CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Prospectus Hit List: W... (09/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Can Of Corn: Power Out... (09/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Can Of Corn: Counterar... (09/20)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Doctoring The Numbers:... (09/13)

September 13, 2005

Can Of Corn

Best of the West

by Dayn Perry

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

It's no longer breaking news that the NL West this season is the paltriest of divisions. The West, at this juncture, is a cumulative 58 games under .500 (which, of course, means they're 58 games under .500 against teams from outside the division) and has an aggregate run differential of -479. Thanks to the folly of the unbalanced schedule, it's likely that eventual division champ will manage a winning record, but that's a contrived merit.

Anyhow, that this year's NL West is among the worst divisions since divisional play began in 1969 is beyond dispute, and I'm hardly the first one to point this out. So let's delve a little more deeply into the "rolling brownout" that is the NL West.

What we'll do is construct an NL West VORP All-Star team and compare it to the leaders of the remaining five divisions with this question in mind: Could the best of the West possibly be worse than a single team in another division? These ad hoc teams will comprise the VORP leaders at each of the eight positions, a DH (or, in the NL, the top offensive VORP not among the best at each position), the top five starting pitchers and the highest relief VORP. Obviously, this is a frontline, offensive comparison, so bench strength, bullpen depth and team defense won't be accounted for. Still, this will provide us with a snapshot of how the West compares. So here's how the NL West All-VORP team fares against the likes of the Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Braves and Cardinals:


NL West

Position/Role - Player                        VORP
C - Ramon Hernandez, Padres                   14.0
1B - Todd Helton, Rockies                     45.7
2B - Jeff Kent, Dodgers                       58.6
3B - Troy Glaus, Diamondbacks                 46.6
SS - Omar Vizquel, Giants                     17.7
LF - Moises Alou, Giants                      39.4
CF - Milton Bradley, Dodgers                  23.8
RF - Brian Giles, Padres                      59.0
DH - Shawn Green, Diamondbacks                41.3

SP - Jake Peavy, Padres                       50.2
SP - Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks               32.5
SP - Noah Lowry, Giants                       32.2
SP - Brad Penny, Dodgers                      31.3
SP - Derek Lowe, Dodgers                      20.1

RP - Scott Linebrink, Padres                  22.5

VORP Total                                   534.9

Red Sox

Position/Role - Player                        VORP
C - Jason Varitek                             45.1
1B - Kevin Millar                             13.6
2B - Tony Graffanino                           8.8
3B - Bill Mueller                             28.3
SS - Edgar Renteria                           24.8
LF - Manny Ramirez                            49.1
CF - Johnny Damon                             43.9
RF - Trot Nixon                               20.4
DH - David Ortiz                              66.3

SP - Tim Wakefield                            28.5
SP - Matt Clement                             26.9
SP - David Wells                              22.2
SP - Bronson Arroyo                           15.5
SP - Wade Miller                               6.0

RP - Mike Timlin                              27.7

VORP Total                                   427.1

White Sox

Position/Role - Player                        VORP
C - A.J. Pierzynski                           15.2
1B - Paul Konerko                             45.9
2B - Tadahito Iguchi                          25.4
3B - Joe Crede                                 1.7
SS - Juan Uribe                               13.0
LF - Scott Podsednik                          10.3
CF - Aaron Rowand                             18.6
RF - Jermaine Dye                             25.2
DH - Carl Everett                             10.9

SP - Mark Buehrle                             45.9
SP - Jon Garland                              42.7
SP - Freddy Garcia                            42.5
SP - Jose Contreras                           29.8
SP - Orlando Hernandez                         5.9

RP - Cliff Politte                            24.4

VORP Total                                   357.4

Angels

Position/Role - Player                        VORP
C - Ben Molina                                21.4
1B - Darin Erstad                             11.6
2B - Adam Kennedy                             19.5
3B - Chone Figgins                            28.6
SS - Orlando Cabrera                          16.6
LF - Garret Anderson                          18.7
CF - Steve Finley                             -3.7
RF - Vladimir Guerrero                        60.1
DH - Casey Kotchman                            6.5

SP - Bartolo Colon                            53.1
SP - John Lackey                              47.1
SP - Jarrod Washburn                          45.8
SP - Paul Byrd                                34.3
SP - Kelvim Escobar                           12.4

