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April 5, 2009

Prospectus Today

The Top Ten

by Joe Sheehan

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Here is the first installment (teams numbered 30-21), and here is the second (teams 21-11).

Teams are ranked by record, primarily a function of runs scored and runs allowed, which are what I spent the last week calculating. I've made an occasional manual change to account for particularly strong or weak bullpens that can cause a team to diverge from its Pythagorean record, and to make everything balance at 2,430-2,430.

#10: Philadelphia Phillies (86-76, 819 RS, 774 RA)
The Phillies were very health-fortunate the past two seasons, with only Jimmy Rollins' 2008 ankle injury being notable. As we head into '09, they're already sweating Cole Hamels and Chase Utley, two players they simply have no way of replacing. Utley seems like he's ready to go, which is a relief, but in general this prediction includes a sense that everything went right for the last two years, and they don't have much room for anything to go wrong. They'll allow more runs even if completely healthy, as last year's bullpen performance is not repeatable, and they don't have much room to grow offensively to make up for that. There's no shame in being one of the ten best teams in baseball, and that you can be that and not reach the playoffs is a feature, not a bug.

#9: Tampa Bay Rays (86-76, 766 RS, 719 RA)
Playing almost a quarter of their schedule against the two best teams in the game costs them dearly, perhaps up to four games off of their record. They'd be a favorite or co-favorite in any other division in the game, even regressing a bit off of their terrific '08 performance. It's hard to know what they'll get from some of last year's surprises in the bullpen, such as J.P. Howell and Grant Balfour. I do think the defense will give up a few more hits this season, though that's as much about buying into the Plexiglass Principle as anything else, and when I look at the team on the field I have a hard time backing that up. The Rays also represent one of the most interesting off-field stories of the season: does the pennant have enough of an effect on attendance in a place where baseball hasn't been embraced?

#8: Chicago Cubs (87-75, 784 RS, 726 RA)
This is a bearish assessment, though still enough to win them the division. Subjectively, I think they're going to be even a bit worse than this, with no center fielder on the roster, their best pitcher and best hitter both massive injury cases, and projected declines at all five infield slots. The bullpen will be worse as well. It will be interesting to see how Kosuke Fukudome plays; Hideki Matsui didn't hit for a ton of power in his first season over here, then rediscovered it in his second. The righty-heavy Cubs desperately need the stud they signed, and not last year's fourth outfielder.

#7: Arizona Diamondbacks (88-74, 823 RS, 748 RA)
Brandon Webb was the big loser this winter, as a team that already had Mark Reynolds in the infield swapped out Orlando Hudson for Felipe Lopez. That's as big a voluntary defensive downgrade as you'll find. Lopez has lost a number of jobs in his career for his inability to be an adequate defensive infielder; he lacks range or hands, and has a tendency to make mental mistakes. Throw in Reynolds and a mediocre first baseman-worse if Conor Jackson heads back that way-and you have an infield that doesn't mesh well with Webb's skills. The outfield, however, could be very good on the days that Eric Byrnes plays left, which bodes well for the other four starters. The Diamondbacks will go as far as the young hitters take them, which was also true last year and two years ago. It's a critical year for Chris B. Young.

#6: Oakland Athletics (88-74, 746 RS, 695 RA)
Not a typo, though I keep thinking it is. The A's additions of Matt Holliday and Orlando Cabrera were such massive upgrades on both sides of the ball over what played left field and shortstop last year that they'll have a huge effect. It's not just a statistical thing; the A's, who collectively take good at-bats and draw walks, needed guys to bat .290 with a bunch of doubles, because few teams squandered more good counts and more good situations last year. Holliday and Cabrera fit perfectly in this lineup, making it a good offense. The rotation is shaky-Dallas Braden, Opening Day starter?-but there's so much pitching in the upper levels that it could be a lot better in August than in April. The bullpen is fantastic, five deep when Joey Devine returns.

