As we noted yesterday, Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA projections for the upcoming season. If you're not familiar with PECOTA, Wikipedia is here to help. In short, it's one of the most well known and respected of all the projection systems. Rays fans will probably know it best for predicting a 90 win season before the 2008 campaign.
I'm not going to reprint every Rays projection - they're behind a pay wall after all, wouldn't be right - but instead will take a look at some that either differ vastly from other projection systems, or are of specific interest to Rays fans.
Note: We normally use statistics from FanGraphs.com on this site, so TAv might be foreign to you. It stands for 'True Average' and is Baseball Prospectus' equivalent to wOBA. Here's the explaination from BP:
"TAV considers batting as well as baserunning, but not the value of a position player's defense. The TAv adjusted for all-time also has a correction for league difficulty. The scale is deliberately set to approximate that of batting average. League average TAv is always equal to .260."
For example, Albert Pujols had a .344 TAv in 2010, Jason Kendall was at .238. You get the idea.
PECOTA: 25HR, 67RBI, .244/.368/.465, TAv: .297
The average TAv for first basemen in 2010 was .288, highest of all positions. Carlos Pena's TAv's over the last three seasons were .303, .297, and .272. His .297 projected TAv is actually second on the team to Manny Ramirez. Getting a .297 from Johnson would obviously be huge. There are some who believe he could do it if granted the playing time. His PECOTA is based on 531 PA's - a number he's unlikely to reach given the Rays unique circumstances. I'm not in Joe Maddon's head, but the way I see the season starting is with Ben Zobrist manning first base, Sean Rodriguez at second, and Matt Joyce in right, leaving Johnson as a potent bench bat.
PECOTA Comparables: Jason Giambi, Paul Konerko, Nick Johnson
Another projection system, ZiPS, has Johnson at similiar, albeit lesser, numbers: .239/.349/.435, 111 OPS+, 22HR, 71RBI. Marcel's is decidedly less optimistic, giving Johnson just 270PA and a .233/.327/.414/.327 (wOBA) slash line.
PECOTA: 17HR, 59RBI, .241/.348/.438, TAv: .282
This season is Matt Joyce's first shot at a full time gig with the Rays. Playing full time, a projected 493 PA, I think that's a good projection for him. The average TAv for a rightfielder in 2010 was .283. Remember, being average carries a lot of value. ZiPS feels roughly the same about Joyce, projecting him at a 103 OPS+ and a .236/.334/.420 triple slash line in 436 ABs. Marcel's is more optimistic about his overall success, but less so about his playing time: .250/.342/.458/.347 (wOBA) in 334 PA.
PECOTA Comparables: Jeremy Hermida, Vic Wertz, Chase Headley
PECOTA: 97.1IP, GB% of 46, 4.66 ERA, 5.06 FRA
The stastic FRA is new, and is defined by BP as ""Fair" runs against average. RA with inherited/bequeathed runners included." For those of you familiar with FIP, PECOTA doesn't really have an equivalent to that. FRA is the best you'll get. Getting that out of the way, PECOTA doesn't seem to like Russell very much. Russell is expected to be a big part of the Rays bullpen next season, but not 97 innings big. If that happens the Rays starters are in for a long season. Marcel's is far more guarded in it's projection: 34.0IP, 3.97 ERA, 3.64 FIP.
PECOTA Comparables: Too embarrassing to list
PECOTA: 76.2IP, 2.7 BB/9, 3.50 ERA, 3.80 FRA
An even more important member of the 2011 bullpen is Joel Peralta. He's likely going to get many high leverage innings, so his performance is paramount. Peralta was excellent in his 49 innings last season, so the favorable PECOTA projection is more of a testament to his talents. Marcel's feels the same, forecasting a 3.81 ERA and 3.95 FIP.
PECOTA Comparables: Mike Stanton, Doug Jones, Tug McGraw
- David Price's PECOTA comparables are Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez, and Ubaldo Jimenez. Not bad.
- Upton's projected TAv: .262. Average 2010 CF TAV: .272
- Jeremy Hellickson: 8.3 K/9, 3.55 ERA, 3.86 FRA
- Jake McGee: 8.7 K/9
- Jeff Niemann: 8.5 Nyquil's/9