Quick Fun With The Blue Jays’ PECOTA Projections

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We may be in the grips of brutal cold in the part of the world (I assume — I’d have to actually leave the house to check), but the interminable six week slog through the Grapefruit League before the sweet glorious baseball season begins keeps getting closer and closer, and one reason we can tell is because it’s projection season!

Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA projections today — the link to download the spreadsheet is in the sidebar under “Fantasy,” but available only to subscribers — and they offer up some interesting, new, slightly different ideas than the projections we’ve been leaning on for most of the off-season (i.e. the ones that came out first, i.e. Steamer).

I wrote about the Jays’ Steamer projections three weeks ago, and did it all nice and paragraph-like, which… doesn’t quite seem like a thing worth doing a second time. So let’s skip the typical caveats — yes, these are imperfect and not the gospel, though one or two things that look especially off COUGH Buehrle’s projection COUGH don’t invalidate the whole thing — and get to some quick and dirty notes on what jumped out at me!

  • Ryan Goins and Devon Travis are projected to the same WARP (0.2), though that’s with Travis getting 60 plate appearances, and Goins getting 452.
  • Jays second base options projecting higher than Goins (WARP, then PA in brackets): Izturis (0.3, 173), Kawasaki (0.4, 289), Berti (0.4, 250), Schimpf (0.6, 250). DETLEF SCHIMPF FOR SECOND BASE! (Jon Berti got some Sportsnet love the other day, too, it should be noted).
  • Dalton Pompey is the third second ranked Jays CF (0.4 WARP in 515 PA), behind Ezequiel Carrera (0.7 in 250) and Ryan Kalish (0.6 in 250). Mmm-hmm.
  • Jose Bautista’s 5.0 WARP makes him the second ranked right fielder, behind Giancarlo Stanton — ahead of Heyward, Puig, Braun, etc.

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The 2015 Blue Jays As Seen By Steamer’s Projections

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There’s a “Steamer Punk” joke in there somewhere…

It’s not terribly difficult to nitpick on certain aspects of team-wide projections. Especially at the point in the off-season where we’re most eager to talk about them, for lack of anything else going on — a point, it seems, this winter has finally reached —  there will always be a guy undervalued or overvalued or a place where playing time isn’t accounted for quite properly, or a late-signing free agent that could change things significantly.

But for the most part, the heavy lifting has already been done. This year, most of the major trades have been made — though don’t tell that to the Cardinals — and, with apologies to Colby Rasmus, the only remaining impact free agents are Max Scherzer and James Shields.

Either of those two — neither of whom the Jays are likely to land, obviously — could dramatically change a division’s outlook. That could especially be the case in the A.L. East, where the Red Sox and Yankees are natural spenders, and the oft-quiet Orioles could still theoretically sneak into the mix as well. But even if one of those teams loads up with an ace, based on what we’re seeing projected so far, the Jays still have a good chance to be very competitive. Especially once you start poking around and seeing places where you think the projections might be light.

Of course, “a very good chance to be very competitive” is a bit of a piss in the ol’ mouth. We rightly expect better of management, who once again haven’t been able to move beyond their reliance on “stars and scrubs” and the hope for good health, and ownership, who seem too inept to grasp the immense value of every marginal win now that the club is as close to the top of the American League — or at least the A.L. East — as they are.

And make no mistake about it, they’re pretty close!

Continue reading The 2015 Blue Jays As Seen By Steamer’s Projections