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It’s never too early to predict the 2011 standings!

Dec 30, 2010, 8:36 AM EDT

crystal ball

Is it too early to talk about projected standings for 2011?  I think it’s too early. It’s bound to just make people angry.

So here are some projected standings for 2011 over at Replacement Level Yankees Weblog based on the CAIRO projection system.

Red Sox at 98 wins. Yankees edging out the Rays for the wild card with 89.  The Phillies somehow not winning 110 games.  The defending World Series champs barely cracking .500 and missing the playoffs. Shocking stuff, really.

But it has the Braves winning the wild card, so I endorse it wholeheartedly.

(thanks to Ari Collins for the heads up)

  1. Ari Collins - Dec 30, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    You’re welcome.

    An additional note from the comments: they re-ran the projections with Boston and Philly switching leagues. In the NL East, Boston won 99 games made the playoffs 95% of the time. In the AL East, the Phillies won 92 games and made the playoffs 65% of the time.

    The big caveat from these early projections is not just the usual this-is-on-paper-you-know-we-still-have-to-play-the-games thing but also that it favors teams whose rosters are essentially complete, like Boston’s. New York and TB (and many others) will likely be acquiring some last pieces and adding two or three wins to their projections. And a few wins to wherever Beltre ends up. And so on.

  2. bigtrav425 - Dec 30, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    Sadly even as a Indians fan im gonna predict more losses then what they have them for..tho only way we dont lose 100 games this yr is some of our young guys FINALLY step up.If it wasnt for the Pirates we would have THE most Inept front office

    • Detroit Michael - Dec 30, 2010 at 10:27 AM

      The constant rebuilding the past three seasons must be frustrating to fans, but the Indians’ front office is far from the most inept one out there in my opinion.

      I think the 2005-07 Indians underperformed on the field, making the playoffs just once and losing in the first round. If there was a big mistake by the front office, it was hiring Eric Wedge (in my opinion) who never got the most out of the team.

      Going back further, the 1994-2001 Indians were a terrific team for a sustained period. They never won the World Series, but that’s what sometimes happens with three rounds of playoffs.

      Given the population in Cleveland and the size of the business community (i.e. potential suite buyers) there, this is not an inept track record at all.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 30, 2010 at 12:13 PM

        Great general point, but one mistake: the ’07 Indians did get past the first round, beating the Yankees to make the ALCS. Then they were a game from winning the pennant three times, allowing Boston to come back from down 3-1.

  3. phukyouk - Dec 30, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    is there a link to last years numbers?

  4. rlyw - Dec 30, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Here are some links.

    Last year’s extremely early projections

    Last year’s final pre-season projections

    2009
    2008

    As you can see, it’s hit and miss, but I wouldn’t really worry too much about what the 2011 projections say yet because there’s still a lot of changes coming.

  5. JM Lattanzi - Dec 30, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    The NL West projections show just how much of a crapshoot that is. Rockies at ~85 wins. Rangers benefit from a weak AL West, and for teams such as the Phillies and the Red Sox, the projections are similar to other ones done at this stage.

  6. roycethebaseballhack - Dec 30, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    Based on how The Rays have been gleaned over in this off-season, and the holes in NY’s lineup, I’m struggling with seeing the AL East fall out like that. I see Baltimore starting to play up to their talent, and Toronto making all of them nervous. Should be wicked fun to see that division play out, though, regardless.

  7. bcopus - Dec 30, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    I see it shows the Phillies and the Braves scoring the exact same amount of runs.

    I’m a huge Braves fan, and that still seems a bit optimistic to me.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 30, 2010 at 11:23 AM

      All the Phillie hitters are old except for Brown, who is going to be, in at least his first year, a huge downgrade from Werth.

      The Braves, on the other hand, just got Uggla (who will make a big impact, at least offensively) and should expect further improvement from Heyward.

      • JM Lattanzi - Dec 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM

        Only Ibanez and Polanco could be classified as ‘old’. The rest of the starting lineup sans Brown are all 31 or 32, which is still prime territory. You are right, though, Uggla will make a difference, at least in run production, although I would think Braves fans are hoping for an improvement on his defense.

