This week the PECOTA projections were run through with depth charts and attempted to project final standings based on opening day expected rosters. Obviously trades, injuries and breakout/slumps will change these results, but so far they have the Red Sox at 95-67 finishing in second place. Of course the big surprise is who is in first. PECOTA projects Tampa Bay to finish at 96-66 winning the East with the Red Sox as the favorite for the wild card.
So where are the Yankees? Third place with a record of 93-69 and out of the playoffs. OK so 3 wins separating the three is not something to bet on, but confirms what we have said all along. The Red Sox have changed their strengths, but maintained their ability to win 95 games and make the playoffs.
There isn’t much to say that one team won’t win 100 games or only 85, but the expectation that 2010 finishes in a close three team race seams like a strong possibility based on current roster construction. A big factor in the Yankees drop to 93 wins has to be the move to replace Johnny Damon with Randy Winn and Brett Gardner.
The link is behind the pay site so I don’t want to reveal more information than I should, but one player projection that really should get people excited is Clay Buchholz. Currently Bill James has been the most optomistic with him at 10 wins, 3.91 ERA, 161 IP and 155 strikeouts. PECOTA is calling for 164 IP, 12 wins, 3.71 ERA and 141 strikeouts.
With Tim Wakefield beginning to rumble about taking a starting spot I can’t see a reason to remove Buchholz for him. Unless Clay has a horrible spring training I can’t see why they would do this. Little changes like this could effect our depth chart and how we would be projected to finish this year.
Eric Wilbur has a good post up on this discussing how many starters we needed in 2009 and how it’s highly likely that Wakefield will make significant contributions as a starter even if not on day one. I like him much better as the number six pitcher and insurance than as the number 5 with no real safety pitcher except Junichi Tazawa who has not looked ready yet. Another reason I am quite happy that Buchholz has not left Boston this offseason.