#5: Atlanta Braves (91-71, 799 RS, 703 RA)
Also not a typo. The Braves' rotation was a bad joke last season, so the additions of Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez, and Kenshin Kawakami have a similar effect on their prospects as the additions of Holliday and Cabrera do for the Braves. The Braves are going to play very good defense; only Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson don't handle their positions well. The threat of two OBP sinks in the middle of the lineup, Anderson and Jeff Francoeur, is the main reason to be pessimistic, and using Tom Glavine in the rotation provides another. The organization's blind spot about experience could hurt it in a season when it should be able to get back to October.

#4: Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70, 819 RS, 711 RA)
I'm no Casey Blake fan, but if he's the worst hitter you've got, then you're on to something. The Dodgers' signings of Orlando Hudson and Manny Ramirez upgraded them from a fringe contender to one of the best teams in baseball in the waning days of the offseason. The decision to use James McDonald in the rotation will be worth a few wins as well, and while the back of the rotation is still a weakness, there's enough bullpen here-Cory Wade and Hung-Chih Kuo could own the seventh and eighth innings-to make up for it.

#3: New York Mets (92-70, 812 RS, 712 RA)
They could have done more this winter, and if Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church don't work out in the corners as Manny Ramirez rakes in LA, the local media will have a field day. However, the upgrades to the bullpen aren't just cosmetic, they're real, and they mean that the Mets won't have to sweat three-run leads with six outs to go they way they did during the last two Septembers. Just winning the games they should win will be enough to bump them back above the Phillies in the East. It's not inconceivable that the Mets could have the three most valuable players in the NL in Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, and David Wright.

As long as I'm here, let me ask this question: what does Gary Sheffield do that Nick Evans doesn't? Is there anything at all? It's not as if Evans is such a great prospect that he absolutely has to play every day to develop his skills; he's about what he's going to be, and for what the Mets signed Sheffield to do, Evans would be better and provide more flexibility.

#2: New York Yankees (95-67, 789 RS, 675 RA)
The age of this offense is a big concern, and it was even before Alex Rodriguez went down, reminding everyone of how Jorge Posada's shoulder changed the 2008 season. Six of the nine regulars are past-peak guys, giving the lineup a 2008 Tigers feel. There's more depth on the pitching staff, and with A.J. Burnett not in a walk year, they'll likely need it. The bullpen, which gets very little attention, is a huge strength for this team; the Yankees may win a number of games in which a starter gets knocked out just because their #11 and #12 guys are likely to be average pitchers. They're DOA if Posada can't catch 120 games, however. The fallback positions are awful, and there would be a nasty effect on everyone's playing time if he has to DH. Finally: less Xavier Nady, more Nick Swisher.

#1: Boston Red Sox (102-60, 822 RS, 637 RA)
The Red Sox have a ridiculous amount of pitching on hand, which makes their efforts to gild the lily by adding John Smoltz, Brad Penny, and Takashi Saito seem sinful. Clay Buchholz couldn't make this team, and he'd be the top starter on about six other staffs. Justin Masterson is between roles, and he'd be the second starter on six others. This is a run-prevention team now, with plus defenders at most positions to go with a staff that is going to give them easy work on a lot of nights, and pitching depth that no team can match. If there's a problem, it's some lack of offensive depth and a reliance on players, such as Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, and David Ortiz, who have recent injury histories. They might need a bat come the summer.

Predicted standings:


AL East
Red Sox     102  60  .630  --
Yankees*     95  67  .586   7
Rays         86  76  .531  16
Blue Jays    76  86  .469  26
Orioles      73  89  .451  29

AL Central
Indians      84  78  .519  --
Twins        82  80  .506   2
Tigers       75  87  .463   9
Royals       74  88  .457  10
White Sox    73  89  .451  11

AL West
A's          88  74  .543  --
Angels       83  79  .512   5
Rangers      78  84  .481  10
Mariners     77  85  .475  11

NL East
Mets         92  70  .568  --
Braves*      91  71  .562   1
Phillies     86  76  .531   6
Marlins      81  81  .500  11
Nationals    74  88  .457  18

NL Central
Cubs         87  75  .537  --
Reds         82  80  .506   5
Brewers      79  83  .488   8
Cardinals    79  83  .488   8
Astros       70  92  .432  17
Pirates      62 100  .383  25

NL West
Dodgers      92  70  .568  --
Diamondbacks 88  74  .543   4
Giants       80  82  .494  12
Rockies      80  82  .494  12
Padres       61 101  .377  31

World Series: Red Sox over Braves.

