Posted By Sean S

It is not easy for me to post this.  For the first time since 2006, I am not picking the Angels to finish in first place.  I don't think they are out of the race at all.  The 5 game difference between them and the Rangers is well within the range of error.  Both Western divisions as well as the American League central are "anything goes" divisions, All of the teams should consider themselves as having a chance if things break right.

For the Angels to beat this projection (and they usually do beat my projections) they'll need Kendry Morales to prove 2009 was no fluke, Howie Kendrick to finally play a full season and do so without going into a batting funk, Brandon Wood to justify the faith the organization has placed in him after three years of AAA, Ervin Santana to get his velocity back to where it was in 2008, and Scott Kazmir to get back to where he was in 2007.  Really, if 3 out of those 5 things happen the Angels should be strong.

When you play that optimistic "what if" game though, you have to consider what happens if things break right for your opponents too.  What if Vladimir Guerrero, who hit .300 and slugged .498 in the second half, is free from injury and takes advantage of his hitter's paradise?  What if the real Josh Hamilton is the one who looked like a superstar in 2008 instead of the medical case of 2009?  What if Elvis Andrus, only 20 last year, breaks out as the next superstar shortstop?

If things go right for Texas, they have the talent to go to their first ever world series.

Normally, projections do not forecast the same range of wins and losses as will happen in real life.  We expect that a few teams will win 95+ games, but are not sure exactly which ones, and if you pick any one team (Yankees excepted) the odds are they won't win that many games.

But yet I'm projecting 99 wins for the defending world champions.  I think this is the highest projection I've ever had, for any team.  I had them at 97 last year and they beat it by 6.  I like the moves they have made in the last year.  Curtis Granderson is a tremendous player who helps on offense and defense (at least against righties).  Javier Vazquez was one of the best pitchers in baseball last year, and Nick Johnson is OBP Jesus.  The Yankees are insanely talented, even more so than usual.  The breaks of the season could mean that Boston wins the East, or even Tampa Bay, but the talent spread is so huge in this division that Baltimore and Toronto have basically no chance.

The Twins already looked to be the favorites once more in the central, but upgraded by a win or two yesterday by adding the O-Dog, Orlando Hudson.  He will keep the group of Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, and Alexi Casilla from playing more, which can only help.  And hopefully tells Joe Mauer they want to win and convinces him to sign an extension.

Philadelphia might have blown it by trading Cliff Lee instead of Joe Blanton.  Halladay/Lee would have been the best 1-2 combo since Johnson/Schilling.  We'll see if they can hold off a very strong Atlanta club.

Thanks to resigning Matt Holliday, the St Louis Pujols should have a comfortable season in the NL central.  Most of the teams in that division don't spend enough money to compete.  Then there are the Cubs and Astros, who have spent on some real albatrosses.  I like the young talent in Cincinnati, but they probably aren't ready to challenge prince Albert just yet.

 

Projected Standings

 
21 Comment(s):
Brad of this Nation said...
I have to disagree with your win projection for the Yankees. I use my own method where I carefully examine every game on the schedule 1 by 1. I am forecasting 134 regular season wins, followed by an 11-0 power sweep to the World Series title. Please reexamine your projections and apologise to Yankees fans for your absurdly low projection.
February 17, 2010 03:54:21
 
Sean said...
Allright. The number of the pathetic offense is a human number. Its number is six hundred and sixty six.
February 9, 2010 10:55:56
 
Dave Cameron said...
Let's make this easy - give me a runs scored total for the Mariners this year. You won't let us see your RS totals for CHONE, which is your right, so give us a number. 600? 650? 700? 725? How many runs will the pathetic Mariner offense score this year?
February 8, 2010 09:29:32
 
Sean said...
That is a valid point - Figgins and Ichiro are about as good a table-setting as any team could hope for, but the middle of the order does not stack up well with counterparts of the rest of the league, and the bottom (Wilson, Rob Johnson) are two very weak hitters. But if Dave and anyone else wants to apply my "pathetic" characterization to the Mariner offense as a whole, I stand by that. They are in the bottom 3 offenses of the AL, and that is a neutral figure, not polluted by the pitcher's park they play in. And I will show how I got that in my next post.
February 8, 2010 07:18:20
 
rilkefan said...
"Take the offensive projections for the Mariner's best possible lineup and you get +16 runs." -- And readers should note again that you were talking about a truncated lineup in the disputed comment.
February 8, 2010 01:53:25
 
