That’s a pretty optimistic Red Sox rotation. I was expecting them to be in the other post.
There’s no way Aceves is worth one WAR as a SP. He’s significantly worse as a SP compared to as a RP over his career. Can’t see Cook being that good either in a switch to the AL. And you’d have to think Bard’s K rate would go down, and not up with the move to the bullpen. So he wouldn’t be 2 WAR if the K rate drops.
And that projection would have Dice-K being a 2 WAR guy over a full season coming off TJ. Not sure I’d expect that either.
Seems fairly optimistic when there’s a bigger chance that rotation bombs.
nitpicking, but ill take the phillies 5 over the angels 5 any day, and i dont care who #4 and #5 are
Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — March 9, 2012 @ 11:14 am
I really would like to hear more of your thoughts on the defensive issues. Ben Duronio elaborated a bit on this earlier with the Braves, but UZR also shows challenges for the Indians, in addition to the Tigers.
Comment by Urban Shocker — March 9, 2012 @ 11:15 am
The interesting thing with the Tigers is, they do have an aboverage defensive lineup they can roll with pretty easily if they wanted to. Miggy/Prince to DH and Young on the bench and the only questionable guys are Boesch/Fielder. And Leyland had little hesitancy to do this the 2nd half of games the 2nd half of last year.
Comment by beconstructive — March 9, 2012 @ 11:18 am
to that end, cole hamels projected for his lowest WAR since his rookie year despite entering a contract year and in his physical prime…. worth only 1 more WAR than rick porcello??
Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — March 9, 2012 @ 11:21 am
I do have to say that the Hamels projections does seem a bit low. CJ Wilson could very well have 5 WAR season but Hamels at 3.5 (same as Scott Baker among others) is just selling him short.
Still not buying that Vogelsong projection. Can’t just pull stats from before he left for Japan and muddle them together with last year’s stats and call it a projection. He’s obviously not as good as last year but I doubt that BB rate jumps that much and his injury history, coupled with a full year in the rotation should get him 180+ innings.
Comment by Edwincnelson — March 9, 2012 @ 11:30 am
I see a lot of you think you can project better than ZIPS, and I’m sure many more will chime in later.
Just what are your qualifications?
No one needs qualifications to offer an opinion. All projection systems have flaws, all authors of projection systems are aware of them, and are usually pretty candid about it. No one’s saying ZIPS is bad.
Comment by Edwincnelson — March 9, 2012 @ 11:34 am
Curious if you’d care to defend the huge decline for Halladay. His 8.2 fWAR last year was certainly somewhat fueld by his HR/FB rate, which he is unlikely to repeat. But you have him declining by nearly 3 WAR, and he hasn’t been below 5.5 WAR since 2005, when he only made 19 starts.
If I may make a correction and a comment in regards to why the Phillies are ranked behind the Angels:
“The issue is at #5”
You have the Phillies #5 spot combining for 1.5 WAR and the Angels combining for 1.0 WAR. If you combine 4 and 5 for each team, they have the same WAR.
“but don’t blame The Big Three”
That’s exactly who you’re blaming. The projections have them combining for 14.5 WAR. You’re projecting the top 3 Angels starters for 15.5 WAR. Last year, the Phillies’ big 3 combined for 19.8 WAR and the top 3 for the Angels combined for 17.9 WAR.
It’s entirely possible that the Angels’ top 3 outperform the Phillies’ top 3, but is it likely? Which would you rather have?
To an extent you are right, but 12 is pretty much middle of the pack, which I think is right where they belong. They have enough talent to be higher than that, but they also have a very real possibility of being much lower due to what you said. If Beckett has one of his good years, where he is actually in shape and stays healthy the whole year, he’s a 5 win pitcher, not 2.5. I’m expecting Lester to be good for at least 5 wins also. Buchholz and Dice K you can’t predict because of their past injuries. Bard could be anything from trash to stud.
