Fun with pitching projections

After looking at Mr. Joey's Line up analysis, where the current 2009 lineup is expected to score 830 runs, I wondered how our pitching would look as is in 2009 and how many runs we might expect to give up.  So I did some rough calculations based on the CHONE and Marcel projection systems and calculated expected record in 2009 without major additions.  I used the projected innings pitched, runs and earned runs to do the calculations.

For all of these, I assumed that starters would pitch a combined 900 innings and bullpen 540.  I assumed the starting five to be Millwood, Padilla, McCarthy, Harrison, and Hurley, and used their total projected innings pitched.  I then made some assumptions of innings pitched based on some other starter candidates to get to 900 innings total.  For the bullpen, I used the full projected innings pitched for Franky, Benoit, and CJ and made some assumptions for other folks


------------------------ CHONE projections -----------------------

Chone projects are pretty hard on our pitchers:

Format used is:  Name:    IP/ERA, for numbers that I assumed/made up, I put a parethesis around the number

--------- Starters ------------

Millwood:     159/5.09

Padilla:        150/5.16

McCarthy:    78/4.96

Harrison:     134/5.57

Hurley:         107/5.89

Feldman:    (60)/4.71

Dusty Tits:  (50)/4.73

Hunter:        (40)/5.75

Holland:      (30)/5.63

Gabbard:    (30)/5.23

Others:        (62)/(5.40)

Others are either the likes of Murray/Mathis, reclamation projects, minor leaguer FAs, I assume that they will get a 5.40 ERA.  This bunch will pitch 900 innings and allow about 570 runs (525 earned), for starter ERA average of 5.25

------------ Bullpen -------------

The bullpen innings are harder to predict since it depends both on player health and performance and health of starters.  Also who will end up in the bullpen is hard to say.  Here are numbers:

Francisco:   58/3.54

Benoit:         57/4.36

CJ:                58/4.42

Rupe:          (70)/4.93

Feldman:    (30)/4.71

Dusty Tits:  (30)/4.73

Madrigal:    (40)/5.14

Gabbard:    (40)/5.23

Moscoco*:  (30)/5.49

Mendoza:   (40)/5.44

Others:       (87)/(5.40)

* I picked Moscoco here to represent some combination of Moscoco/Eyre/Bannister.  Moscoco seem to get the most healthy projection, so who knows...

This group pitches 540 innings and allows about 318 runs (294 earned), for bullpen ERA of 4.90.


Together, the entire staff looks to give up about 888 runs (819 earned) and staff ERA of 5.12 next year based on CHONE projection.  That translate to a pythagorean of 75.5 wins if you assume that we score 830 runs.  Not much changes from this year.

However, if you would follow me to dreamland for a minute, what would some FA additions like Ben Sheets do for the expected records?  Ben sheets projects in CHONE 148 IP/3.83 ERA in 2009, and if we replace Padilla with Sheets and assume Sheets perform based on projection, the total runs given up gets knocked down to 863, and pythag record goes to 77.9 wins.  Replacing Padilla with Sheets should get us an extra 2.4 wins.

What about bullpen improvements?  We still need a lefty, and the two names out there that has been linked to everyone's favourite team are Everyday Eddie and Will Ohman.

CHONE projects Ohman to be 51 IP/3.88 ERA and Eddie 36 IP/4.50 ERA.  I assume that both will pitch 50 innings should they be signed, and that 40 of those innings are taken from Gabbard and 10 from "Others".  Doing this, signing Ohman gives pythag of 76.4 wins (0.9 win improvement) and Eddie 76.0 wins (0.5 win improvement)


----------------------- Marcel projections ---------------------

Marcel (taken from Fangraphs) is little more generous to our starters:

--------- Starters -----------

Millwood:     162/4.94

Padilla:        158/4.87

McCarthy:    65/4.36

Harrison:     102/4.72

Hurley:         72/4.44

Feldman:    (100)/4.76

Dusty Tits:  (50)/5.20

Hunter:        (65)/5.26

Holland:      (30)/5.63   --- I can't find Marcel for Holland, so I used CHONE here

Gabbard:     (40)/4.41

Others:         (56)/(5.40)

Total of 900 innings, surrendering 529 runs (496 earned) for starter ERA of 4.96.

-------- Bullpen ------------

Francisco:   63/4.0

Benoit:         56/4.1

CJ:                55/4.34

Rupe:           70/4.56

Feldman:    (30)/4.76

Dusty Tits:  (30)/5.2

Madrigal:     44/4.3

Gabbard:     (40)/4.41

Moscoco:     (30)/5.49   ---- Same as CHONE, combo of Moscoco/Eyre/Bannister

Mendoza:     (40)/5.47

Others:         (82)/(5.40)

Total of 540 innings, giving up 307 runs (281 earned), ERA of about 4.69 for the bullpen.


Marcel projects the entire staff to surrender 835.6 runs (777 earned) and staff ERA of 4.86, and pythag win of 80.5.  Sheets projects 173 IP/3.59 in Marcel, and replacing Padilla with him ups pythag win to 83.4 (+2.9 wins).  Adding Ohman nets an extra 0.4 wins and Eddie extra 0.3 wins.


--------------------- Summary --------------------

Well, it looks like a 75-80 win team as everybody else has predicted.  The pitching should improve just due to regression, but anything gained from that is lost from the regression in the offense as well.  Both projections are generous on the defense, so if you think we are still going to give up 100 unearned runs like last year, take off 3 wins from the projection.  If Sheets can pitch up to projection, replacing Padilla with him (maybe 4 million extra per year) gets 2.5 extra wins - a pretty good deal, but there are a lot more people that believe the Sheets will underperform the projection rather than outperform.  Ohman might be worth about $4 million a year, depends on which projection you look at and how well you think Gabbard will perform.  Eddie should get a half win at a smaller price.  Allowing some variations, it's possible that the team will win 85 and compete since the division is weak, but almost equally likely that they will have 70 wins and be in the cellar.  At this point and with the current roster construction, serious playoff hope in 2009 is probably a stretch. 

There are some room for optimism though.  The defense should be better (especially if they put a good glove at 3B), and it's not likely that they will put up with the CHONE projection of Metcalf numbers for an entire season.  Most of pitching staff is equally horrible, so depth is less of an issue than for team with obvious aces.  The projections also don't show any "breakthroughs", and assumes none of the pitchers take a step forward, but of course they can go backwards as well.  Although I have a hard time imagining how you can underperform a projected ERA of 5.7, but it's Rangers baseball afterall - where surprises awaits you after every pitch.

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