Friday, November 21, 2008

James Projections Pt. 2: Pitchers

Yesterday we looked at the Bill James projections for Nationals hitters. Now we look at what James has for a set of prominent Nationals pitchers.

Player Season ERA IP K/9 BB/9
John Lannan 2008 3.91 182 5.8 3.6
John Lannan James 4.08 177 5.2 3.6
Tim Redding 2008 4.95 182 5.9 3.2
Tim Redding James 5.01 168 6.2 3.4
Jason Bergmann 2008 5.09 139.2 6.2 3.0
Jason Bergmann James 4.25 139 7.3 3.3
Scott Olsen 2008 4.20 201.2 5.1 3.1
Scott Olsen James 4.58 199 6.9 3.6
Shawn Hill 2008 5.83 63.1 5.6 3.3
Shawn Hill James 4.12 75 5.4 2.6
Joel Hanrahan 2008 3.95 84.1 10.0 4.5
Joel Hanrahan James 4.00 77 8.2 3.5
Saul Rivera 2008 3.96 84 7.0 3.8
Saul Rivera James 3.80 80 6.8 3.7
Steven Shell 2008 2.16 50 7.4 3.6
Steven Shell James 4.98 66 6.8 3.0
Jesus Colome 2008 4.31 71 7.0 4.9
Jesus Colome James 4.41 68 6.8 4.6

James likes Scott Olsen enough that if Olsen does this—4.58 ERA and 199 IP—I’ll have to eat at least a little crow. Still, James thinks Olsen will have a worse ERA than John Lannan, Shawn Hill, Odalis Perez and… get this... Jason Bergmann. (For some reason Fangraphs, where I grabbed these projections, doesn’t have a James projection for Balester, Martis, or Mock).

Probably the Bergmann projection is the biggest surprise here. He’s predicting a significant increase in strikeout rate, which is exactly what an extreme flyball pitcher like Bergmann needs.

The Lannan projection would be a welcome outcome more me—essentially a repeat of 2008, maybe a touch more hittable. I worry fans will expect more there.

If Redding is pitching that badly, he should be out of the rotation before he gets to rack up 168 IP.

The Hanrahan projection seems odd, with his strikeout rate and walk rate both falling but his ERA remaining essentially the same. Somehow that just feels wrong. I don’t see his K-rate falling, and although his walk rate could certainly rise again, I don’t see it falling much if at all. If James’s projection comes true, it seems like that should mean a net improvement in his ERA, since it’ll essentially mean the Joel is pounding the strike zone more and pitching more to contact, which with his stuff should be a net positive.

James hates Steven Shell almost as bad as he hates Anderson Hernandez, although middle relievers across the board are so erratic that projection systems like this are pretty tough to go on.


JayB said...

Putting these pitchers with yesterdays hitters get you how many wins?

Steven, do you see now why this team must go out and get more talent now.....they can not lose another 100 games, but that is what they are looking at with these projections right?

Steven said...

I assure you I was never under any delusions about how far this team is from being any good.

If you want, you can go back and look at my off-season previews, but my approach is that we need to both build for the First Great Nationals Team by 2012-ish and also try to creep towards respectability in 2009, but prioritize the first where there are trade-offs.

That's why for me shorter-term contracts on FAs are generally preferable (to avoid Richie Sexson type deals where the guy is good for 1-2 years but an albatross when you're trying to take the next step from 87 wins to the playoffs), or trade bunches of prospects for declining vets or short-term rentals (the Jose Guillen deal, Soriano, Kearns/Lopez, Willingham/Olsen) or give up premium draft picks for bad, old, declining free agents (Vinny C., Cristian Guzman)--these are the types of deals that I object to, deals that set us back in the long-term for some incremental short-term gain.

traderkirk said...

Jose Guillen is now Michael Burgess. Think Juan Rivera would have given this kind of compensation?

