Wednesday, February 27, 2008

88 wins for the Rays? PECOTA projection system says so.

I know columnists and bloggers have been hot for the Rays as a surprise team in 2008, but now it seems projection systems are joing in too. First, the CHONE system projected the Rays to win 89 games, now Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA is projecting a 22 win increase for the Rays. PECOTA has the Rays finishing with a 88-74 record in 2008. For those of you who don't believe in the magic of PECOTA just look for it's predictions for last year. It correctly prediction the downfall of the White Sox and Twins as well as the rise to the top for the Indians and Diamondbacks.

The article featured in Sports Illustraded written by BP's own Nate Silver compares the Rays to the 1994 Cleveland Indians, who finished the strike shortened season 66-47 after seven consecutive losing seasons. Silver compares sluggers Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez to BJ Upton and Carlos Pena. He also goes on to mention Evan Longoria's PECOTA projection of 25 Home runs.

Also worth mentioning is the improved defense the Rays plan to field. The Rays are showcasing a much better middle of the field with Aki at 2B, Bartlett at SS and a full season of BJ Upton in center.