The recent projection by ESPN’s newsletter service gives the Red Sox, the team with baseball’s highest payroll (and likely second highest seat price) only a 7% chance of winning the World Series. (Yankees 9%; Astros and Indians 14% each, Dodgers 12%.) And tied with the Nats for sixth place in overall team rating. Why?
First, the analysis comes out of 100,000 simulated game combinations so there is no weight whatsoever placed on just how badly the Red Sox need to have this, given the number of key players in their contract years. Nor how pumped are the Red Sox fans, suffering yet another ticket price increase in honor of failing last year. Imagine basing a projection on silly things like hitting and pitching skills, age, fatigue during season travels, and difficulty of schedule!
Second, the system does not seem to have any respect for Sox hitting, even with Ramirez and Holt healthy and Martinez in the batting order. The Sox projected annual run difference (scored vs allowed) is only + 93, which when you consider what must be viewed as a pretty good Sox pitching staff means the computer doesn’t think the team is going to hit. (Of the top seven teams, only the Sox are below +118 and four are at least 50% better.)
Final indignity: of the top seven teams, the Sox are given the lowest likelihood (66%) of even making the play-offs. Which Red Sox fan receiving this post can relate to that projection, we of the Nation believing that once we wipe up the AL we will give the Dodgers the contest of their lives in the Series? Indeed, of those seven teams, we are projected with the fewest wins, 92! Wait a minute here– that is one win LESS than last year, which by all accounts was terrible, with Price off the reservation, Petey injured, Betts and Benintendi and Bogaerts hitting lousy, no Martinez, Wright injured, Holt injured, our Cy Young winner leading the majors in losses, and Backey Jadley Ruin-ya in center field being his .240 self.
Can’t wait for opening day this Thursday. Hope the snow melts by then….