Baseball Prospectus pegs Rays at 84-78, 3rd place
The computers at Baseball Prospectus have spit out the initial PECOTA projections of the spring, and the numbers are't too promising for the Rays: an 84-78 record and a third-place AL East finish.
While BP acknowledges the Rays "could again have a truly outstanding rotation" there is considerable concern about the bullpen. "Joe Maddon is the game's most creative manager, but it would take an act of sorcery to create a bullpen as good as last year's best-in-AL unit. In addition, with Carl Crawford having decamped to Boston, Evan Longoria may feel lonely as the only top-flight hitter in the lineup. According to PECOTA, the Rays will drop nearly 60 runs of offense and allow more than 60 more."
BP pegs the Red Sox to win the East at 92-70 and the Yankees to be second at 91-71.
BP's projections, which will be updated during the spring, 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.
BP's 2010 projection turned out to be extremely accurate, as the Rays did indeed go 96-66 and won the AL East.