The Best Team In Baseball? Your 2009 Boston Red Sox

Baseball Prospectus has run the PECOTA projections and come up with 2009 projected standings.

The AL East:

  1. Boston (98-64)
  2. New York (96-66)
  3. Tampa Bay (92-70)
  4. Toronto (81-81)
  5. Baltimore (74-88)

The Red Sox end up with baseball's best record, second-most runs scored (to the Cubs), second-fewest runs allowed (to the Yankees), the best run differential (+157), second-highest batting average (to the Cubs), highest on-base percentage (.346), tied for the highest slugging (.433) and obviously the highest OPS (.779).

Sounds good to me!

10 comments… add one

  • Any chance you could collapse the last two posts and display the PECOTA projections at each position for the two teams? I’d do it, but I don’t have posting privileges!
    My guess is that the biggest differences are at 2B, LF, and RF.

    Rob February 12, 2009, 6:56 pm
  • I’ll take it!

    Jackie (SF) February 12, 2009, 7:29 pm
  • I plan to do that in the com,ing week or two, Rob. I would guess DH and CF will have some significant distance between them as well.

    Paul SF February 12, 2009, 8:05 pm
  • Yeah, so, I have no patience:
    C
    Posada: .249/.336/.432, 257 PA, 7 HR, 28 BB, 50 K
    Molina: .229/.271/.325, 171 PA, 2 HR, 7 BB, 33 K
    Varitk: .234/.323/.388, 258 PA, 7 HR, 28 BB, 63 K
    JoBard: .257/.331/.387, 245 PA, 3 HR, 23 BB, 33 K
    Obviously, the Yanks need Jorge. But at these rates and PAs, it’s a push until he proves he’s healthy.
    1B
    Teixra: .287/.379/.506, 647 PA, 28 HR, 80 BB, 103 K
    Youkls: .275/.366/.475, 597 PA, 21 HR, 70 BB, 109 K
    Yanks get the edge, but not by much.
    2B
    RoCano: .284/.323/.419, 594 PA, 12 HR, 29 BB, 70 K
    Pdroia: .303/.364/.447, 649 PA, 12 HR, 51 BB, 53 K
    Big advantage for the Sox here – almost 70 points in OPS. If this difference is correct, that’s the two projected games in the division right there.
    SS
    DJeter: .288/.353/.383, 599 PA, 6 HR, 49 BB, 84 K
    Lowrie: .260/.341/.432, 414 PA, 9 HR, 44 BB, 77 K
    JuLugo: .255/.325/.347, 286 PA, 3 HR, 25 BB, 44 K
    If the Sox are getting that production from Lowrie, Lugo will be lucky to see 200 PA. If the Yanks are getting that production from Jeter, there’s a very good reason (on top of his defense) they’ll finish the year in second place AND they’ll be needing a new SS for 2010.
    If the projected PAs are correct, the Yanks get the slight edge here (and the benefit of the doubt until Jeter shows he’s that bad and Lowrie shows he’s that good).
    3B
    A-Roid: .282/.373/.508, 624 PA, 30 HR, 72 BB, 124 K
    Lowell: .272/.332/.442, 469 PA, 14 HR, 37 BB, 62 K
    Bigger advantage here than I thought. That would be the worst production of Lowell’s time in red. Though that would also be A-Rod’s worst season in pinstripes.
    LF
    JDamon: .280/.354/.423, 549 PA, 12 HR, 55 BB, 77 K
    JayBay: .271/.364/.493, 626 PA, 26 HR, 76 BB, 137 K
    As I suspected, PECOTA thinks Damon will fall back to earth while Bay continues to be productive for the position. Advantage Sox. Still surprised the Sox haven’t locked up Bay with an extension.
    CF
    MelkyC: .267/.326/.376, 484 PA, 8 HR, 37 BB, 61 K
    Gardnr: .253/.339/.351, 498 PA, 4 HR, 55 BB, 93 K, 32 SB
    Ellsby: .291/.348/.409, 569 PA, 7 HR, 42 BB, 75 K, 42 SB
    Baldli: .263/.320/.443, 262 PA, 8 HR, 17 BB, 61 K
    Too many PAs to actually go around. If the Yanks see Melky/Gardner come to the plate 1000 times in 2009, they’re in big trouble. But given their depth in the OF, that doesn’t seem likely. Edge clearly to the Sox, but by how much is anyone’s guess.
    RF
    XaNady: .270/.323/.444, 528 PA, 18 HR, 32 BB, 101 K
    Swishr: .244/.353/.460, 524 PA, 24 HR, 71 BB, 120 K
    JDDrew: .269/.374/.451, 464 PA, 13 HR, 65 BB, 85 K
    That would be a bad dropoff for Drew. If Swisher bounces back to those levels, especially the OBP, he’ll get the majority of the playing time. Edge here to the Sox until proven otherwise.
    DH
    Matsui: .275/.352/.417, 403 PA, 10 HR, 42 BB, 55 K
    POrtiz: .269/.375/.504, 569 PA, 27 HR, 81 BB, 96 K
    That would be Godzilla’s worst season in MLB. Just to show how weird PECOTA can behave at times, it’s projecting A-Rod, Teieira, and Papi to have about the same seasons, even though the last had a major injury to overcome. Any case, edge here to the Sox.
    Lineup summary:
    C = Push
    1B = Yanks +0.044 OPS
    2B = RdSox +0.066 OPS
    SS = Edge to Yanks on history
    3B = Yanks +0.107 OPS
    LF = RdSox +0.080 OPS
    CF = RdSox +0.050 OPS
    RF = RdSox +0.035 OPS
    DH = RdSox +0.100 OPS
    Basically the Yanks absolutely need bounce back years from Posada, Jeter, and Cano. PECOTA has more optimistic projections for the Sox, especially Papi and Lowrie. But given their advantage in the outfield and at 2B, it’s not hard to see the Sox outhitting the Yanks in 2009.
    I’m going to structure the rotations is terms of the most likely slots:
    SP1
    Sabath: 3.43/1.19/.243, 231 IP, 53 BB, 201 K
    Becktt: 3.72/1.21/.239, 190.2 IP, 51 BB, 167 K
    Edge to the Yanks, but if this is the matchup all season, I can’t wait for the first pitch.
    SP2
    Burntt: 3.82/1.32/.240, 197 IP, 73 BB, 178 K
    Dice-K: 4.32/1.37/.238, 155 IP, 67 BB, 135 K
    Edge here again to the Yanks, but with a big qualification. Burnett has the stuff, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Dice-K seems likely to fall back some, but that’s a pretty big fall.
    SP3
    CMWang: 4.39/1.45/.270, 126.1 IP, 42 BB, 67 K
    Lester: 4.45/1.44/.260, 162 IP, 62 BB, 114 K
    Push and PECOTA sees both having injury concerns. As pointed out previously, that would also be the worst season on Wang’s career.
    SP4
    Pttitt: 4.41/1.42/.270, 168.1 IP, 53 BB, 119 K
    Wakfld: 4.98/1.43/.264, 97.2 IP, 34 BB, 61 K
    Yanks get the edge. At this point in the rotations, and given the variability of projections for pitchers, it’s tough to say much more. I know I wouldn’t be surprised by a sub-4.00 ERA from Wakefield. Nor would I be surprised by a plus-5.00 ERA from Pettitte.
    SP5
    JobaCh: 3.09/1.24/.223, 124 IP, 47 BB, 133 K
    Hughes: 4.74/1.43/.257, 84.2 IP, 34 BB, 67 K
    BPenny: 4.47/1.44/.262, 112.2 IP, 42 BB, 80 K
    Smoltz: 3.57/1.21/.241, 108 IP, 29 BB, 91 K
    ClayBc: 4.56/1.43/.248, 164.2 IP, 73 BB, 146 K
    If the Yanks get that season out of the #5 slot, you can see how they could make up the offensive difference between the two teams. If Penny and Smoltz are both that good, I don’t see how the Sox keep Wakefield in the rotation.
    Given the variability of pitching, I’m not going to bother with middle relief which can go any which way.
    Closer
    Rivera: 2.42/1.03/.221, 65.2 IP, 12 BB, 64 K
    Papelb: 2.49/1.01/.203, 61.1 IP, 15 BB, 67 K
    Pitching summary:
    SP1 = Yanks -0.29 ERA
    SP2 = Yanks -0.50 ERA
    SP3 = Push
    SP4 = Yanks -0.57 ERA
    SP5 = Push
    Closer = Push
    The Yanks have the clear advantage, but given the variability of these projections (0.60 ERA to either side), there’s no way of saying which way these things will go. That’s another way of saying: Let the games begin!

