I know it is still a bit early, but for the most part, MLB rosters are set for the upcoming season. Sure there could be a surprise or two but here is my first look at what we might expect. I used the rosters established here for the NL West. In years past I have tried to establish my own prediction tools. This year I decided to get a bit more in depth. My method was to basically look at the last three years of a player's stats concentrating on plate appearances or batters faced (for a pitcher) and runs scored/allowed. I then weighted these numbers stressing more on the previous year. With this done, I then calculated an average runs per plate appearance or runs per batter's faced. With this ratio I then multiplied by what I expect is an assumed number of plate appearances for 2012 which then provided me with expected runs scored or allowed. Taking this data I then extrapolated to an average team season (6100 to 6200 plate appearances or batter's faced) to obtain each team's expected runs score and runs allowed number and then used pythagorean to predict overall record. I also did one last tweek taking this record and correlating to their previous three seasons to come up with wins. Spreadsheet is here. Results are below:
1) Not so good for us Rox fans. Key to winning the West is pitching and frankly the Rox staff is the big unknown. My data did not include Nicasio so that might help if he is in fact on the Opening Day roster and of course we do get De la Rosa back sometime over the summer. Can we stay in contention until then?
2) Another thing that struck me is playing time. Over the last three years the only player in our starting lineup this year that has averaged 600 or more plate appearances is Cuddyer. Why is this important...see my post here. D-Backs have 2 players with 600 and two borderlines, Padres have 1 borderline, Giants have 2, and LA has 2 as well. Which team projects to be the best?
3) Mystery team above is which San Diego are we getting this year? The 2010 version with 90 wins or the 2009 and 2011 team which won 75 games. Also can this lineup really score 686 runs? versus 593, 665, and 638 over the last 3 years? Will Quentin be that big bart...they have some nice pieces but will the litter box suck them dry? Also does Volquez make them more dominant on the mound? A lot of ifs with this team...
4) Will the D-Backs be as impressive as last year? They have been up and down before with this lineup. They are a lot like the Rockies. Dominant players that if they all were in sync could really be an offensive powerhouse but who can tell. Regardless of what they do at the plate their starters are probably the most dominant on paper with Kennedy, Cahill, and Hudson. Throw in Collmenter and if these arms don't regress then they are good.
5) The Giants should rebound with their offense with Posey back in the lineup. Their pitching is once again dominant as well. Should be a D-Back/Giants fight down to the wire.
6) The Dodgers much like our Rox have a lot of young players. Two everyday players and a good one two punch on the mound but a bunch of aging (cagey?) veterans holding up the back end. They'll do OK in Dodgers stadium but what about the other parks?
I think the Dodgers and Rox will be the teams to beat in 2013 but this year will be a holding pattern for us as Rox pitching needs to grow.
Hall of Fame
This was Renck's first ballot and while I applaud is openness I think his choices are what plague the voting all around. Each of these writer's would like to say they have used some sort of statistical look at their picks but ultimately these guys are just voting rather whimsically. My biggest gripe is that I think all hometown writer's should be homers and vote for their players. Therefore Renck should have voted for EY, Castilla, and Walker. In fact the hometown writer should be their players advocate regardless of what they think. Sure Walker missed a bunch of games? Yes but was he magic on the field? Did he make you come to the ballpark? If you think CarGo is magnificent fielder, Walker was even better. His arm was awesome. Oh yeah, he could rake with the bat too. Coors Field effects - just look at his road numbers, he was good there too. Come on Renck stand up for the hometown team. In his article I did find this piece interesting though,
"I know one former player who became clinically depressed when his numbers became dwarfed because of his refusal to use PEDs. So, morally, those with positive tests are out. It might be an untenable position."
What player was this? Why do the writer's seem to be protecting so many players and yet use this cloud of suspicion to punish them when it comes to the Hall. I just have to wonder if all the writers in baseball knew who was on juice for their respective clubs and are withholding this information and because they knew Player X, Y, Z on their team was on it, then these writer's must think that other players were on it as well. Some writer just needs to go down in a blaze of glory and put this "who was on, who wasn't" argument to rest. Take a stand for once and clean up this era, don't be safe.
How bad is the battle between us SABRites and the news media. Well this argument sums up some of our frustrations...
The MLB Network had a stat show by Bob Costas on the other night and they indicated the Red Sox run of 2004 in the playoffs owes a lot to Diamond Minds simulations. Theo simulated millions of games agains the Oakland A's and discovered tendencies which they then used in real games. That is pretty interesting...