Changing of the guard in the AL East?


David Pinto was playing around with PECOTA’s numbers and came up with an interesting result: apparently the statheads at Baseball Prospectus think that Tampa Bay will have the best rotation in the AL East. The numbers have Boston somewhere between 2nd and 4th, depending on whether you use straight predictions, or you fill out the number of rotation innings using replacement-level types.

Definitely losing Curt Schilling hurt, but I just don’t agree on this one. The Rays have a very solid front three with Scott Kazmir, James Shields and Matt Garza, but I don’t see them outpitching Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield, or whoever #3 ends up being (that’s roughly 42-45 wins there). And I’d take Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz over what they have at the back of their rotation.

Part of the problem is that PECOTA is really conservative with unestablished pitchers/rookies. So taking out a known commodity such as Schilling and plugging in Lester and Buchholz doesn’t do much for you. The Rays have guys with at least some innings under their belts, so they come out better in the projections. The Rays are really improved, however, and they will finish 4th this year and might even make it to .500.

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