Eight hours. I am not at all ashamed to tell you that I'm very excited right now.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

Related Content:  Year Of The Injury

48 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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SaberTJ

Joe,

Does the Twins expected record take into account Mauer and Baker being on the DL?

Apr 05, 2009 09:38 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

Mauer yes, Baker no.

Apr 05, 2009 09:40 AM
 
phuturephillies

What I don't get is, every player on the Phillies is a prime regression candidate while the Mets seemingly have infinite room to grow. You say the Mets don't have to worry in the bullpen, yet JJ Putz had a 1.60 WHIP last year, and Francisco Rodriguez has seen his K rate drop the last three seasons, and his K to BB rate drop the last three seasons, not to mention the drop in velocity. The Mets have relative black holes at 2B, C, and who knows what they will get out of an unproven player in LF and an iffy platoon in RF. Not to mention their starting rotation after Santana. Pelfrey's peripherals suffered in the 2nd half, Maine had a pretty worrying injury that ended his season, and Perez's ERA's fluctuated wildly month to moth, not to mention his horrible spring. And how can any team with Livan Hernandez as the 5th starter be a 92 win team?

I guess I can buy the Mets being ranked right with/1 or 2 spots ahead of the Phillies, just because the system will love Reyes and Wright while downplaying Rollins and Howard, but 7 spots ahead? 6 wins better? The Mets bullpen, after their top 2, isn't any great shakes, and the rotation isn't any better than the Phillies on paper. What I find even more egregious is the Braves ranked 5 spots ahead of the Phillies. I don't even know what to say there.

Apr 05, 2009 09:50 AM
rating: 0
 
bflaff

Shhh, it's hype like this that explains why Ollie and Castillo get booed in exhibition games, so why complain? Fans can't figure out why their 160 win team is ever losing, and the millisecond someone fails, they start bringing up the choking and the stinking up the joint. The weight of inflated expectations is harsh on the players, but it works in everyone else's favor. Metsblog will experience a meltdown in the comments section before the season is 7 games old. Guaranteed. Mets fans hate their team. Let it ride.

Apr 05, 2009 11:46 AM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

The Mets and Phils come back pretty much as they were last year- with one big difference, the Mets bullpen, which goes from the worst I've seen in a pennant race to at least above-average. That looks like a 3-4 game difference, and a Mets NL East title to me.

Apr 05, 2009 14:05 PM
rating: 1
 
Meddler1

Is having Livan Hernandez any worse than Chan Ho Park? Do the Phillies not have similar questions at C and 3B (instead of 2B)? Have the Phils not also made a questionable decision about their LF? Do they not also have questions in the middle of their rotation?

The Braves pick is interesting. I understand it, the Braves made some serious upgrades, but I just can't help feel like this is deja vu with them. Each of the last three years, I was convinced the Braves were at least as competitive as the Mets and Phillies, and they just couldn't sustain. I have similar concerns this year. Their rotation is much improved, but if the risks in the bullpen and the lineup don't play in their favor, it could wind up looking like the Texiera trade (the first one) did, too little too late. These were the upgrades they needed last year, while Chipper Jones was flirting with .400 but Jair Jurrjens was the #1 and Jorge Campillo the #2. But I've followed the NL East long enough to feel like I can't ever underestimate the Braves, especially when they can pitch.