They’ve got a higher ceiling than most rotations, but are surrounded by question marks…so I think middle of the pack is a perfect ranking.
i just think the phillies projections are confusingly (is that a word?) low… halladay at 5.5 WAR? whens the last time he went below that? i understand he’s older, but ill gladly place any paypal wager with anyone on here that he goes above that. hamels at 3.5?
like i said in an earlier comment, its just nitpicking, they are no. 2 after all… its a well written piece and we have to find something to critique right? it wouldnt be fangraphs commenting without overcritiquing a minor a detail.
Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — March 9, 2012 @ 11:48 am
i should mention, ZiPS performs better, but, of course, taking either as gospel is foolish.
I’m pretty sure the Fan projections are usually pretty comparable in accuracy with zips. Also it isn’t unrealistic that a human with abstract thinking ability is better than an algorithm regarding individual players and situations.
Hamels projection does look a little light. He’s been above 3.5 WAR for three consecutive seasons and was 5 WAR last season. While some regression is to be expected, 3.5 is below his last three seaons’ average by a fair bit.
my only guess is the 15 innings pitched and maybe a boost for a tougher league… but yeah, the hamels projection is curious.
Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — March 9, 2012 @ 12:00 pm
Given how much IP is a driver of WAR (and thus isn’t a rate stat), I don’t think you’re leaving yourself a lot of wiggle room. If Halladay misses 3-5 starts, that’s as much as 1+ WAR off of an otherwise 6.5 WAR season. Still, I’d probably need 6.5 WAR before I was comfortable in taking the under…
Having said that, it would be pretty cool if InTrade offered wagers on stuff like this.
Wow, no Nationals on the list? Jackson was worth 3.8 WAR the past two years, Gio was worth 3.2/3.5, and Zimmermann was worth 3.4 WAR in what effectively was his rookie season. Add in a full season of Strasburg, and three worthy #5 candidates in Wang, Lannan, and Detwiler, and you’ve got the foundation of a really good rotation. They’re only outside of the top 15 if you expect regression from each candidate, which I wouldn’t from any of the starters barring injury.
WAR had Cole Hamels and Justin Masterson equal in 2011, but these projections have Masterson progressing (just slightly) and Hamels regressing. Yeah right. What do you want to bet on who outperforms whom in 2012?
I kind of think that projecting Bumgarner to decrease in IP, K/9 and WAR while increasing in BB/9 and HR/9 seems a little optimistic. I mean obviously he’s getting up there in years and his .322 BABIP is only going to go up but come on.
There should have been a defined number as to how many starters were measured for each team. Obviously, the Red Sox are getting a boost from signing 3 or 4 reclamation projects who all project for low WAR values. But….really, most teams have guys they can plug in and easily get 0.5 WAR that weren’t listed here. For instance, if you add Lynn, Boggs, Rzypinski, or Dickson to the Cardinals list, they probably hop over the Red Sox. Any of those guys would perform similarly to Aaron Miller, V Padilla or Dice-K. I guess my point is, it’s silly to consider 6 pitchers for one team but 8 on the other…..especially when you’re getting so close to replacement level at that point anyway…. It seems to have really skewed things here so that teams with defined rotations 1-5 were actually affected negatively by having quality players to fill those spots.
Comment by the hottest stove — March 9, 2012 @ 12:50 pm
correction….andrew miller….and aaron cook….
Comment by the hottest stove — March 9, 2012 @ 12:53 pm
Max scherzer at 3.5? higher than Hollad? sounds ambitious. i would easily rank the yankees and rangers ahead of the tigers. they just have no depth. rangers and yankees are in spots that make sense, but I think you ZiPS should flip-flop the giants and the tigers. Verlander should be about a win more than lincecum, but cain is much better than fister and bumgarner is clearly the superior of max scherzer. and neither have good depth, so the giants should be higher than the tigers.
they traded napoli for vernon wells. dipoto or no dipoto theyre in the doghouse of the fangraphs community for the forseeable future
Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — March 9, 2012 @ 1:09 pm
ZIPS is terrible at projecting playing time. For example, Stephen Strasburg is projected to pitch 75 innings under ZIPS. AJ Burnett is projected to throw 168 innings. Daniel Bard – 71 IP.