Sean said...
Haven't been able to get HTML into the comments at all. I just have to deal with it. No paragraphs here. Defensive projections are TZ, not UZR. Some people are way over-reacting to a subjective comment. Dave has disproven nothing. Take the offensive projections for the Mariner's best possible lineup and you get +16 runs. You cannot argue against my call unless you do THE EXACT SAME for the other 13 AL teams, and see how they rate by the same process. The Mariners are barely better than the Royals if Brayan Pena catches, though they will likely play Jason Kendall full time and that should drop them to the worst offense in the league. I suspect that this process would put the Mariners at least in the bottom 5 offenses in the AL, and probably bottom 3. I will retract the word "pathetic" if this is not the case.
February 8, 2010 11:34:33
 
rilkefan said...
Hmm, maybe [p]html is allowed if blank spaces don't work[/p]? - nope, won't let me. Though the previous comment is correct in the source display. Ok, nobody cares anyway.
February 8, 2010 12:09:54
 
rilkefan said...
'Ichiro and Figgins will be on base a lot, but that is one pathetic offense behind them.' 'But a characterization of the #1 to #7 spots in the line-up as "one pathetic offense"' Huh, so Ichiro and Figgins are expected to bat 8th and 9th?
February 8, 2010 12:02:00
 
Aaron B. said...
David - I don't think that Sean did platooning of any sort in this projection, so that's probably a big cause of the discrepancy.
February 8, 2010 12:00:44
 
Aaron B. said...
Rally, are your defensive projections for UZR or for TZ?
February 7, 2010 11:55:16
 
TrustBaseball said...
I've got to agree with Dave here. I want in on that bet. The numbers don't support your text.
February 7, 2010 09:18:40
 
Dave Cameron said...
No one's offended, Sean. Just pointing out that your data doesn't match your opinion. I certainly wouldn't argue that the Mariners have an above average offense. My back-of-the-envelope calculations (which includes bench players, matches all playing time to positions, and includes platooning) give them a ~.325 wOBA or so, which will put them around 20 to 30 runs below average. Oh, and if you want to make a friendly wager on the UZR gap between Seattle and the Angels being just 27 runs, I'll gladly take the over.
February 7, 2010 08:42:01
 
Sean said...
I would apologize for such a subjective term offending, but I really don't care what Mariner fans think of my numbers or commentary. I only care if I offend Angel fans, and I probably have, projecting a team that has won 197 regular season games the last 2 years to only finish .500. And for that I apologize. Anyway, pathetic is a relative term. If you only look at the projected regulars (assuming Adam Moore at C and Garko DH, Milton in left, and Griffey firmly on the bench), the Mariners lineup comes out to +16 runs. Of course, that does not mean they have an above average offense, ignore bench players and do that for every team and you probably get a better numbers for the Orioles, and even the Royals might not be too far behind. Meanwhile, do the same for the Angels and the best 9 projected players come out to +98 runs (Maicer at 3B instead of B.Wood, otherwise the players should be obvious). Mariners have a better defense, but adding up the defensive projections of the starting 9 and they add +21, while the Angels lose 6 runs. The overall starting lineups come to +92 for the Angels, +37 for the Mariners.
February 7, 2010 07:36:27
 
Dave Cameron said...
Projected R/150 for the Mariners position players: C: Moore/Bard/Johnson (-11/-15/-16) 1B: Kotchman/Garko (+1/+8) 2B: Lopez (+4) SS: Wilson (-18) 3B: Figgins (+6) LF: Bradley/Byrnes/Langerhans (+18/-17/-4) CF: Gutierrez (+5) RF: Icihro (+3) DH: Griffey/Bradley/Garko (-9/+18/+8) There are two positions, C and SS, where the Mariners should be expected to have below average offensive production. Their #8/#9 hitters are going to suck, no doubt. But a characterization of the #1 to #7 spots in the line-up as "one pathetic offense" is just... really wrong. You can't even defend that statement using your own "estimates of true talent level". I'm as big a fan of the CHONE projections as anyone, but I'd guess your playing time allocations are probably not reflective of the line-ups the M's will actually be running out there. If you take 7 average to good hitters and two bad hitters, put them together, and come out with a "pathetic offense", well, you did something wrong.
February 7, 2010 09:12:23
 