You could make a similar case with the Mets and the bullpen makeover, but the difference is there's less risk in the Mets core. They don't have a Chipper Jones or a Jeff Francouer that they're relying on to either stay healthy or bounce back. Their big stars have been relentlessly dependable, and though the offense is top heavy, and for all the downside in the corner OF, there's a lot of upside there too. They may not have a slugger out there, but they're six deep in above replacement level corner OFers (Murphy, Church, Tatis, Reed, Sheffield, Evans). If just one of those guys overperforms just a bit or even just has a flukey strong year, the offensive attack will balance out considerably. If, for example, Murphy goes .290 / .360 / .450, or Church goes .275 / .345 / .465, or Sheffield goes .260 / .350 / .455. None of those are necessarily likely, but they're all within the realm of possibility, and any one would go a long way to transforming the Mets offense from a good one to a complete one.

Apr 07, 2009 23:54 PM
rating: 0
 
elferguson80

Opening night and Wrestlemania on the same day. I love America.

Apr 05, 2009 10:04 AM
rating: 0
 
antoine6

I'll bet my BP subscription next year that neither the A's nor the Braves finish with better records than the Phillies. If either of those two do finish higher, I'll pay double. If not, I get free. Interested?

I find it ironic, and maybe not coincidental, that statheads loved the Phillies in 04-06 when they couldn't win when it mattered, and now that they're winning, the statheads love the Mets, who now can't win when it matters.

Apr 05, 2009 10:42 AM
rating: -3
 
ScottyB

Actually, this makes sense, as intangibles are real and have some effect, but are not incorporated in BPs stats as they are elusive and inconsistent. Here, clutch, heart, choking, etc are simply error variance that you can't project forward.

Apr 05, 2009 14:07 PM
rating: 0
 
samuelpage

If you really use the term "stathead" non-ironically, you should give up your BP subscription now.

Apr 05, 2009 16:51 PM
rating: -3
 
antoine6
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Thanks for being the message police. I'm gonna go ahead and give up my BP subscription now, I'm sure the guys at BP will really appreciate you going ahead and telling their customers what to do or think.

Come on dude, I'm sure I'm as "enlightened" as you are, I was just referring to the fact that I recall most of the more "sabermetric"-influenced analysts (Neyer, Sheehan, others) picking the Phillies in the 04-06 years, and then the Mets the last couple years. I found that interesting. Sorry I offended you.

Apr 05, 2009 18:31 PM
rating: -4
 
Scott D. Simon

Joe,

Nick Evans had a .571 SLG in 326 AA at-bats last year as a 22-year-old. Great. But in 2007 he hit .240/.321/.412 in High-A. In '06 he hit .254/.320/.419 in Low-A.

Paying the veteran's minimum to Sheffield on the off chance he can mash lefties better than a 23-year-old rookie with ~450 at-bats above the single-A level is usually the kind of no-risk move that you applaud. I'd rather have Sheffield out there than Marlon Anderson (supposedly the Mets' last cut).

And if the Sheff can't cook, you waive him and bring back Evans. What's not to love here?

Apr 05, 2009 10:52 AM
rating: 5
 
Bill N

Good points here. Joe may be underestimating how scarce free talent can get once the season kicks in. I'm not sure why they didn't pursue the gaggle of other OFs that were out there earlier though.

Apr 06, 2009 11:01 AM
rating: 0
 
leez34

I came down here to check out all the people pissed that their team was somehow being disrespected. I was not disappointed.

I will never forget when last year you picked the Rays over the Phillies, and then when the Phillies won, a fan asked you to APOLOGIZE.

Come on Joe, why you be hatin'? Good times.

Apr 05, 2009 11:39 AM
rating: 1
 
James Martin Cole

102 wins for my Red Sox? That is ridiculously awesome. If a team in this year's AL East wins over 100 games, you're talking about probably the best team of the decade. I'd be pretty down w/ that.

Apr 05, 2009 12:05 PM
rating: 4
 
Rob_in_CT

I can't see any of the AL East teams topping 100 wins, unless there are multiple devastating injuries to the competition. Like, say ARod ends up being out for the year, and then Posada reinjures his arm, Kazmir blows out his elbow and BJ Upton reinjures his shoulder. And, conversely, everything goes right for the Red Sox. 102 wins then, sure.