    Rob February 13, 2009, 6:55 am
  • i’m not too big on playing the games on paper as they say, but thanks guys for doing all this work…it’s all we’ve got until the real games start, and it’s interesting nevertheless…i’m not surprised the sox have an edge…they have the same good team, with no real reason to expect a drop off…the yanks got a little better, although it would be hard to imagine cc topping what mussina did last season…and they basically ‘traded’ abreu and giambi for tex…call it an upgrade, but from a production standpoint it’s closer to a wash…yanks still have too many question marks to suit me…the entire outfield?, will jeter and cano bounce back?, can jorge still catch regularly?, will arod’s head be screwed on right?, as good as the starting pitching looks, can we keep enough of them off the dl?, when will mo finally run out of gas?…

    dc February 13, 2009, 8:18 am
  • I’m in the camp that Lester is going to be the biggest star on either staff this year, but those innings are a concern. He has every bit of the stuff as any pitcher on either staff, and last year was just awesome for him.

    Brad February 13, 2009, 9:35 am
  • To steal a line from BSMW, you can’t hit a ball with a slide rule.
    Let’s play!

    I'mBillMcNeal February 13, 2009, 12:46 pm
  • thanks for the work rob.

    sf rod February 13, 2009, 7:04 pm
  • Nobody figured in Brett Tomko and the minor league contract he just signed with the Yankees. I think it’s pretty clear that the tide has turned on this upcoming season.

    walein February 13, 2009, 9:19 pm
  • Mo Rivera looking good on his rookie card-
    Link here: http://morehardball.blogspot.com/2009/02/baseball-card-mayhem.html

    B-Dizzle February 14, 2009, 8:25 am

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