Soriano is now Zimmerman and Smoker. Not exactly long term disasters as you put it. I'll take Z's future over Galarraga's anytime (plus I get Soriano's 40/40 as a bonus)

And giving a 2B that can't get on base, a 19 year old with no position and two bad knee ligaments and a future minor league FA for 200 innings of league average pitching and league average LF, well that's not so bad. I agree that it gets us no closer to the 1st great Nats team but avoiding another 100 loss season is not an unworthy goal. Besides, there is a chance (10-15% maybe) that Olsen becomes the 1:1 K/IP pitcher he was as a 22 year old and becomes a #1 or #2 starter.

There is no way to justify the Castilla or Guzman I signings. none. Zero. Textbook examples of bad judgment.

I added up the IP's projected and got 1049. Minimum to get through the year is 1458. So there are an extra 409 IPs out there somewhere. And if they aren't being projected, I think its safe to say they won't look very good.

Steven said...

@traderkirk--the word I used was "generally preferable," not "disaster." I'm quite aware of the compensation picks that we got for Guillen and Soriano. But I'm talking about general trends, the overall direction of roster construction. And the overall trendline is down, down, down, and in my view Bowden's pattern, especially in the early years, of giving up young for old, draft picks for declining/bad FAs, etc. is the primary culprit.

Steve Shoup said...

Wow brutal projection for Shell next year. Anyways I agree with TraderKirk, a few of those deals were bad (Castilla, Kearns/Lopez esp.) but overall I'll take that Soriano deal, Guillen deal and I like the Willingham/Olsen deal. There was no way to know Galarraga would amount to anything. He had virtually no prospect status. If you look at his projections on FanGraphs you see a solid pitcher but not an ace. There is a bit of a gap between his James and Marcel projection and the James projection has him as an average pitcher and he would rank only just above Olsen in our rankings. I just think we can't make it out like we lost Scott Kazmir in the Soriano deal.

Overall I agree that we should focus on a couple short term FA's that can help us build some respectablity, fan base, and revenue. I do not think that Adam Dunn fits that profile though. I feel he's too expensive plus he costs a draft pick. In terms of VORP Ibanez would be a better choice. Dunn's age only is a factor in a longer 5-6 year deal. Anyways unless we somehow get Tex I think we should forgo any Type-A signings.

Steven said...

You're not right about Galarraga. He was a prospect who had two plus pitches, fairly highly rated. The only knock on him was an injury history.

The Sports Chef said...

Steven, you are right on Galarraga. He pitched in the futures game in 2005 and after the Soriano trade was listed as the 7th best prospect in Texas's organization headining into the 2006 season by Baseball America. His numbers in 2005 at Potomac were 3-4 2.48 80 IP, 69 H, 23 BB, 79 K's, .228 avg against.

Steve Shoup said...

You are right I did undervalue Galaraga but it wasn't just his injury history that held him back. At the time of the trade he was ranked as the 5th best prospect of the Nats and became the 7th best prospect of the Rangers so he did have some status. My point was his prospect status was predicated on a half year of success at Potomac when he was 23 years old. Yes he had injury issues prior to that but he still struggled in his full seasons before and after the stint in Potomac. His minor league numbers weren't as good as Scott Olsen's. The point is for a player who was in his 5th year in the minors and 7th in the organization he should have been suceeding at that point. A 23 year old pitcher who only has one half season of success at High-A ball with a history of injuries is to me the very definition of an expendable resource. He seemed much more likely to be considered a 'flash in the pan' then a 'top prospect'. I'm not saying he had no value but that his value was worth the consilation prize of 2 draft picks. The Nats trading him away wasn't nearly as bad as trading away Daryl Thompson who had just as good as stuff and is almost 4 years younger. That is the deal of Bowden's that will come back to haunt them, b/c Bray and Harris are very usable pieces as well (imagined if we could have traded for Matt Garza).

Steven said...

Steve--here's where we disagree. I think that no prospect is a sure thing. No prospect--assuming they are really a prospect--is a lost cause. Some guys project as fifth starters and turn out to be 2s. The way you build a core of talent is to stockpile. So every time we ship away a guy who has some chance to be a part of the First Great Nationals Team in exchange for guys who have NO chance, we are going backwards.