Before each season, SG of RLYW uses the Diamond Mind program to simulate the upcoming season, using the statistics provided by various projection systems. The 2011 simulations were released this morning, and I encourage you to visit the site to check them out. If you go to RLYW, you will find individual standings for each of the projection systems, as well as two posts that combine the various projection systems to get a single set of projected standings. The projected AL standings are below, and the usual caveats about projections should be considered before lending too much meaning to these results.
As you can see, the Yankees project to make the postseason by a comfortable margin, with the closest contender for the wildcard being the Rays, 6 full games behind the Yankees. I expect all three teams to be in the mix for the division crown well into August, and would not be incredibly surprised by any order of finish among those three clubs. Ultimately, the AL East should bring home the AL Wild Card berth, as you can make a legitimate argument that the three best clubs in the AL reside in the East.
As SG often says, projections are not meant to be predictions, nor are they to be treated as incredibly precise. Rather, they are conversation starters that present how the season might turn out based on a series of statistics. The conversations that these particular projections should inspire in Yankees fans are:
1) Has the Yankees’ poor offseason been blown out of proportion? They project to make the postseason and to be within a few games of the Red Sox, so it seems that all of the concern over their disastrous offseason may have been misplaced.
2) Are people making a mistake in counting out the Rays? The Rays project to have the 4th best record in the AL, and they certainly seem to represent a legitimate threat for the Wild Card, if not the division. They did lose a handful of big names, but made a few shrewd signings and have some young players who can help fill the holes left by the departed.
How would you respond to these questions? What else do you take from the projections?
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