Sean said...
SG, Yeah, I had a problem with that one too. I don't think the Padres are better than the Giants, and I am not sure why the numbers add up that way.
February 6, 2010 06:37:07
 
Sean said...
Here's how I get the projected W-L records: Here's how I get the team records: 1. Figure runs scored and allowed at team level, based on projections adjusted for playing time. At this point, runs scored and allowed may not match at the league level. I might, for example, have an average of 30 more runs scored than allowed. 2. Calculate team win% from that. If the projections are across the board optimistic, then I might have the Orioles at .500, but facing optimistic Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, they are still up shit's creek. 3. Get the actual MLB schedule. 4. Use the odds ratio to determine team vs team win%. So the Orioles play the Yankees 18 times, their relative strengths say the Yankees win 11.2 games, Orioles win 6.8. (numbers made up for sake of example) Sum that up over the entire schedule and you get team wins and losses. So the initial runs/runs allowed won't correspond to the projected team records, and are not something I would stand behind. I could follow some similar process and get a runs scored and allowed number that corresponds to the final team record, but it's more work than I feel like doing. And if you already judged my projections as seriously flawed based on one team record you disagree with, then I don't know why you'd bother asking. Go follow a projection system you think is worthwhile, or make up your own.
February 6, 2010 06:30:41
 
birdwatcher said...
Any forecast which shows Cleveland at .500 is seriously flawed. But since you don't show us Runs Scored and Allowed, it's hard to make any reasonable assessment of your results. Can you provide those numbers or are they a state secret ? Thanks.
February 6, 2010 12:20:15
 
Sean said...
Figgins is projected to hit 272/370/358. The BA is lower than recent years due to age (32) and a less favorable hitting environment. His walk rate remains very high, per PA not much lower than last year, and if he hits this projection it would be easily the 2nd best walk rate of his career. A's have a very strong bullpen, and a lot of depth in the starters. Mariners are very top heavy, great 1-2 punch but not that good behind them. Neither team has much hitting. Conventional wisdom is that Ichiro is hard to project. Actually, the projections that put him in the .300 to .325 range are pretty good in 5 of his 9 seasons. Of course they miss badly when he hits .350+, but he's never done that twice in a row. Ichiro and Figgins will be on base a lot, but that is one pathetic offense behind them. Mariners are very good at preventing runs, but offense is still 50% of the game. Like Oakland, they have done some things well, some things not so well. Both teams are way overrepresented among sabermetric writers, but the Rangers are the team in the division that has done good things on both sides of the ball, turning around the defense in 2009 and finally getting some decent pitching. If Feliz is ready for a full season and Colby Lewis pitches like he did in Japan they will be scary.
February 6, 2010 10:57:34
 
SG said...
Man, I thought I was nuts when I ran my last set of standings and ended up with San Fran behind San Diego. Good to see I'm not alone.
February 6, 2010 10:52:02
 
Sam said...
Sorry a question got cut-off. How much of a regression is projcted for Chone Figgins?
February 6, 2010 09:11:43
 
Sam said...
Sean, thanks for the rankings. The obvious question is: after all the wins in trades and contracts, the Mariners don't quite project well. Is this because their run scoring is still likely to be abysmal, even though their run prevention is going to be really good with a good defense and a top two in the rotation? Also, how much of a Also, I am kind of puzzled by the Oakland projection. They seem to be quite similar to the Mariners in run prevention, but somehow end up being about .500. Obviously, these look to be within the range of errors, so as is the conventional wisdom, this division is wide open, but this is still somewhat surprising. Is it due to the depth of the A's starting pitching compared to Mariners?
February 6, 2010 09:03:47
 
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Sean S
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