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April 06, 2009


My Computer says:

LAA 82-80
OAK 81-81
TEX 77-85
SEA 70-92

Personally, I’d like to add four wins to Seattle and two to everyone else. That said, this is an awfully weak division. Every team has serious issues. I’d give a 10% chance that the division winner finishes under .500.

I don’t share Joe Sheehan’s enthusiasm for the Athletics’ run prevention. Justin Duchscherer, even if healthy, is destined for a sharp regression. Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill (like Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland) could be great MLB starting pitchers someday, but are they 2/5ths of the rotation on an 88-win team today? Brad Ziegler, closer? (The West will be much more entertaining in 2010.)

Los Angeles is missing three of its top five starters to begin the season, and its offense is nothing special. Bobby Abreu was a great pickup, perhaps the difference-maker in this division, but Kendry Morales is no Mark Teixeira. He’s not even Casey Kotchman. The Mariners won 67 Pythagorean games last year as opposed to their real 61, and some roster shuffling and internal improvement will help.

As for the Rangers: My computer has them scoring 822 runs and allowing 868, both significant declines from last year. The most at-bats lost from 2008 belong to Milton Bradley. The most new ones in 2009 will probably belong to Elvis Andrus. That’s 40 runs lost right there. I’ve got Texas with a 5.05 ERA, still the worst in baseball but better than last year’s 5.37, and fewer unearned runs surrendered. This is essentially my computer saying “this is still a bad staff, but it can’t be that bad again.? In my Hardball Times preview, written before I’d performed any computer modeling, I predicted Texas would finish within a hair of .500. That still sounds about right. I can see plenty of upside, a non-zero chance of sneaking a division title. I can also see 90 losses and a housecleaning.

My other picks are nearly identical to PECOTA; I’d hoped for more differences just for entertainment value. New York wins the East and Boston takes the wild card (PECOTA predicts the reverse). Cleveland wins the Central. New York, Boston, and Tampa Bay (a very hard-luck playoff omission with 92 wins) are the class of the league. I have the Mets, Cubs, and Dodgers in the NL, plus Atlanta as the wild card (PECOTA says Arizona). Let’s say Yankees over Dodgers in the World Series.

Posted by Lucas at April 6, 2009 12:51 PM