions in the AL.

Last year, the PECOTA projections had the Cardinals winning 86 games and finishing second to the Brewers in the NL Central. St. Louis ended up winning 91 games, edging out Milwaukee for the Central crown.

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