For various reasons, I think we can all reasonably assume these projections are not going to be very accurate. Everything has its limitations, and ZIPS isn’t faultless either, which is why sometimes observation and a little common sense can help.
You have Marquis at 2 BB/9. He is at 3.5 for his career and has never been below 2.9, not even once. And he is apparently just slightly worse than Buchholz per IP?
You’re listing Cook with a K/W of 1.34. If he has a 1.34, he won’t even pitch. You do that against the NYY, and you’ll die on the mound from old age.
Lowe is going to lower his BB/9 from 3.4, 2.8, and 2.9, down to 2.7, because he is moving to the AL? Or put another, over the past 3 years, his best non-pitcher K/W was 1.79, and now he is improving to 2.11?
And is there even a single person in this country that thinks Lowe will be just as good as Beckett?
Or put another way, the following two groups have about identical IPS and WARs. Which group would you pick?
Beckett, Buchholz, Matt Moore, Aceves, and Blackburn
Comment by Keystone Heavy — March 9, 2012 @ 1:44 pm
Did you read Dave’s write-up on the Nats? He mentioned being a bit more optimistic about them than the numbers showed. You’re quick to add a full season of Strasburg I notice. Something not everyone is convinced will happen, for instance.
I can imagine that ZIPS looks at Hamel’s HR/FB ratio, the park, in the 3 years previous to 11′ and sees a flukey season in 12′? I think most people are concentrating on an improving GB% which is lowering his BABIP and improving his walk and HR rates. Is he a different pitcher or was last year and aberration?
not much of a fan the giants big three in general (or any of the starters besides Surkamp), I would definitely put the giants three right up there with the Phillies and the Angels, especially because of the age factor: the Giants big three is way younger than the Phillies or Angels and it looks like Bumgarner and to a lesser extent Cain are still getting better. Zips just doesn’t see it that way, it sees Cain and MadBum getting a whole lot worse for some reason. Bumgarner’s projections specifically just don’t really make a lot of sense as he’s actually projected to be worse across the board than his career averages that were established as a 20-21 year old; one would think that he would be on the upswing given his age (22).
I am trying to understand your use of capital words, Max is capitalized yet Scherzer isn’t. Then you don’t capitalize an I, yet do later in another sentence. The Yankees and Rangers should be capitalized too and don’t forget the Giants and Tigers. You capitalize Verlander but not Fister or Bumgarner. Then you don’t capitalize Max Scherzer in the second to last sentence. You are all over the place. Is it too much to ask for proper capitalization? It was painful reading your post.
The problem with this series is it’s too much information in a very short time window. Fangraphs (and its readers) would be better off posting one positional article at a time. This is especially true for a site on which brand-new articles are frequently read and commented, and then maybe two days later they disappear, never to be seen again.
To underscore my point, I searched for the article on center fielders so I could copy and paste my comment again in the hope that someone on the staff might actually see it. After four searches turned up various articles mentioning things like center fielders and Matt Kemp, but failed to turn up the one I was looking for, I decided not to bother locating the original comment.
ironically, after reading both posts… i found yours more painful
Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — March 9, 2012 @ 2:33 pm
I’m not sure why Zips is that different from Fans, but here are the Fans projections (according to the links).
I’ll concede that Santana is a bit better than Vogelsong, but the Giants are at least as strong at every other spot the rotation. Given the Giants, with the exception of Vogelsong, are younger with higher upside, I’d probably call this a push maybe lean Giants between the two staffs.
I know (he also lowered Wainwright’s from 178). But that doesn’t mean it’s consistent or logical.
Put it this way, one guy had TJ 13 months ago, the other had TJ 31 months ago. Who do you expect to pitch more innings this year?
