Early Projection From RLYW: 89 Wins, Wild Card

SG over at RLYW has posted his initial CAIRO projected standings for the 2011 season, with the caveat that it is really, really early to be drawing significant conclusions from the data. Regardless, they should provide a decent guide for where teams stand relative to one another at this point, so click through to view the standings and then come back here for some takeaways:

1) The AL East should be a dogfight again, although the Red Sox (98 wins) are clearly ahead of the Yankees (89) and Rays (87) at this point. However, it is important to note that the Yankees and Rays are not finished products, while the Red Sox look largely complete. Adding Andy Pettitte, a bullpen arm, and a bench bat would likely put the Yankees in the 93 win range and in the conversation for a division title if they got a few breaks. Even without adding anybody, they should be good enough to compete for a wild card spot, which allows Brian Cashman some cushion before he needs to address the starting rotation.

2) The Blue Jays project to win 74 games, and I would not be surprised to see the Orioles pass them in the standings this season. The Jays are just mediocre all over the field, and losses in both the rotation and the bullpen will hurt them mightily.

3) The Twins, Tigers, and White Sox all project between 86 and 84 wins, and I could see that division going down to the wire, with the Twins the slight favorite to come out on top. However, an argument could be made that all 3 AL East teams are superior to any of the Central teams, and I think it likely that the Wild Card once again goes to an AL East team.

4) The Rangers project as being 7 wins better than the improved Athletics and a whopping 12 wins ahead of the still unfinished Angels. Adrian Beltre and Rafael Soriano would help close that gap, and move the Angels to within striking distance in the division. I do not see another logical suitor for either player, and expect both to land in Los Angeles.

5) Other than the Phillies, the NL is a morass of decent-to-mediocre clubs that should make for some fascinating races. The Cards, Brewers, Reds, Rockies, Giants, and Dodgers should all contend for their respective division titles, while the losers in those divisions will likely compete with the Braves for the Wild Card. The NL seems to have achieved some measure of parity, and I would not be at all surprised to see 3 new playoff teams come out of the league.

6 thoughts on “Early Projection From RLYW: 89 Wins, Wild Card

  1. bg90027

    I think you are underestimating the Blue Jays. I highly doubt the O’s pass them and It wouldn’t shock me if they passed the Rays. If Lind and Hill have rebound years, Drabek has a strong rookie year, and the other young starters continue to improve, they could be a real force to be reckoned with. They have a few holes in their lineup and the bullpen is full of question marks but they have a great farm system to make trade with if they want to make a run at it.

    • Moshe Mandel

      It would shock me. I think they overachieved to win 85 games last year. I see them as more of an 80 win club that has gotten worse.

  2. bg90027

    It would shock me. I think they overachieved to win 85 games last year. I see them as more of an 80 win club that has gotten worse.  

    You could very well be right. Blue Jays are a hard team to project with lots of questions. How much do Bautista and Wells regress? Do Lind and Hill bounce back from subpar years? What do they get from the rookies and Travis Snider? Does Morrow build on last year and become an elite young ace? Does the rest of the rotation stay relatively healthy?

    Positive answers to all those questions and they will be a force to be reckoned with. Negative answers and they will be a 75 win team. I don’t think they will make the playoffs although stranger things have happened and I am not predicting that they will pass the Rays. I wouldn’t be shocked by it though. I think the Rays are potentially a much weaker team than last year. Unless Upton figures things out there is no one other than Longoria in that offense that would scare anyone. Why should anyone pitch to Longoria this year? The bullpen has lost at least as much as the Blue Jays and Price threw a lot of innings last year. O’s will be better if only because of Showalter but I don’t think they have enough pitching to pass the Blue Jays yet.

  3. Reggie C.

    Why does Vernon Wells have to regress? Wells has had good seasons in the past. Why can’t Brandon Morrow win 15 games on sheer talent? Morrow’s arsenal is better than what Hughes has. Bautista is the only real regression candidate of the bunch.

    • Moshe Mandel

      And yet they statistically project to 74 wins. Which suggests that losses to FA/trades, plus regression from the players still there, is costing them a number of wins.

  4. bg90027

    Why does Vernon Wells have to regress?Wells has had good seasons in the past.Why can’t Brandon Morrow win 15 games on sheer talent?Morrow’s arsenal is better than what Hughes has.Bautista is the only real regression candidate of the bunch.  

    Its not that Wells HAS to regress but he is a candidate to regress. He’s a CF in his 30’s and last year was his best year in 4 years (120 increase in OPS over the prior year). I’m not expecting him to fall off a cliff next year but to be fair he’ll probably not have the same year. I think most would expect Bautista to regress a bit. You could argue everyone else is a decent candidate to improve year over year either due to weak years in 2010 (Hill & Lind) or youth.

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