One thing I'll be doing this year that I haven't done in the past during these projected standing exercises is factoring in higher volatility in projections. The Diamond Mind engine is very good and non-deterministic (ie, players will over and underperform their projections in varying degrees during each individual iteration), I also include random injuries to vary playing time in the various iterations.
However, even with that, the results generally have teams within a standard deviation in wins of around seven in either direction, which is not high enough given the way teams can over and underperform their projections. So a 95 win team will have about 2/3 of its wins clustered in the 88-102 win range. A better standard deviation should be higher, maybe in the 10-14 range. So I'll take the results from the Diamond Mind simulations and then feed them into my Monte Carlo simulator, which I can adjust for a higher standard deviation. I'll use a standard deviation of .065 on team Pythagenpat winning percentage for this, which gives us a range of about 10.5 wins instead of 7.0 and then run an additional 1,000 iterations through the Monte Carlo simulator which should give us a little more variability in the final results.
Teams are updated through the Sheets/Nady/Garland signings of earlier today. The Jim Thome signing is not included here yet. Playing time is based on MLB.com depth charts and what I know about the teams, and I've tried to account for players who are injury risks not playing a full season (ie Ben Sheets, Rich Harden, etc.,) For now, rosters are set at between 35-40 per team to factor in depth on the benches and in the pitching staffs.
W: Projected 2010 wins
L: Projected 2010 losses
RS: Projected 2010 runs scored
RA: Projected 2010 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC: Wild card win percentage
W+/-: 2010 projected wins minus 2009 actual wins
RS+/-: 2010 projected runs scored minus 2009 actual runs scored (positive means they are projected to score more)
RA+/-: 2010 projected runs allowed minus 2009 actual runs allowed (negative means they are projected to allow fewer)
My first impression is that these are probably a couple of wins optimistic on the Yanks, and a win or two pessimistic on the Red Sox and Rays. Has Toronto gotten worse than Baltimore? It's possible, although they seem to have the ability to turn out league average pitching from places you wouldn't expect it from. Baltimore's improved, but probably not enough to make any real noise in the division in 2010.
At first glance the White Sox projecting as the class of the AL Central surprised me, but they quietly have put together one of the best rotations in baseball on paper with Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Gavin Floyd at 1-4, with some combination of Freddy Garcia and Daniel Hudson in the fifth slot. Combine that with a division that doesn't look so hot otherwise and it's not that surprising after all, although I'm not sure why CAIRO sees their offense improving by 62 runs. I'll have to see how Jim Thome impacts the Twins, although they had a pretty good DH already in Jason Kubel so I don't think he improves them by much more than a win or so at best, assuming Kubel takes away some of Delmon Young's playing time.
Will the Mariners really score 103 more runs than last year? I know Chone Figgins makes things happen, but that seems high to me. Them ranking as the favorites in the AL West doesn't surprise me though, but it's a pretty tight cluster amongst the other three teams, and should be a fun race to watch in 2010.
No real surprises in the NL East. I'm assuming Carlos Beltran will miss about two months here, but getting more from Johan Santana, David Wright and Jose Reyes plus the addition of Jason Bay should push the Mets back to respectability, although it's not likely they'll be better than the Phillies or Braves. The Marlins rarely do well in these simulations, but I'd expect them to be a little better than this. The Nationals look better too, and with Stephen Strasburg likely to debut this season they should be interesting to watch in 2010.
The Cards look good, and may look better if they add another starting pitcher. Their MLB.com depth chart only shows four starters for now, although CAIRO likes Blake Hawksworth and Kyle McClellan who I used as the combination fifth starters. The Reds are the first real WTF for me. It looks like getting full seasons from Jay Bruce and Joey Votto and more Drew Stubbs and less Willy Taveras means more offense. I haven't included Aroldis Chapman in here, but his projection sucks anyway (ERA around 6.00). The Cubs look like they'll score some more runs but allow more runs as well, which essentially leaves them around where they were in 2009. The Brewers pitching should be a little better, but their offense looks a little worse. As far as the Pirates/Astros, it should be an exciting race for fifth place.
The NL West looks tightly clustered at the top, with only three wins separating the Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks. I expected the Giants to look better than this, but CAIRO projects regression from everyone in the rotation. In addition, the defense looks like it could take a big hit this year. Swapping Aubrey Huff for Travis Ishikawa looks like it could be a 15 run defensive downgrade. Losing Randy Winn's bat isn't a big deal, but he was a very good defender in the OF corners in 2009 (+17.5 UZR combined in LF/RF), and Mark DeRosa for Eugenio Velez also looks like a defensive hit, although it's an offensive upgrade. The Padres don't look good, but hopefully they don't trade Adrian Gonzalez to Boston.
I'll be running the same exercise with a few other projection systems as we move towards spring training, but that's how CAIRO sees things as of 11 pm on January 26.