Jordan Zimmerman had TJ in August 2009. Because of that he has injury concerns, and is conservatively expected to pitch 150 innings next year (less than last year).
Adam Wainwright had TJ 13 months ago, and has similar concerns about his health. However, Wainwright can be conservatively expected to pitch 160 innings.
If you’re going to dock one player for injury concerns, it would make sense to do the same for others in the exact same situation. Strasburg and Jorge de la Rosa are both coming off TJ rehab, and are projected for 120 IP and 50 IP, respectively. Therefore, it looks wildly optimistic to say you are CONSERVATIVELY projecting 160 IP from Wainwright.
I’m a Giants fan, and I would think this is more likely. The Phillies top 3 are pretty outrageous. Haren and Weaver are pretty solid #1s, with especially Haren being so consistent. CJ Wilson, I’m not as convinced.
Meanwhile, Halladay and Lee are the best veteran SP in the game. Cole Hamels is one of the best under 30.
I’m a big Hamels guy and would certainly prefer him for the next 4 years but…
CJ Wilson is entering his age 31 year…he’s far from ancient (not to mention he’s thrown fewer innings than Hamels). Predicting a sharp decline for 2012 seems unwarranted. He also pitches in the tougher league, has had more WAR (10.5 vs 8.8) over the last two years, is moving to less of a hitters park, and has pretty decent pitch values for his FB and cutter.
Hamels’ projections is most likely low at 3.5 WAR but I wouldn’t sleep on Wilson being the better pitcher in 2012.
dave—-thankyou for a great series! yes, there are lots of area’s that one can argue about but isn’t that part of the “whole” point – to cause discussion. the # of comments made tells me this was a great success as a series and i know took a lot of time to put together. my hope is that you do relievers and then a big recap to get some sense of the bigger picture. thanks again — your site is a must read.
While I agree the net result of those deals is positive for the Jays…they needn’t be examined in concert, and I reject doing so.
IMO, they made two mistakes with Napoli. First, talent evaluation. Second, they dealt him for a fourth tier closer! Smart teams don’t turn talent (and no, they weren’t the only team to miss on his 6 WAR potential) into sort-of-closers.
He was pretty sick after coming to Detroit. What he lacks in actual velocity, he has a lot of apparent velocity because his arms are so long. He throws a ton of strikes and has pretty crazy movement on his two seamer. He’s probably a top 20 starting pitcher right now, and if not, he’s very close.
He’s going to probably have an ERA of .8 to a full run over his FIP though.
You realize that Scherzer’s last two seasons he averaged 3.25 WAR and he’s going into his age 27 season, right? 3.5 is very reasonable and he has a ton of upside (anyone else remember that 14 strikeouts in 5 2/3 IP game in 2010?). He’s not as good as MadBum (obviously… I defy you to find someone who would argue with that) but it’s hard to find fault with that projection.
Also, Cain is not “much better than Fister”. They’re very close to equivalent value, with Fister being more valuable last year.
If Faustoberto gets back into the rotation for the Indians within a couple months of opening day I really do think the Indians will have one of the better rotations in the league. Without him, I’m not quite so sure. I think Derek Lowe might suck something fierce but that David Huff could come up and finally turn a couple heads for some reason. Funny how a slightly-above average(?) pitcher makes such a big difference when you take him out.
But either way, Indians=WS Champs. BOOM!
Comment by Rocky Colavito — March 9, 2012 @ 7:23 pm
Halladay’s predicted for 5 more I.P. than Weaver, with a K rate .1/9 lower, a BB rate .9/9 lower, and a HR rate .2/9 lower, but both for the same WAR.
That’s ~2 fewer strikeouts, (over 215 innings), 21 fewer walks, and 5 fewer HR, with five extra innings on top of that.
Quite the spread for the same WAR projection.
Mind you, I don’t know if the rates are being projected or the WAR is, and the numbers used as inputs only have one significant figure, so I don’t think I’ve got significant precision.
