Baseball Prospectus projects Rays to win East
Baseball Prospectus is out with its initial PECOTA projection for the 2010 season, and it has the Rays winning the AL East.
The projected standings have the Rays finishing 96-66, the Red Sox next at 95-67 and the Yankees third (and missing the playoffs) at 93-69.
The Rays' 96-66 record would be the best in the majors. The key to their success are projected big seasons for Evan Longoria (.275, 36 HRs, 109 RBIs), Carl Crawford (.302, 15 HRs, 48 SBs), Carlos Pena (.241, 34 HRs, 97 RBIs) and Ben Zobrist (.271, 26 HRs, 79 RBIs) at the plate, and James Shields (15-7, 3.40) and Rafael Soriano (38 saves) on the mound. BP even projects something of a bounce-back for DH Pat Burrell - .235 with 19 HRs and 71 RBIs.
The other division winners are projected to be the Twins and A's in the AL, and the Phillies, Cardinals and Dodgers in the NL.
The PECOTA projections, which will be updated based on spring training developments, are the product of lots of complicated math.
Here is an explanation from BP:
PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm. According to the wbe site, it is BP's proprietary system that projects player performance based on comparison with thousands of historical player-seasons. PECOTA analyzes similarities with past player-seasons based not only on rate statistics, but also height, weight, age, and many other factors.
From there, BP projects playing time for everyone on the roster, then takes those projected stats to determine's the team's record.