Apr 06, 2009 06:00 AM
rating: 0
 
jeffstoned

I don't buy that Joe has an actual "bias" against the Phillies, or any other team; that makes no sense. And I respect anyone who's willing to risk being egregiously wrong by making W/L predictions for every club in the big leagues.

But a few aspects of his NL East predictions don't make much sense either. That the Phils "don't have much room to grow offensively" is one: exactly none of the team's best three hitters approached their career-best seasons last year, and we know that Rollins and Utley weren't 100 percent. As for Ryan "platoon player" Howard, he was as unlucky last year on BABIP as he was lucky in 2006; his true level probably lies in between those two seasons, even factoring in the shift teams now always employ against him. Carlos Ruiz was similarly unfortunate on balls in play. I think the Phils' runs scored will come closer to 850 than the 819 Joe predicts. My concern as a fan is with Hamels' health, Moyer's continued effectiveness, regression to the mean from the bullpen, and whether Amaro can be as creative and effective patching in-season as Gillick was. Cole can't be replaced, but otherwise they should have some options.

On the Braves, I fail to grasp how Sheehan (correctly) rips their punchless outfield all off-season, then pencils them in for nearly 800 runs. Unless Larry Jones Jr has added bionic parts, it's not going to happen. The Braves should fall within a few games of .500 either way.

The Mets love... well, who knows where that comes from. I guess if one has great faith in Carlos Delgado and Fernando Tatis repeating what they did last year, and Luis Castillo shedding five years, and Oliver Perez finding the strike zone, and Mike Pelfrey and John Maine combining to make 55 starts, and the team not needing to reach into their farm system for injury replacements or trade depth, sure they could roll to the division title. Doesn't seem the way to bet, though.

Apr 05, 2009 12:44 PM
rating: 1
 
bflaff

whs. Phils have every chance of falling short this year, because their pitching may go a 'they are who we thought they were' route. But at the same time they probably have the fewest gaping holes of any team in the division. It's not the 27 Yankees at every position, but at least there's some clear sense of what you're going to get from them. Mets and Braves are tossing magic 8 balls into the starting lineup every night.

Worth mentioning, fwiw, that I think the PECOTA projections for the Philly bullpen may be skewed by the fact that a lot of their key parts, picked off the scrap heap before flourishing in Philly, were incredibly bad before getting here (Eyre, Romero, and to a lesser extent Durbin). I will be pleasantly surprised if they lock it down like they did last year, but will be unpleasantly surprised if they regress as badly as PECOTA thinks they will.

Apr 05, 2009 14:06 PM
rating: 1
 
ScottyB

Well, Romero will be off roids this year...

Apr 05, 2009 14:10 PM
rating: -1
 
SoxOsPhils

He is probably not purposefully biased, but most people I know read his columns for laughs when it concerns the Phillies and the Mets, due to his inability to make any sort of objective analysis whatsoever. This has been going on for a few years now.

That being said, I think some of the Phillies players are key examples of players that Pecota struggles to find good comparables for, thereby underestimating their projected results. I also agree with your point, that making predictions about every team in the majors is pretty tough and there is no way I could do it with any credibility whatsoever. Here's to hoping the Phillies prove him wrong!

Apr 05, 2009 18:21 PM
rating: -1
 
George

I don't think any of the Phillies players are unique in the way of finding comparables.

It's just that, well, Reyes is better than Rollins, Wright is better than Utley, Beltran is better than Howard and the Mets trio is younger and more likely to improve. The Mets are definately much more top heavy though, as the Phillies don't have guys like Castillo running around.

Apr 05, 2009 21:05 PM
rating: 0
 
jballen4eva

Your point about the Mets being top-heavy gets me wondering, does BP's analysis come up with player values and then just add them up, or does it also consider how total values are distributed? For example, two NL teams with a starting lineup value of 80 "units": one with eight 10-unit players, and the other with four 15-unit players and four 5-unit players. Is one lineup more valuable than the other, even though the sums of their parts are equal?

