Of course, it’s much to early to carve these into stone. Rosters aren’t completely set, free agent players will continue to sign, and depth charts are bound to change, but the author readily admits this. Here’s what he has to say about his projections:
"Around this time every year I like to run projected standings for the upcoming MLB season. It’s very limited in telling us much about how 2011 will play out since there are still a lot of roster changes coming, but it may give us some sense of how the offseason has impacted teams to this point and it also shows us how things would look if nothing changed from now until April. Which won’t happen."
So really, what we’re looking at is a quantification of offseason moves to date.
The projected order of the AL Central standings didn’t change from 2010’s actual results, the Tigers are picked to finish third, but the top three teams appear to be much closer together. The top three teams (Twins, Sox, and Tigers) all finished within two games in the projection.
Again, things are bound to change before the season begins, but the CAIRO projections are pegging the 2011 Tigers at 84-78, a three game improvement, but the Twins and White Sox are both projecting to be slightly worse than they were a year ago at 85.7-76.3 and 84.5-77.5 respectively.
There’s still three months until the season begins, but for now the race for the AL Central crown appears to be wide open.