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 30, 2010 at 11:57 AM

        Rollins and Utley are no spring chickens—though there is a group of Phans who designate themselves as Chase’s Chicks—for their positions. Brown does not instill a great deal of confidence in me. He has glaring issues in the field and the batter’s box. JDub will be missed, but his contract will not.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM

        31 and 32 are not really prime years. They’re usually the beginning of a slow decline. They can still be very very good years if the prime was high, but while you’re projected to be nearly as good, you’re more likely to decline than improve in your early 30s.

        I believe the Phillies hitters were in the top 3 or so for hitter’s age last year. They’ll gain a lower average by replacing Werth with Brown, but then again their other 7 hitters will be a year older. And Brown isn’t likely to be that good to begin with.

      • JM Lattanzi - Dec 30, 2010 at 12:55 PM

        I would normally see around age 33 season as the start of true decline. Rollins and Utley will be heading into their age 33 season in 2012, Howard in 2013.

        Dom Brown needs to cut down his swing length and get his head out of his tuchus when playing the outfield. Otherwise we will be seeing a Gload/Francisco platoon in right for most of 2011.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 30, 2010 at 4:16 PM

        Well, depends on how you define true decline. Hitters do tend to drop off more precipitously in their mid 30s. But the peak is 26-29, and the decline, if not necessarily the plunge, begins right after that. The point is that they’re on the wrong side of 30. They may only get a bit worse, and stay at a high level, but they’re more likely to get worse than better.

        Further, as you can see here:

        Howard and Rollins have already begun their decline (and their peak years are, not coincidentally, right around 26-29). Utley might be a special case, he’s one of my favorite players, but second basemen also have a long tradition of wearing down sooner than other positions.

        Good thing they have that insane rotation.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 30, 2010 at 4:34 PM

        Blah, Blah, Blah. I love the fortune tellers with their crystal balls. Let’s see what happens mmmm kay Children, mmkay… But I love your never ending hope for the failure of the Phills here. May the games begin. The Phillies will be fine….

      • Ari Collins - Dec 30, 2010 at 4:58 PM

        Haha, you Phillie fans really ARE sensitive. I’m not hoping for them to fail! I’m just pointing out that adding Lee to that already great rotation (projected to give them the least RA next year despite a hitter’s park) only makes up for what’s likely to be a severe downgrade offensively from last year. And that’s why the projection of “only” 96 wins makes more sense to me than those wishcasting 110 wins.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 30, 2010 at 7:22 PM

        Ari, The Phills offense is fine. Any wins lost by losing Werth will be more than made up for by the addition of a full season of Roy Oswalt, and a full season of Cliff Lee. The decline you anticipate has not happened yet. The Phills will have plenty of “O”. And I can agree Rollins is on the wrong side of the hill. But Howard has not declined yet. He was on par to have his best season in ERA and OBP before he was injured, we’ll revisit this midseason so I can gloat some, you’ll see.

      • Ari Collins - Dec 30, 2010 at 8:21 PM

        Looking forward to it, Jonny. : )

  8. yankeesfanlen - Dec 30, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    Every time these early predictions come out I think we should have a mathematician look over them- it seems like they have one helluva bell curve with only 3 to 4 teams on the high end and the same at the bottom. Yet there will be, come October, eight teams starting the competition.
    And yeah, I’m pissed that it shows 89 wins, what’s this computer high on?

    • Ari Collins - Dec 30, 2010 at 11:58 AM

      That’s because there’re always surprises. Quite a few teams will underperform and quite a few will overperform our expectations. So while the projections only have 3 90-win teams, there will usually be more when a team or two from the 85-90 win area overperforms.

      As to the Yankees, that’s what happens when your rotation is 40% replacement level spots and your hitters are generally on the decline, but don’t forget that this projection has them in a dead heat for the #3 spot in baseball, without what’s likely to be some additions to the pitching staff. Here are the individual player projections if you’re curious: http://www.rlyw.net/index.php/RLYW/direct/2011_cairo_projections_v0.3

    • Charles Gates - Dec 30, 2010 at 12:28 PM

      Len, I’ve been reading RLYW for awhile now. Go through and read a few threads and especially the comments. You’ll be hard pressed to find more in depth Yankee knowledge anywhere else.

