Reason for optimism? PECOTA forecasts Rays to make playoffs

TimesRays leftfielder Mallex Smith (0), centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and rightfielder Peter Bourjos (18) celebrate after a September win.
TimesRays leftfielder Mallex Smith (0), centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and rightfielder Peter Bourjos (18) celebrate after a September win.
Published February 8

Baseball Prospectus released its annual PECOTA computer projections Wednesday, and there was a bit of a surprise: The Rays are projected to finish 84-78, which would put them in third place in the AL East … but in the second wild-card position, three games back of the Red Sox. Obviously a lot can and will change before the regular season begins, and PECOTA has been unduly optimistic about the Rays several times in recent years — something others have noticed:

Other projections are less surprising — for instance, the Yankees running away with the division, the defending league champion Astros and Dodgers winning 99 games each and the rebuilding Royals and Marlins tying for the worst record in baseball.

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