The Phillies have been very up front with you this off-season. They have not tried to put lipstick on a pig or sugarcoat things for you.
They have told you 2015 is going to be rough. Wins will be hard to come by. Offense could be laughably bad. And you're going to see a lot of youngsters getting some training on the fly.
So it should not come as a shock to anyone that in PECOTA's projections for 2015, they have the Philllies as the worst team in all of baseball.
Worse than the Astros, worse than the Rockies and Diamondbacks, and worse than the Twins. That's right, the team that went to the playoffs five straight seasons from 2007-11, is projected to finish with fewer wins than any other team in the sport.
|Boston Red Sox||86||76||802||748||.266||.339||.415||.280||2.3|
|Tampa Bay Rays||86||76||681||637||.250||.320||.386||.268||28.5|
|Toronto Blue Jays||82||80||767||752||.254||.327||.416||.273||-7.9|
|New York Yankees||80||82||686||700||.246||.315||.398||.265||0.6|
|Chicago White Sox||78||84||698||726||.262||.318||.401||.264||-13.2|
|Kansas City Royals||72||90||641||726||.264||.311||.389||.257||32.6|
|Los Angeles Angels||90||72||736||646||.258||.323||.411||.278||-3.2|
|New York Mets||82||80||646||640||.244||.305||.385||.263||2.2|
|St. Louis Cardinals||89||73||709||638||.255||.322||.396||.265||20.6|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||97||65||709||564||.253||.315||.399||.269||5.4|
|San Francisco Giants||84||78||639||613||.254||.310||.372||.259||-8.8|
|San Diego Padres||83||79||624||606||.241||.301||.385||.262||1.3|
I wish I could argue against these findings, but alas, I cannot. The chances are better than good that the Phillies really will be the worst team in baseball this season.
And for those of you doubt the power of the PECOTA computer, take a look at who they picked to be playoff teams last year.
|Division||2014 PECOTA||2014 Winner|
|NL Wild Card||Giants||Giants|
|NL Wild Card||Braves||Pirates|
|AL East||Red Sox||Orioles|
|AL Wild Card||Rays||Royals|
|AL Wild Card||Angels||Athletics|
Their predictions for the National League were impressive, landing all three division winners as well as one of the wild card teams. In the American League, they got just one division winner right, but correctly picked the A's and Angels to both make the playoffs, although they whiffed badly on the Red Sox and Rays.
Aside from making the Phillies the only team in baseball not to crack the 70-win total, PECOTA also had a few interesting nuggets.
- They have the New York Mets at 82 wins and in second place in the NL East. That's totally doable considering how bad the Phils and Braves could be. But they also like Miami to finish with 81 wins, nipping at New York's heels.
- Their two wild card teams from the NL are the 84-win San Francisco Giants and 83-win, new-look San Diego Padres. In the AL, the wild card teams would be Seattle and Tampa, at 87 and 86 wins, respectively.
- The three AL division winners would be the Red Sox, Tigers and Angels, with L.A. winning a league-high 90 games in 2015. In the NL, their division winners are the Nats, Cards and Dodgers once again. Variety, apparently, is not the spice of life.
As for the Phils players individually, it ain't pretty, folks.
The teams' top hitters for average among regulars are projected to be Ben Revere (.279), Carlos Ruiz (.266) and Cody Asche (.257).
Their top home run hitters would be Ryan Howard (19), Domonic Brown (16) and Darin Ruf (15). Top RBI men are Chase Utley (65), Howard (64) and Brown (61).
And the top players according to WAR would be Utley (3.9), Ruiz (2.7) and Revere (1.8). They also have Maikel Franco getting 311 PAs next year, with a slash line of .247/.273/.405 with 10 HRs, which I imagine would underwhelm some looking for the young infielder to make a big splash.
In the starting rotation, they have Cole Hamels as the ace of the staff going 13-12 with a 3.19 ERA and a WAR of 2.5. They're actually quite bullish on Cliff Lee, 12-12 with a 3.00 ERA, and a higher WAR of 2.9. That would be good news come July for trade purposes.
After the top two starters, however, the rotation falls off a "cliff" (pun intended). David Buchanan is the team's projected number-three starter, 8-13 with a 4.63 ERA and a WAR of -1.0. Jerome Williams is projected to go 7-13 with a 4.48 ERA and a WAR of -0.7, and Aaron Harang is projected to go 5-9 with a 4.65 ERA and a WAR of -0.7.
But at least they'd eat some innings!
In the bullpen, things are a bit rosier, with closer Jonathan Papelbon (if he's still here), talllying up 34 saves with a 2.43 ERA and a WAR of 1.2. YOU HEAR THAT BASEBALL! YOU CAN TRUST IN JONATHAN PAPELBON... THE COMPUTER SAID SO!
They see Ken Giles having a bit more trouble in his first full season but still a solid reliever, with a 3.08 ERA and a 0.7 WAR. Jake Diekman is projected to have a 3.56 ERA and a 0.4 WAR. They also like Justin De Fratus to be a positive-WAR reliever, while they're not so high on Luis Garcia or Mario Hollands.
So, when you look at the individual numbers, it's easy to see why PECOTA thinks the Phils will only win 69 games. There isn't nearly enough offense to go around, and the starting rotation craters after the first two starters, both of whom could be moved either before the season starts, or at the Trade Deadline.
The computer has spoken. You have been warned.