The good folks over at Replacement Level Yankees Weblog have finished their annual mathematical projections of the 2007 season. In short they run 1000 simulations for the 2007 season using player projections from four different sources including Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS, Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA, Diamond Mind’s projections and Sean Smith’s CHONE system.

Last season only the first three projections were used and when combined, the Rays were projected to win 71 games and made the playoffs 17 out 3000 seasons or slightly more than 0.5% of the time. The Rays ended up losing 148 games and made the playoffs 0% of the time.

Let’s take a look at the Rays 2007 projections…

  • CHONE: The Rays are projected to finish last in the AL East with an average of 71.3 wins, only 0.6 wins behind the Baltimore Orioles. The projections have the Rays winning the division two times and the wild card three times. According to CHONE the Rays will have a big jump in runs scored (689 to 823) but also a slight bump in runs allowed (856 to 915).
  • Diamond Mind: The Rays are projected to finish last in the AL East with an average of 69.3 wins, 5.6 wins behind the Baltimore Orioles. The projections may be the most realistic as the Rays failed to reach the playoffs in any of the 1000 seasons. The only other tam with that distinction is Kansas City. According to Diamond Mind the Rays will have a similar runs scored and runs allowed as projected by CHONE (812/930).
  • PECOTA: PECOTA has the most ambitious projections for the Rays with a 4th place finish and 77.5 wins, 2.9 games ahead of the Orioles and in the playoffs 36 times (8 division titles and 28 wild card births) or 3.6% of the 1000 seasons. PECOTA predicts a similar bump in runs scored (809) but differs from the others by predicting slightly better runs allowed (839).
  • ZIPS: Zips is more similar to the first two projections with 67.6 wins, 11.1 games behind the O’s and in the playoffs four times (1 division and 3 wild cards). Zips predicts the lowest offensive output for the Rays with only a slight bump in runs scored to 758. Like the first two the pitching is expected to surrender more runs (879).

If the four datasets are averaged together, the Rays are projected to finish approximately 71-91, with 11 division titles and 34 wild card appearances in 4000 seasons (1.1%). The Rays are also projected to score 799 runs. As a team the Rays scored 689 runs in 2006, lowest in the majors. The Rays are projected to give up 891 runs. In 2006, the Rays pitchers surrendered 856 runs. Only two teams allowed more.

While it seems realistic that the Rays will score a lot more runs this season, we are not sure why three of the projections have the pitching surrendering more runs in 2007. The staff could not have pitched worse in 2006, yet somehow the projections think they will in 2007. Oddsmakers have the Rays over/under win total at 67. 71 wins is more in line with what we think is realistic for this team in its current form.

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