clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Rays are better than their record suggests

New, 49 comments

A Way-Too-Early Look at AL East Statistics -- because what else are we going to do with all of these off days?

Shortstop Manny Machado can hit taters just like the third baseman.
Shortstop Manny Machado can hit taters just like the third baseman.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Six games into the season and I'm already looking at statistics.

As if we didn't have enough off days this month, we've already had one game postponed. So instead of a seven game sample size, we have to work with 14% less data.

Shucks.

Good thing this means almost nothing either way! The season is way too young to glean anything from this, but what else are we going to do with all these off days? Let's see how the Rays stack up against the rest of the AL East, according to StatCorner's Runs Above Average (RAA).

StatCorner Offense Fielding GBs Fielding FBs Starters Bullpen Total RAA
Orioles 4.0 3.1 -1.6 2.1 -0.4 7.1
Red Sox 5.7 0.3 1.6 -1.6 -0.4 5.6
Rays -3.1 -2.6 3.3 5.0 2.0 4.7
Yankees 8.2 1.8 -5.8 -3.8 2.9 3.2
Blue Jays -4.4 1.7 -7.0 1.2 0.7 -7.9

*All numbers are in RAA, where approximately 10 runs is one win above (or below) average.

Despite recent concerns that Chris Archer has not looked right, StatCorner has the Rays starting pitching as the best in the American League. And even though the bullpen didn't look very good on paper after the injury to Brad Boxberger, they are ranked 4th best in the league.

The Rays are leading the division in fielding flyballs and starting pitching. They are the only team in the division to lead two categories. So why are they 2-4 to start the season and last in the division at 3.5 games behind the division leading Orioles? Because it's only 6 games and pretty much anything can happen in that small of a sample.

StatCorner has the Rays at 4.7 RAA, which is approximately half a game above a .500 record. We are in the middle, while polar opposites Orioles and Blue Jays are less than a full win above and below .500, respectively.

Just for fun, look how similar the 2016 Rays have performed when compared to last year's team.

StatCorner Offense Fielding GBs Fielding FBs Starters Bullpen Total RAA
2015 Rays -36.4 -30.1 59.6 42.0 5.4 40.4
2016 Rays -3.1 -2.6 3.3 5.0 2.0 4.7

How about that.

This Rays team is starting off 2016 with the same strengths and weaknesses as last year. You might think that's a bad thing, but StatCorner thinks that team was 40.4 Runs Above Average. That should have been good for 2nd in the division, and somewhere in the realm of an 86-win season.

Of course that didn't happen.

Could we underperform our RAA again? Sure. We are right now. We could also overperform it. Look no further than the 5-0 Orioles. I like our odds if we think this team is better than last year's team that should have won 86 games.

If nothing else, you are probably 3 minutes closer to the next Rays game if you took the time to read this.