I’m proud to call Dayn Perry my colleague at FanGraphs for articles like this, in which he makes the case that the Rays still have hope, read it for the entire take, but that’s the gist:
Perry’s article inspired me to sketch out some rough projections on where the Rays might stand. Before unveiling them I include the usual disclaimers: these aren’t based on ZiPS or even three-year trends with some regression thrown in. At the same time, calling them “gut feelings” is an oversimplification. There’s no ridiculous breakouts or collapses to be found. They are intended to be conservative by nature and adjust as you see fit. With that, here they are:
Zombie DH 0.5
Now, you’ll notice that there are no bullpen or benches listed. It’s too early to really map things out on either end. The only extra players included were Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson. Depending on how the roster shakes out, either could be on the Opening Day roster or neither could be. Delaying Jennings’ clock is pretty appealing, while the trade market for Matt Garza can be leveraged more if need be. Nevertheless, I have them pegged for some contributions because at one point or another, they will be Rays in 2011.
Some other general thoughts:
- I’m not sure John Jaso will replicate his walk rate, but the added playing time should help balance out whatever offensive value is lost.
- Sean Rodriguez tallied 1.9 wins in a super-sub role last season. If the Rays give him second base (and let Ben Zobrist slide from left field – on days when a righty is on the mound – to first base – on days when there’s a lefty on the mound) then he’s probably going to annihilate that number.
- Withholding the Leslie Anderson nine-win prediction.
That puts the Rays at roughly 87 wins without a bullpen or bench. Therefore, they’re probably closer to 90 wins. Using binomial distribution a 90-win team (read: a team that wins 56% of its games) has an expected wins graph that resembles this:
For those wondering, here’s the same graph with a red-dashed line added to show the Rays’ playoff odds if you take away two wins – i.e. trade Garza, Hellickson remains the same, and the emergency starter takes away a half win; or the bullpen/bench/DH is bad; take your choice: