Projected AL standings share depressing outlook for Red Sox in 2020

Two seasons ago, the Boston Red Sox‘ goal was to win a championship.

After trading away their best player, they may have to scratch and claw just to make the postseason.

Baseball Prospectus released its annual PECOTA Standings for 2020 on Tuesday, projecting the final record of every major league team.

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The PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) system uses a wealth of data to project player and team performance and can be pretty accurate: It tabbed the Red Sox at 89 wins prior to the 2019 season, and Boston won 84.

Here’s how PECOTA sees the American League East playing out after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers:

1. New York Yankees: 99-63 (89.1 percent to win division; 97.5 percent to make playoffs)
2. Tampa Bay Rays: 87-75 (7.6 percent to win division; 50.8 percent to make playoffs)
3. Boston Red Sox: 85-78 (3.2 percent to win division; 28.5 percent to make playoffs)
4. Toronto Blue Jays: 77-85 (0.1 percent to win division; 3 percent to make playoffs)
5. Baltimore Orioles: 63-99 (0 percent to win division; 0.1 percent to make playoffs)

PECOTA has the Red Sox finishing tied with the Oakland Athletics for sixth in the overall AL standings — behind the Yankees, Houston Astros (98 wins), Minnesota Twins (93 wins), Los Angeles Angels (87 wins) and Cleveland Indians (86 wins) — with just a 28.5 percent chance to reach the postseason.

Translation: Boston will be a slightly above-average team in 2020 as it rebuilds from the Betts era.

That’s a fair assessment for a club that still should boast a strong offense led by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez but has glaring holes in its starting rotation — Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi are the only locked-in starters — and bullpen.

As for the Dodgers? They’re projected to win an MLB-best 103 games — 15 more than their next-closest National League competitor — with Betts and Price in the fold.

Such are the short-term consequences of dealing your franchise cornerstone for prospects.

Projected AL standings share depressing outlook for Red Sox in 2020 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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