Many people understand that PECOTA is a projection system, and that it cannot possibly be biased toward or against certain players, fanbases or organizations. That being said, PECOTA absolutely hates your team and you specifically, and it has every right to. Shout out to Drew Magary and the inimitable Why Your Team Sucks series for the inspiration. Please read our real preview for the Rays as well.
Actual PECOTA Projection: 88-74, 2nd in AL East
2019 Record: 96-66, 2nd in AL East
I have a confession, dear reader. This is the installment of this series I had been most looking forward to.
I hate the Rays, you see. I loathe them more than the Yankees, the Lakers, and Duke combined. I still get angry every time I see a picture of Joe Maddon’s stupid hipster glasses. A very mention of the cursed name “Dan Johnson” can ruin my day. The next good Fernando Rodney celebration I see will be the first one.
I wanted to rip this dollar store franchise and its also-ran team to absolute shreds … but as I sit here today, I find myself asking the unthinkable: are the Rays really that hateable anymore? Yes, they’re ruining the game via “openers.” And sure, the way their every move is lauded on the internet makes me want to die.
But where are my familiar villains? David Price is no longer moping around the mound and asking you to count his college trophies after every postseason shellacking. Luke Scott isn’t here to mansplain that COVID-19 is a hoax invented by George Soros. Maddon and Wil Myers are marooned on the west coast. Chris Archer is having the worst Pirates career since William Kidd.
It’s not that the current cast of Rays is particularly likable, mind you; it’s just that they don’t elicit much of an emotional response from me one way or another. It’s hard to get worked up over Willy Adames. No one has ever shed a tier nor rejoiced over Ryan Yarbrough.
The only defining attribute of this version of the Rays is their depth. In fact, I’d wager that the Rays enter 2020 with baseball’s deepest roster. No one should confuse it for baseball’s best roster, though. It’s quite a ways away from that.