There’s a total wealth of knowledge out there now at Sean Smith’s Baseball Projection.com with 2009 CHONE projections for every MLB team (as well as free agents and Japanese leagues). Though I am not a statistician, I thought I’d take advantage of some vacation time and have a take on what the season will look like for the Jays in the upcoming season.
In theory, that would’ve been fabulous. Unfortunately once I passed the production of the Jays’ starters, I could not decipher how to account for the performance of the Jays’ bench and got intimidated by all the intense calculations involved. Luckily, I came across the Replacement Level Yankee Weblog, which did much of the work for me. Though there’s a gold mine of statistics out there, my greenhorn status is going to have to limit me to talking about a couple of interesting tidbits.
The way the standings project to are as follows (using Pythagorean Standings of course)
1. Yankees (99-63)
2. Red Sox (97-65)
3. Rays (93-69)
4. Blue Jays (80-82)
5. Orioles (76-86)
Using Replacement Level’s AL East penalty calculation, it looks like the Jays actually drop to 75-87. Needless to say, a disappointing season either way.
The short of it is that the Jays will once again have an anemic offense. Posting a .260/.322/.406 line, the Jays fall fairly below the next worst, Tampa offense. What’s interesting to note about this is that though the Jays have a poorer offense than the Orioles, the Orioles still project to finish worse than the Jays.
The 3rd place finishing Rays also only marginally edge out the Orioles offense, yet somehow manage to put up 17 more wins and score 30 more runs. Though the wins can be explained away with a superior Rays defense and a horrible Orioles pitching staff, I can’t say I’m sure where the extra 30 Rays runs come from…perhaps an extra 100 plate appearances? But I digress…
Essentially the Jays project to have the worst batting, slugging, and on base of any of the AL East teams, but still manage to hold on for 4th place. Why? Well I believe it has a little something to do with…
Frankly, the Orioles have the worst FIP in the AL East. Even with their slightly above average defense, they project to have an ERA of 4.80. By far the worst pitching staff in the division. The Jay’s 2nd worst FIP of 4.25 drops down to an ERA of 4.16 once their division leading defense is taken into account. What’s worse, is that this data may not have taken into account that Marcum may miss the entire season and that McGowan’s status is uncertain. My opinion is that the Jays’ numbers can only get worse for Toronto.
The Jays appear to have the best defense in the division with their 39 Runs Saved (as calculated using RZR). Though already calculated into the above pitching numbers, it’s still an interesting thing to look at and see that the Jays’ ERA drops to 4.16 from 4.25 once you take it into account. That’s enough to put the Jays within striking distance of the Red Sox at 4.12. I was also surprised to see that highly touted John McDonald wasn’t even the best defensive player on the team. Scott Rolen playing at third is projected to outperform McDonald at third or shortstop.
Adam Everett is the top defensive rated shortstop in the league at +19 compared to McDonald’s +9 performance. I find this somewhat interesting due to the serious love and adoration McDonald gets among Toronto fans with many considering him a defensive God. Personally, I think he’s got hustle and defensive talent…but not enough to have a starting position with the Jays. Unfortunately, hustle doesn’t make up for runs. But this is another issue for another time..
For Blue Jays fans, the best thing about this season may be seeing Jesse Litsch coming of age into the rotation, and seeing how Travis Snider and Adam Lind pan out in every day roles. With injuries to the pitching staff and a basement offense, I think a 4th place prediction could possibly be the most that we can look forward to . Barring an implosion by one of the other teams, I think it’s viable that the Jays could be looking at a season in the cellar of the division. Only time will tell how things pan out…