Thursday, March 30, 2006
Month Of Predictionary: Baseball Prospectus Offers Its Projections
In the AL West, Silver's number crunching likes the A's as 93-69 -- and then an incredible twelve games behind them, the 81-81 Angels. But Silver hedges his bets:
It shouldn’t be considered a surprise that the A’s rank where they do. Oakland did exactly what it needed to do this winter with the acquisitions of Milton Bradley and Frank Thomas, and the pitching staff projects to be the best in baseball. Vegas has the A’s installed as slight favorites to take the division. But the margin of victory that PECOTA is projecting is rather stunning.The fact that I think the above will happen -- and the kids will succeed, though not necessarily at first -- is why I'm a little more sanguine on the Angels' offense than his projection.
This has mostly to do with the Angels’ offense. No disrespect meant to Tim Salmon, who spawned his way onto my BP-Kings roster, but when you’re seriously talking about making Tim Salmon your everyday designated hitter, your offense has some Issues. In all seriousness, take away Vladimir Guerrero, and the Angels might be outhit by their PCL affiliate. Of course, this projection could underrate the Angels, but only if they get the message and let players like Howie Kendrick, Kendry Morales and Dallas McPherson work their way into significant roles this season.
Moving to the Senior Circuit, PECOTA has this to say about the NL East:
NL East W L ===================== Mets 88 74 Phillies 86 76 Braves 85 77 Marlins 71 91 Nationals 70 92Silver writes
The Mets have probably bought their way to a division title. I don’t mean for that to come across as jaded: this is a franchise that identified exactly what its most pressing needs were, that stood to gain a great deal from fulfilling these needs, and went ahead and closed the loop. That is exactly what big market revenues are supposed to allow you to do, and the Mets did it, while teams like the Cubs flunked the exam.In the NL Central:
NL Central W L ======================= Cardinals 86 76 Cubs 85 77 Brewers 84 78 Astros 81 81 Pirates 79 83 Reds 78 84The winner comes as no surprise, but the Cards are fading into twilight; Jim Edmonds' recent complaints about his foot and elbow, and his drop-off in production are signs that the team isn't as hale as it was even two years ago, and its outfield no longer as scary. On the NL West:
NL West W L ===================== Dodgers 87 75 Giants 80 82 Padres 78 84 D'Backs 77 85 Rockies 74 88
The Dodgers borrow storylines from both the Mets and the Cubs. They’ve spent money wisely in places -- well, in one place -- and they can’t help but be less unlucky, assuming that they’re out from whatever strange hex that Alex Cora or Kazuhisa Ishii put them under last season. I think this projection places too much faith in a full-fledged Eric Gagne comeback. On the other hand, the Dodgers are loaded in the upper minors, which should give them some trading chips even if they don’t get some callups from guys like Chad Billingsley this season.
Every year the BPro crowd has a group experiment voting for the winners of the various divisions. This year, the concensus for the AL West is A's-Angels-Rangers-Mariners, which is what I expected as well. Of the voters, only Kevin Goldstein and Keith Woolner picked the Angels to finish first, while Christina Kahrl (who correctly predicted the Angels to finish first last year) sees them as a third-place team this year, behind both the A's and Rangers, as does Jonah Keri. The other races:
AL Central ====================== 1. Cleveland Indians 2. Chicago White Sox 3. Minnesota Twins 4. Detroit Tigers 5. Kansas City Royals AL East ======================== 1. Boston Red Sox 2. New York Yankees 3. Toronto Blue Jays 4. Baltimore Orioles 5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
The real numbers start coming in next week!
As for the Angels, how is Tim Salmon being the everyday designated hitter a bad thing? In order for that to happen, things actually have to be going reasonably well for the team: GA is either healthy or on the DL, Erstad is either healthy or on the DL (neither being in a state of poor health but can actually play), and Salmon is actually hitting well. Salmon has only had two seasons where he was below league average in OPS and both of those had something to do with shoulder and leg problems.
People might need to start making organizational corrections to these predictions (based on how teams have tended to fare vs. the original prediction).
Not to mention quite possibly the best starting rotation in the league. And quite possibly the best bullpen too.
The Angels will finish at least ten games ahead of Oakland, assuming they don't suffer catastrophic injuries.
Anonymous - Seriously, 10 games?
-The other Anon, who's predicting the Angels to win, but by less than 5 games.