Another 2014 Projection Update…

I’ve done another forecast run, incorporating new injury information, like the recent UCL tear for David Hernandez, which unfortunately probably will end his season, and drops the Diamondbacks down a notch in my team totals.
In addition, I’ve been tweaking how I deal with players with very limited MLB data. Now I will consider current year spring training numbers for players with very little MLB experience, in addition to that tiny MLB experience. Alas, I still don’t have minor league numbers to toss into the soup!
The driver for this was what I felt was a very overly optimistic projection for James Paxton, who was showing up at nearly 200 innings. Interestingly, adding this year’s minor league stats to the 24 innings he had last season did little to change his rate stats; indeed Paxton’s FIP actually went down by adding the spring numbers. But his innings dropped a lot based on a more recent run. Why? Because the Mariners have named fellow rookie lefty Roenis Elias as their #4 starter, and the latest depth chart no longer includes Hisashi Iwakuma, who is likely to start the year on the DL. Iwakuma still projects to over 150 IP in my model, but adding a new starter to the mix sops up a lot of the extra innings the model was giving to Paxton before. Indeed newcomer Elias has pitched even better this spring than Paxton. Both are potential sleeper candidates based on their current roles.
The Mariners are continuing their slow decline in my standings projections, as they now are projected to finish 4th, but my model is still putting them in the thick of the AL west race, with 84 wins just 3 games behind first place Oakland. That division is still the tightest, as the Angels and Rangers project to be just a game back. The Rays and Red Sox look set to duke it out for the AL East, while Detroit should cruise in the central to the league’s best record.
In the NL East, the Nationals project to beat the Braves by 6 games, and edge out the Cardinals for the league’s best record (mouse over the win totals to see another decimal place of precision). St. Louis has a 5 game lead over the Reds, with the .500 Brewers in 3rd. My heavily mean-reverting model does not think much of Pittsburgh this season, as it has them dropping a little below .500. The Dodgers may project to be the weakest division winner, but they also project to have the biggest lead, 7 games over the Giants. While the NL races aren’t nearly as close as the AL coastal divisions are, the West is again the tightest division in the league, as just 10 games separate the first place Dodgers from the last place Rockies (who are in a virtual tie with the Padres and Diamondbacks).

AL East Won Lost RS RA
Rays 88 74 709 654
Red Sox 86 76 727 688
Yankees 81 81 682 680
Blue Jays 80 82 721 727
Orioles 77 85 693 728
AL Central Won Lost RS RA
Tigers 91 71 741 655
Indians 81 81 717 715
White Sox 79 83 689 703
Royals 77 85 670 704
Twins 66 96 635 759
AL West Won Lost RS RA
Athletics 87 75 723 670
Angels 86 76 718 675
Rangers 86 76 736 693
Mariners 84 78 688 662
Astros 74 88 664 721
NL East Won Lost RS RA
Nationals 91 71 706 618
Braves 85 77 704 668
Marlins 77 85 635 668
Phillies 76 86 641 688
Mets 74 88 650 707
NL Central Won Lost RS RA
Cardinals 91 71 721 638
Reds 86 76 698 654
Brewers 81 81 693 690
Pirates 78 84 659 682
Cubs 69 93 610 716
NL West Won Lost RS RA
Dodgers 87 75 674 627
Giants 80 82 635 646
Padres 77 85 642 674
Diamondbacks 77 85 664 699
Rockies 77 85 692 730

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