The Rays and The Win Curve: December Edition | The Process Report

The Rays and The Win Curve: December Edition

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:

Player Wins
Jaso 2
Johnson 1.5
Rodriguez 2
Longoria 6
Brignac 2
Zobrist 4
Upton 4
Joyce 3
Zombie DH 0.5
Jennings 1.5
Shoppach 1
Price 4
Shields 3.5
Garza 3
Niemann 2.5
Davis 2.5
Hellickson 1.5
Total 87.5

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:


  1. […] Great read from RJ Anderson – The Rays and The Win Curve: December Edition | The Process Report. […]

  2. buddaley wrote:

    Wow. I did something very similar last week, just for fun, and came to an almost identical total. I think there was some variation, usually .5 here on there, on specific players. Two questions.

    1. Should we project some negative player wins? I don’t mean necessarily from the ones listed, whose projections I agree are conservative, but from perhaps some bullpen arms or some fillers?

    2. Can we legitimately project that it is not a “zombie” DH? Given where the payroll stands right now, it seems there is room to acquire someone more useful. Might that not be a 2 win player?

    • R.J. Anderson wrote:

      1. Yes. That’s probably a smart thing to implement on both sides of the ball (50 or so RL PA and however many IP of RL for instance).

      2. My fault on this. By Zombie DH, I don’t mean a bad player, I just mean one of the older star types who aren’t really stars anymore, but still useful players despite their age — i.e. a Giambi, Damon, Manny.

  3. […] The December Win Curve post is a prerequisite for understanding the information in this post. Also, the newest CAIRO projections have the Rays at 87 wins which matches my napkin calculations. Either both are nuts or there’s a reason to believe the Rays are around an 87-win team as currently constructed. If the goal in 2011 is making the playoffs, then it would be useful to know what is the magic win total to reaching the playoffs. For instance: There’s never been a team that won 94 or more games and missed the playoffs in the Wild Card era. Teams with 90-plus wins have made the postseason 87% of the time since the 2001 season. That covers a nearly 30-game range (using the 2001 Mariners’ 116 wins as the max) so let’s attempt to pare that list down. Teams that win between 90 and 94 games make the playoffs 73% of the time. That may not sound like an excellent ratio, but consider that teams who win between 85 and 89 games make the playoffs under 20% of the time. […]

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