Baseball Prospectus has posted the first iterations of the 2009 PECOTA numbers and have forecasted the divisions based on projected playing time and roster construction. Because we care about the Tigers around these parts I jumped immediately to the AL Central:
CLE 84-79 MIN 79-83 DET 78-84 KAN 75-87 CHI 74-88
Wow. So the division is kind of up for grabs. Cleveland has a clear, but not insurmountable, edge (which seems correct intuitively also) and then a giant hodge-podge. As for being down on the division, it could be worse. The AL West is going to the A’s with 82 wins. The AL East has 4 teams at .500 or above, and the rest of the AL has 2.
As an aside, I realize that PECOTA harbors no animus towards specific players and/or teams. It is a sophisticated and yet emotionally devoid mathematical projection system. Neither it nor its creator have agendas.
The individual projections are subscriber only, but I will say that the system thinks Zach Miner will be a better pitcher than Armando Galarraga or Edwin Jackson. (And I don’t think that’s unreasonable)