Baseball Prospectus projects Rays to win AL East
The David Price-bolstered Red Sox and defending champion Blue Jays seem to be the popular choices of the experts, but the numbers crunched by Baseball Prospectus have the Rays winning the American League East.
The sabermetric-oriented site's first 2016 PECOTA projections have the Rays winning 91 games - second most in the AL behind Cleveland's 92. The Red Sox are projected to win 88, the Blue Jays 86.
The projections are the product of complicated math. Known officially as the Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, it is Prospectus' proprietary system that projects player performance based on comparisons with thousands of historical player-seasons. Prospectus then projects playing time and uses the projected individual statistics to determine the team's record. Projections are updated during the spring based on injuries and roster moves.
In 2010, BP surprisingly picked the Rays to win the AL East, and they did.
Other 2016 projected division winners are the Indians, Astros, Mets, Cubs and Dodgers.
For the full standings, click here.