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Thursday, March 24, 2005

PECOTA Projects The AL

If you remember my simpleminded look at the western divisions, I should now mention that Nate Silver just published his results based on a little more rational use of PECOTA. A little late -- this was published on the 21st -- but the AL West results:
             W   L   PCT   RS   RA
A's         88  74  .544  834  760
Angels      83  79  .515  787  763
Rangers     79  83  .490  868  885
Mariners    77  85  .477  754  791
About the Angels in particular, Silver has this to say:

I don't quite understand the hype over the Angels. There are a several obvious soft spots in the lineup, like Ben Molina and Darin Erstad and Orlando Cabrera, who according to PECOTAs WARP projections, will be just the ninth-best shortstop among the 14 projected American League starters this year ....

PECOTA likes Dallas McPherson a whole bunch, and is relatively sympathetic to Steve Finley, but they're replacing positions that the Angels have generally gotten good production from in the past. Kelvim Escobar is a good breakout candidate, and Bartolo Colon should almost certainly better last year's numbers, but I don't see how you can get that excited about a pitching staff that will involve Paul Byrd taking his turn every fifth day. Yes, Vladimir Guerrero is very good, but it seems to me that the burden of proof lies with the folks that are making more optimistic projections than the one we have here.

I agree and disagree. D-Mac is certainly a worry, being a rookie, and the Angels have put a big burden on him to produce by plopping him at the hot corner. There's significant reason to think Byrd is going to much better than some people think (which I will get to presently in my preseason review) despite the Mazzone Affect. But I absolutely agree that the Angels' production at catcher will be the worst in years. And obviously, I agree that the Angels are going to have a tougher year than a lot of people think -- unless their rookies step up.

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