    • yankeesfanlen - Dec 30, 2010 at 12:59 PM

      Sorry if I sounded like I was disparaging anyone’s reference work, which I believe had all the available input accounted for and was processed in a thoughtful manner.
      You are also aware that I will behave unseemly when told that the Sox will be +9 wins just on a general basis. It is impressive to see what the Sox have done this post season. And I may very well have to wait til the trade deadline to be able to dispute any theorectical numbers that come out at this early date. And then, naturally, I will.

  9. Utley's Hair - Dec 30, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    What? Huh? Where are the 140 wins for the Phightins? Granted, those 140 wins will be 1-0, 2-0, 3-1 and 2-1 wins, but still…

  10. Old Gator - Dec 30, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    The Feesh behind the Mutts? I don’t know about that. I’d have the Mutts in the basement, the Gnats on top of them and the Feesh in third. Whereas the Feesh have definitely improved their boolpen (which is like saying that pleurisy is an improvement on pneumonia) and their infield defense (which is like saying that a rattlesnake bite is an improvement over radiation poisoning), their situational hitting still doesn’t look like it’s going to be any better. With Maybin gone, the outfield defense takes a hit. If the Iron Giant doesn’t have a monstrously breakout year and Chris Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez don’t revert to optimal form, I think the dulling effect of a Joeprodolsharklife Stadium empty of fans except for fans of visiting teams when the Mutts, Cubs, Borg and Beanbags come to town will have the usual enervating effect on the teal titans, and I think their incomprehensibly overpriced catcher will be a rally-snuffing dud spot in the lineup. And then when the Teal Tooters need a telescope to see the touchas of the fattest, slowest Feelie pulling steadily ahead of them, there will be the usual salary dump at the July trade deadline as the Godfather of Gulosity seeks to refill his slightly depleted money bin.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 30, 2010 at 12:47 PM

      Ya know, Gator, if you keep it up, people might begin to think you have problems with Tuna management and ownership.

      • Old Gator - Dec 30, 2010 at 2:03 PM

        Bah! Let them think what they want. Like Henry Miller, I’m always merry and bright. Now pardon me while I go change Friendo’s water.

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

        Friendo isn’t the same one from that commercial with they baby rattle attached is it?

      • Old Gator - Dec 30, 2010 at 6:06 PM

        No, Friendo detests publicity and is nobody’s shill. He’s like a crotalid John Tudor in his reticence, though sometimes like an Albert Belle when he gets cranky. That may be why they occasionally refer to rattlesnakes as “bell-tails” (though when I was a kid we used to call pygmy rattlers like Friendo “buzzworms”). He pretty much stays coiled up in his little cave box until he picks up his weekly waft of mouseling particulata with that “pretty little tongue” (cf. the immortal, though dead, Eduardo Ciannelli in Gunga Din) and his trusty labial pits. “Then he creeps into the light / speeding up like fire flight/ now he moves onto the forest floor…” (cf. Hot Tuna, “Serpent of Dreams”). Next thing you know, he draws a thermal bead (remember those wonky infrared target-images in Predator?) and that hapless mousie is as dead as a Blue Dog Democrat, albeit less deserving of it.

        It’s just as well, too. Mice are a pain in the ass – barely as useful as sports journalism – and once they’d gotten finished eating all the dinosaur eggs and clearing some space for us in the ecosystem, they should have died off too. It still pisses me off to think that a rock that big actually missed two stinking mice.

  11. mrklutch - Dec 30, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    So glad we’re talking about baseball already. Basketball is horrible and I have a feeling my Iggles will choke in the first round. I will say that these predictions look good so far. Dunno about the Mets finishing ahead of the Fish. They always seem to overachieve and finish higher than everyone agrees.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 30, 2010 at 9:21 PM

      We never stop. Even the testy political posts have some rounders stuff mixed in.

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