Want to feel good about the 2011 MLB season? Replacement Level Yankees Weblog (which is great, even if it focuses on the Yankees) wants you to feel good about the 2011 MLB season, and they updated their 2011 CAIRO projected standings today.
And they're really nifty.
The Texas Rangers, in their simulations, are given an average record of 93-69 (rounded), the third best in all of baseball, just one win behind the Phillies, who don't play in the AL. Further, they give them a 58% chance to win the division and a 64% overall shot at making the playoffs.
Any team that looks more likely to make the playoffs than not is in a great position, let alone a team that's expected to make the playoffs nearly two thirds of the time. They come with the caveat that they are very early (pitchers and catchers haven't even reported yet, a lot can change), and obviously they could just have a kink, and even if they don't one third isn't a small number of times, but. . . that's pretty nice to see.
That's a three win upgrade from their last projections, by the way, which I guess means CAIRO really likes the addition of Mike Napoli (as it should), and I'm guessing the Angels' weird trade might have something to do with it, as well.
Here's what the author has to say about the Rangers in his commentary:
The Rangers look like a strong favorite in the AL West, although if they trade Michael Young that may hurt their depth a bit. I only gave Brandon Webb about 10 starts, so how he does could have an impact on them.
I like that, and agree. Most of my expectations of the Rangers require little if anything from Webb. Any good they get from him is probably a bonus. It's a nice feeling if you can believe your team is a serious title contender even without the former MLB ace on the staff finding just a fraction of his old self.
CAIRO last year was actually one of the least positive projections of the Rangers, pegging them at about a .500 record. In 2009, though, Vegas Watch had it as the best system for projecting the standings. We'll see about 2011, but at least it's nice to see someone feeling extra positive about the Rangers.