I'm inclined to think the deep teams would tend to fare a little better, which is why the Phils had their best record of the decade last year, and also why the Mets always seem to fall a little short in expectations. But that's not based on anything but a couple of anecdotes.

Apr 06, 2009 10:33 AM
rating: 0
 
antoine6

Um, Ilya, do you actually believe all of that? Do you believe that Wright is a better player than Utley? Reyes better than Rollins?

Wright: .309/.389/.533 career line
Utley: .298/.375/.526 career line

Add in the fact that Utley saved the most runs in baseball last year defensively, according to Dewan, and I think you can make the argument Utley is the superior overall player, especially given positional value.

Reyes: .287/.336/.436 career
Rollins: .277/.333/.441 career

While both are considered good defensively, again, Rollins has saved more runs according to Dewan over the last couple years. Rollins is also a more effective basestealer.

While their ages make Wright and Reyes more valuable players longterm, right now, I would take Utley and Rollins. And that's without taking into account those dangerously nebulous intangibles such as leadership, for which both Rollins and Utley have been given a lot of credit for.

Apr 06, 2009 11:21 AM
rating: -1
 
mglick0718

This seems to prove the original point more than refute it. Throw in large park differences, age (which you mention, but Utley and Rollins are both at the age where there are real chances of decline and Wright/Reyes are both still in their early prime), and recent injury history, and I'd expect Wright+Reyes '09 to have much higher expected production than Utley+Rollins '09. But you're talking about 4 potential MVP candidates here, so probably not where the focus should be when analyzing the differences between the teams.

Apr 06, 2009 12:53 PM
rating: 1
 
Hoff

As a baseball prospectus reader, can you really throw out career slash stats and expect it to hold water as an argument.

Wright career eqa .316 career warp total 32
Utley career eqa . 301 career warp total 28
And thats in one less year and 4 years younger.

He's a better baseball player. Or don't trust the numbers.

Apr 06, 2009 20:25 PM
rating: 1
 
EnderCN

It isn't always a personal bias, just certainly players on a team that someone doesn't like can really change opinions.

He didn't like the Brewers last year and they won 90 games, he doesn't like them this year when they'll probably win 85-86. Don't think it is a bias, just a case of being wrong~.

Apr 06, 2009 06:23 AM
rating: 0
 
ClubberLang

To be fair, it's not like anyone saw the Brewers making an early-ish trade for CC Sabathia and then having him pitch 17 starts with an ERA of 1.65. Midseason moves by their nature obviously can't be accounted for in preseason projections.

Apr 06, 2009 16:20 PM
rating: 2
 
Bill N

For the Braves, the decision to run Jordan Schafer out there now provides a bit of variance if he hits the ground running, and worst case they can fall back on Blanco. That and getting absolutely anything from Frenchy leaves room for hope.

Apr 06, 2009 12:48 PM
rating: 0
 
SirVLCIV

I'd bet $1000 on the under for the Sox.

Sorry, I don't see how the Red Sox's depth is all that much more amazing than the Yankees or Rays. No way are the Rays at #9 - three best teams in the majors, IMO.

Apr 05, 2009 13:52 PM
rating: 0
 
Al Skorupa

Take another look.

Dan Giese, Phil Hughes and Alfredo Aceves arent even on the same planet with Smoltz/Buchholz/Bowden/Masterson. A HOF pitcher who still projects great, last year's best pitching prospect in the game and two other high end, MLB ready starting pitcher prospects. Masterson was #53 on last year's top 100 prospects and Bowden was #31 this year. Hughes hasnt had the same stuff for the last year and a half/two years. A lot of Yankee fans want to throw him in with Buchholz as "elite pitching prospects" but I dare you to find someone in baseball who would trade Buchholz for Hughes. The depth the Yankees have is mostly in DH/corner types and middle relievers... its just not comparable to what the Sox have.