RP - Scott Shields                            21.7

VORP Total                                   393.7

Braves

Position/Role - Player                        VORP
C - Johnny Estrada                             6.9
1B - Julio Franco                             14.4
2B - Marcus Giles                             45.1
3B - Chipper Jones                            44.6
SS - Rafael Furcal                            42.5
LF - Kelly Johnson                             5.2
CF - Andruw Jones                             65.4
RF - Jeff Francoeur                           23.3
DH - Wilson Betemit                           15.4

SP - John Smoltz                              59.3
SP - Tim Hudson                               39.3
SP - Jorge Sosa                               35.4
SP - Horacio Ramirez                          22.2
SP - Mike Hampton                             15.3

RP - Blaine Boyer                             13.3

VORP Total                                   447.6

Cardinals

Position/Role - Player                        VORP
C - Yadier Molina                              7.8
1B - Albert Pujols                            96.1
2B - Mark Grudzielanek                        22.2
3B - Abraham Nunez                            15.8
SS - David Eckstein                           34.7
LF - Reggie Sanders                           26.2
CF - Jim Edmonds                              45.9
RF - Larry Walker                             21.5
DH - So Taguchi                               17.3

SP - Chris Carpenter                          78.4
SP - Mark Mulder                              38.7
SP - Jeff Suppan                              21.3
SP - Matt Morris                              18.2
SP - Jason Marquis                            17.2

RP - Al Reyes                                 19.0

VORP Total                                   480.3

Okay, so the NL West All-VORP team shakes out better than any other single team in baseball, and this column would've been a lot cooler if that weren't the case. Still, they're only about five wins better than the Cardinals, and that's semi-damning stuff. The best of an entire division is only a handful of games better than a single team, at least in terms of the VORP of the core contributors. Add a healthy Scott Rolen into the mix and give Taguchi a full season's worth of plate appearances (which he would have were he an actual DH), and that margin might dissipate.

  • Think the Yankees have center-field problems? Observe
    
    Player                  VORP                 FRAA
    Bernie Williams         11.9                 -2
    Steve Finley            -3.7                 -2
    
    
    Finley has been squarely worse at the plate and just as lamentable with the glove. The Angels have the bench strength to keep Finley off the field for the balance of the season, and that's just what they should do.

  • Jason Marquis, who's hitting .329/.337/.494 in 83 plate appearances this season, came within one VORP run of tying Taguchi for Cardinal DH dibs. So that's something.

  • Pardon the following "fan boy" rumination of sorts Recently, Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter passed Derrek Lee and Roger Clemens, respectively, in the VORP rankings. We now have legitimate, nuanced debates before us for the NL MVP and Cy Young awards. That wasn't the case two weeks ago. What does this have to do with the prevailing theme of this column? Not bloody much

That's all for this time around. Since I came reasonably close to predicting the exact score of the Texas/Ohio State game last week, I figure I should take another whack at it: UCLA 31, Oklahoma 27.

Related Content:  Dh,  Vorp

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Prospectus Hit List: W... (09/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Can Of Corn: Power Out... (09/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Can Of Corn: Counterar... (09/20)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Doctoring The Numbers:... (09/13)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and Resp...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: 40-Man Additions to Know
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Revenge is a Dish Best Served...
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The Timeshare DH
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Mariners Eager To Lock...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Red Sox Do Whatever Th...
Before They Were Prospects

MORE FROM SEPTEMBER 13, 2005
Transaction of the Day: Barry Bonds' Return
Premium Article Doctoring The Numbers: The Draft, Part Seven
Prospectus Hit List: Week of September 11
Premium Article Prospectus Matchups: 40-40, and 20
Premium Article Pirates of the Allegheny

MORE BY DAYN PERRY
2005-10-04 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: San Diego Padres vs. St....
2005-09-27 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Reasons to Believe
2005-09-20 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Counterargument
2005-09-13 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Best of the West
2005-09-06 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Power Outage
2005-08-31 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The No-Fun League
2005-08-17 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The Even Newer and More Improve...
More...

MORE CAN OF CORN
2005-11-02 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Approximate Psychic
2005-09-27 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Reasons to Believe
2005-09-20 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Counterargument
2005-09-13 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Best of the West
2005-09-06 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: Power Outage
2005-08-31 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The No-Fun League
2005-08-17 - Premium Article Can Of Corn: The Even Newer and More Improve...
More...