In a complete shocker to me, PECOTA predicts the following for the American League East:
|Tampa Bay Rays||91||71||713||619||0.253||0.318||0.411||0.266||57.8|
|Boston Red Sox||88||74||735||671||0.272||0.334||0.426||0.268||3.8|
|Toronto Blue Jays||86||76||765||711||0.258||0.331||0.437||0.276||20.5|
|New York Yankees||85||77||725||686||0.252||0.322||0.409||0.261||12.3|
My rooting interest, the Tampa Bay Rays, has been projected by PECOTA to win 91 games. Unlike their AL East rivals, the Yankees and the Red Sox, who made some big splashes with the Aroldis Chapman trade for the former, and the Craig Kimbrel trade and David Price signing for the latter, the Rays have done some nice under the radar off-season moves, for example trading reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies for some much needed offense in Corey Dickerson.
The long forgotten trade of RHP Nathan Karns, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser and CF Boog Powell (I am going to miss that name) to the Seattle Mariners for SS Brad Miller, 1B and anti-lactation activist Logan Morrison and RHP Danny “Lord” Farquhar in November was another subtle little Rays-eque trade. The addition of Hank Conger is, again, another small cog. Alone, none of this seems very impressive, but the brain trust that make up the Rays manage to find value where other teams fail.
Add the Rays pitching magic, hope they stay healthy, and presto–there’s your competitive team. Chris Archer, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, when healthy, stack up one through four against any rotation in the American League East. The fifth rotation spot will come down to a battle between Blake Snell and Erasmo Ramirez. I expect Ramirez to start the season, and then Snell to get the call-up, as Erasmo’s middle name is “No-Third-Time-Through” and Blake’s is “Unlimited Potential.” Blake Snell, their latest left handed pitching prospect, threatens to wreck havoc on the American League, as he is ranked quite highly by most sources. 91 wins? I don’t know about that–I try to be an objective fan if there can be such a thing, and I can’t see that. At the same time, hope springs eternal. Just make it interesting, boys.
In another stunning development, the Cleveland Indians are projected to take the American League Central while the Kansas City Royals are projected to pull a Red Sox per PECOTA–first to worst.
|Chicago White Sox||82||80||697||686||0.257||0.319||0.403||0.263||-27.1|
|Kansas City Royals||76||86||641||685||0.259||0.309||0.385||0.254||20|
PECOTA really likes Cleveland’s line-up and dislikes the Royals’ pitching a lot. I kinda have to disagree. I can’t see them finishing them last although I do think that Cleveland will be a force to reckon with in 2016.
The rest of their projections are not that controversial, at least to me. Houston is expect to capture the AL West.
As for the National League, the Mets are expected to recapture the NL East, with the Nationals coming in second. The Cubs, to no one’s surprise, are projected to come in first place with 92 wins in the NL Central, followed the Pirates in second place, and the Cardinals third. The Dodgers are projected to win the NL West with 94 wins, followed by the Giants.
My dream scenario: Rays-Cubs in World Series, with the Rays winning in 7. I love Joe Maddon, but he must be punished. A girl can dream.
Edit: Lordy, where are my manners? Check ’em out for yourself here.