I wouldnt say the Yanks or Rays have "poor depth" by any means, but its nothing like the depth Boston has.

Apr 05, 2009 16:03 PM
rating: 1
 
SirVLCIV

Boston fan? It's fairly clear.

I love Smoltz, he's definitely the best of the bunch, but don't forget that he's 42 years old. He'll still post an ERA under 4, though.

However, your homerism comes out very clear in the Buchholz vs. Hughes argument. Anyone saying Buchholz is on a different planet (as in better) than Hughes is being an absolute homer.

Relevant dates: 08/14/84 and 06/24/86. They're both long term studs, and yes, I bet I could find several ML GMs that'd prefer Hughes.

Penny absolutely can not be considered 'depth', he of the 2008 5.90 ERA?

Dan Giese? Ignore him, he's filler.

Try adding Mark Melancon and David Robertson, who would be in bullpens on other teams already, and there are more RPs who could find their way up with good years.

Tampa's also got solid depth.


Let's be real, these are the three best teams in the Majors as of today. Any argument as to why one is better or worse than the other is going to end up being nitpicky. But to pretend one team is amazingly deep, and can withstand devastating injuries is rather disingenuous. Two of Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Lester go down? The Sox are done. Ditto two of Sabathia, Burnett, Wang, Chamberlain for the Yankees. Ditto two of Kazmir, Shields, Garza. I think all three could deal with one injury, however.

Apr 05, 2009 17:31 PM
rating: 0
 
Eric M. Van

A rotation with one of Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Lester, and the best four from Smoltz, Masterson, Buchholz, Penny, Wakefield, and Bowden might still be the best rotation in MLB after the Yankees and Rays. The Sox might indeed be "done" in the two-injury scenario only because the division is insanely strong, but they could still be the third best team in MLB. A two-injury scenario for the Yankees or Rays does not leave them among the three best teams in the game, IMHO.
So there is a significant difference in pitching depth.

Apr 06, 2009 01:33 AM
rating: 1
 
SirVLCIV

I think too many people are assuming a 42 year old Smoltz comes back from shoulder surgery as vintage Smoltz.

We'll see at the end of the season, but I stand by my comment that I would take the under on 102 wins for the Red Sox ANY day.

Apr 06, 2009 06:33 AM
rating: 0
 
SirVLCIV

I'd love to see the Daisuke projection used, btw. No way he continues his strand rates.

Apr 05, 2009 13:53 PM
rating: 1
 
dom

16 games separate the rays and sox? i think it'll be much closer to that.

ill take the over on smoltz's projections all day. he's 42, and has spent the last few years dominating the little girl league. put him in the AL and see what happens. old pitchers accustomed to dominating the NL rarely find the same success in the other league. (see Johnson, Randy)

Apr 05, 2009 19:07 PM
rating: -3
 
David Coonce

I don't have much to add to this discussion, but I really want to say that as enlightened as much of us have become with regards to statistics and statistical analysis, can we at least begin to get enlightened with regard to the other "caveman" aspects of sports fandom? I speak specifically to comments like "the little girl's" league, and I've seen other comparable comments on these message boards.

Equating the weaker professional baseball league to "girls" or "women" reinforces negative stereotypes, is demeaning to women, and borders on the kind of playground homophobia that ends up manifesting itself virulently in "traditional" sports forums and message boards (see: ESPN's "conversations").

We're supposed to be better than that.

My wife is not much of a baseball fan, but I have gotten her at least nominally interested in this site and its advanced analysis, in large part because it's not dominated by lunkhead sports patriarchy and tough-guy cliches. It's a shame whenever those things rear their ugly heads, even on something as unimportant as the comment section of an article.

You do realize that one of Baseball Prospectus' cheif writers is a woman, right?

Apr 06, 2009 05:59 AM
rating: 12
 
James Martin Cole

Here here!

Apr 06, 2009 06:07 AM
rating: 1
 
James Martin Cole

Or I guess that should be "hear hear!"

