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2020 PECOTA projections: Rays takeaways

Seems a bit low on a few of our faves

MLB: ALDS-Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections for 2020 came out on Thursday, meaning you can pretty much kiss any work production you might have saved up goodbye.

The projections are downloadable on a player level, with an Excel sheet for of projections for each and every team. But we only care about one team here, and the projections for the Rays have plenty of interesting takeaways. Some good, some... less so. Here are some of the main highlights.

No love for Glasnow

BP released a “PECOTA 2020: 11 Pitchers Who Will Disappoint” article along with the downloadable projections today, and the very first name in that article: Tyler Glasnow.

Now, all hope is not lost. The projection system has been tinkered with to rely more heavily on long-term past production over recency bias, and, well, of course that would drop Glasnow to a lower position. Right now, PECOTA pegs Glasnow at 28 starts with a 4.01 ERA and 1.61 WARP (BP’s version of wins above replacement). That would be a pretty disappointing season in most Rays fans minds production-wise, but getting 28 starts out of the towering righty would be awesome.

Projections come with inherent hedges, this is one where that is most clear.

Try to guess the top two position players projections by WARP

Go ahead, I’ll let you try for a while.

Did you say Brandon Lowe and Mike Zunino? Because if you did, you are a robot built to troll me, and you are also correct. I honestly am shooketh by this. PECOTA has Lowe sporting a .243/.311/.459 slash line with defensive flexibility for 2.3 WARP; it has Zunino down for a .210/.281/.422 slash line with great framing and 1.9 WARP.

Honestly, it’s more surprising that Meadows’ (.840 OPS and 1.8 WARP) and Adames’ (.719 OPS and 1.9 WARP) projections seem lacking than that B-Lowe and Zunes’ projections are out of this world, which... isn’t great.

Bullpens are weird and projection systems don’t know how to handle them

Jose Alvarado is slated for a 4.15 ERA that seems quite high; Emilio Pagan is projected for a 2.72 ERA that perfectly splits his ERA and FIP last year and would be an excellent result for 2020; Joe Ryan is projected for 35 innings at a 3.58 ERA that I would scoop up in a heartbeat.

In all honesty, this is the portion of the projections that are more for intrigue than real value. Projecting relievers past maybe Josh Hader (and even there ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) is a fool’s errand, but you try ignoring them completely!

Wander Franco projected for 99 DRC+ in 251 plate appearances

I mean, it’s not happening in 2020, but a boy can dream, right?!

Quick Hits

  • Snell bounce-back incoming? 154 innings (seems a touch low); 3.32 ERA (potentially also feels a touch low); 3.18 WARP (feels about right). Also: His top comp is David Price. Iiiiiiinteresting.
  • Nick Anderson projected for 93 strikeouts and 20 walks in 58 innings. God, that’s sexy.
  • Brendan McKay projected for only 77 innings (3.94 ERA) seems low, but that makes sense with what we talked about under Glasnow.
  • Hunter Renfroe projected for .246/.304/.520 and 1.4 WARP. Former Ray Tommy Pham? He’s projected for .259/.353/.436 for 1.8 WARP. Count me among those saying there will be far more than a half win between these two in 2020.
  • Tsutsugo: .253/.312/.386, -0.2 WARP. Honestly, he was always going to be borderline impossible to project. I don’t pay this much weight.
  • Nate Lowe and Ji-Man Choi might secretly be the same person... (which is a good thing since they’re both very good!)

Here’s the link to the full downloads to play with on your own!