Rays will win 86 games, and make the playoffs, according to PECOTA projection

Yankees, Indians and Astros are pegged as AL division winners, but things can change.
Rays lefty Blake Snell is the defending American League Cy Young Award winner. But according to a computer projection released Thursday by Baseball Prospectus, he's pegged for 12 wins in 2019.  MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
Rays lefty Blake Snell is the defending American League Cy Young Award winner. But according to a computer projection released Thursday by Baseball Prospectus, he's pegged for 12 wins in 2019. MONICA HERNDON | Times
Published February 7

The Rays are headed to the playoffs as hoped, based on the annual PECOTA computer projections released Thursday by Baseball Prospectus, though with a dropoff from last year’s 90 wins.

Per PECOTA’s initial projections, the Rays will finish 86-76. That’s behind the AL East winning Yankees (96-66) and defending World Series champ Red Sox (90-72), but better than all other AL teams besides the Central-winning Indians (96-66) and West-leading Astros (99-63).

PECOTA, which is an acronym for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm and used to project player and team performance, has been optimistic about the Rays in recent years. For example, its initial 2018 projection for the Rays, at a time when many expected worse, was 84-78 with a wild-card berth, and it turned out they did even better by winning 90.

As for individuals, PECOTA initially sees the Rays top three starters like this:

Blake Snell: 12-9, 3.24 in 165 innings.

Charlie Morton: 10-8, 3.50, 148

Tyler Glasnow: 9-7, 3.55, 130

And their key position players;

Willy Adames: .245, 13 HR, 55 RBI, .694 OPS

Yandy Diaz: .265, 9 HR, 51 RBI, .732 OPS

Matt Duffy: .271, 7 HR, 45 RBI, .720 OPS

Kevin Kiermaier: .252, 14 HR, 49 RBI, .736 OPS

Tommy Pham: .249, 21 HR, 64 RBI, .769 OPS

Joey Wendle: .259, 11 HR, 55 RBI,. .716 OPS

Mike Zunino: .226, 18 HR, 53 RBI, .723 OPS

Obviously, and especially with all the big-name free-agents still unsigned, things can change for many teams in the projections, which will be updated for moves and injuries, as spring progresses.

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