Apr 06, 2009 06:08 AM
rating: 1
 
dom

um, no offense to women, your wife, or Ms. Kahrl.

the point im trying to make is that the disparity between the leagues is ridiculous. if i were, say, a Blue Jays fan the past few years i'd be pissed because they're out of contention early, but had Toronto been in the NL they would have been playing meaningful games deep into september.

Apr 07, 2009 21:33 PM
rating: 0
 
jjgreen33

LOL at the A's allowing 695 runs. It's not April without a hopelessly (and unrealistically) optimistic projection from BP for the A's.

Good stuff, Joe. Do you seriously believe the A's a better club than the Cubs or the Phillies or the Rays or the Indians?

Apr 06, 2009 08:55 AM
rating: -3
 
Bill N

It's just by records, so I don't think he's saying that.

His projection is, shall we say, a bit bullish.

Apr 06, 2009 12:52 PM
rating: 0
 
sbnirish77

Joe if we quote your numbers are we required to say

"According to Joe Sheehan, and he usually gets these things right ..."

just like the MLB Network said when using BP projections on just about every 30 teams in 30 days segment

"According to Baseball Prospectus, and they usually get these things right ...".

Made me think there was some quid pro quo just to use the numbers ...



Apr 06, 2009 14:33 PM
rating: 0
 
ClubberLang

I think the celebrated cases of the '08 Rays and '07 White Sox have brought more people on board with BP's projections. While you can pick out examples the other way (for example, most other seasons of White Sox projections), on balance they do have the best projections, so they're probably warranted saying that BP usually gets things right.

After the last two years experience, I think the best course is to look and see if there's any PECOTA team projections that make you say "What the hell? No way that happens!" because they're so far off from the general opinion, like the aforementioned '07 White Sox and '08 Rays projections. Those seem to be cases where we're missing something that PECOTA catches.

Apr 06, 2009 16:29 PM
rating: 0
 
Vilica

I am a huge A's fan and also think the projection on the A's is a bit on the high side... sure hope you're right tho!

Apr 06, 2009 15:45 PM
rating: 0
 
gjgross

The Phillies are constantly underrated by Pecota, look at their closest comps
Rollins- Ray Durham
Victorino- Billy Hatcher
Utley- Chris Sabo.
Howard- Mike Epstein

But, with that said, the mid to high eighties in wins seems reasonable. But, I don't see how the Mets win 90+ with Delgado, Castillo, Church, Schneider and their Left Field situation accounting for over 2500 plate appearances. I'm sure someone will step up and play well out of that group, but there is still a lot of suck in that lineup.

Apr 06, 2009 19:42 PM
rating: 1
 
greensox

Gee, the As a top 10 team. What a surprise.
Who was it that said a few years ago that the As AAA pitchers were better than the rotations of 1/2 of the ML teams?

Try some objectivity. Really.

Apr 06, 2009 21:55 PM
rating: -2
 
Ameer

Today I saw the Unfiltered post about Over/Under bets, and it made me think that a good addition to these predictions, Joe, would be something that quantifies the kind of volatility you might expect with each team's predicted record -- something like PECOTA's Beta, but admittedly less scientific. Say you're pretty confident about your Red Sox prediction of 102 wins, but you're less sure about your Angels prediction because you don't really know what to expect from Lackey and Santana. You might rate how confident you are in your prediction. It could be a numerical rating or a red-yellow-green or whatever. However you do it, I think something like this could quantify how much more difficult it is to predict some teams than others, and it would also give you another metric by which to judge your predictive powers at the end of the season.

Apr 07, 2009 10:39 AM
rating: 0
 
Rob McQuown

You realize that this predicts -41 wins for the NL Central? Are those teams really that much worse, collectively? I realize that CC and Sheets are gone, but Harden's around for a whole season (or what passes for one in his world), and Carpenter might be back. And the Reds are predicted to pick up 8 games.

Apr 14, 2009 21:28 PM
rating: 0
 
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