Fister and Cain are not close, Fister has one season with an ERA, xFIP or SIERA below 4. His previous career high was 2.9 WAR and his monster second half, which accounted for most of the WAR he accumulated, came against:
Texas, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Oakland and Minnesota once each
Kansas City twice
Cleveland 4 times
not exactly a world beater
Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — March 9, 2012 @ 7:43 pm
Since when does Roy Halladay miss 3-5 starts a year? It hasn’t happened since 2005. Off all pitchers, he’s the most mortal lock to have 5+ WAR.
Who would you rather have? I’m pretty sure (that even the person who did these projections) a non Tiger fan would take the Giants’ front three over the Tigers’ front three any day of the week – even though the Tigers are projected as better.. I know I would without even batting an eye.
Not so sure about the individual WAR numbers (seems a little low on Beckett, and, agreed, high on Aceves), but the total output and ranking look right to me. I mean, sure, they have question marks, but so does every rotation but the top 5 or so, and, as Dave said, they have the upside to far surpass that projection.
People who rag on Boston’s rotation are not honestly comparing it to the other rotations. I’m not sure which of the rotations below them I’d put above instead.
The reason there are 8 starters for Boston and 6 for STL is that STL’s starters are projected to pitch more innings each. The ultimate innings counts are within 5 IP of each other. Boston gets more starters because it’s likely to NEED more starters.
just curious–why does youth equate with higher upside for 2012?
lincecum has only gotten worse since his first two years in the majors. weaver has only gotten better. cain has recently spiked. mbum may get better…but maybe not (and probably not in a linear way). haren has been above 6 WAR three of the last 4 seasons. no one on the giants can say that…and it’s not like he’s crazy old.
no dog in the fight, but it seems like ZiPS is reflecting downside risk at the expense of missing upside potential (say, mbum becoming the next kershaw in 2012).
I drink the kool-aid as far as AA is concerned, but as good as some of his other deals have been, Napoli for Francisco was separate from the Wells trade, is not off-set by its awesomeness, and was absolutely terrible. I’m also softened on the Rasmus trade after I was reminded of the draft picks; strangely I don’t remember them being mentioned when the trade broke.
Agreed. Purely speculative at this point, but if Beavan is the M’s #5 starter at the start of the season, I’ll be incredibly surprised. Paxton is still a bit rough, but Hultzen seems polished enough for The Show.
Nah, I’d definitely rather have a staff lead by Verlander given Lincecum’s somewhat declined velocity and steadily decreasing production. The other two are close enough where I would want the best pitcher in the group.
Red Sox projection is too rosy (surprise), at least for the bottom of the rotation with Daisuke, Miller, Aceves and Cook accounting for 2.5 WAR and 300 IP. OTOH, Beckett and Buchholz could easily exceed expectations if healthy.
Also, 10 of the 15 teams are AL teams. What’s that saying about the NL.
This is easily of the worst articles I’ve seen on fangraphs. Neither the Braves nor Nationals crack the top 15 rotations in baseball? Wainwright, Carpenter, and Hamels beating out Carl Pavano by only 1 war? Bumgarner beating out Derek Lowe by 1 WAR? I could go on for ages but most of this list is just shocking
“I know that these are just projections, but:
Jake Peavy 120 IP – 2.5 WAR
Tim Hudson 120 IP – 1.5 WAR
That’s my biggest complaint. With any mathematical construct, at the end of it, you put it down and take a look at it to see if it makes sense from an intuitive perspective. If Peavy is worth 2.5 or 120 IPs, then theorectically, he is worth 3.33 over 160 IPs. Is he really that much of a better pitcher than Beckett, who earns 2.5 over 160 IPs? That just makes no sense.
Is Derek Lowe going to be drafted in the same round as Josh Beckett? Since they are both worth 2.5, they should be.
Here’s what you need to know. Lowe’s ADP per Fangraphs is 390.9. The guy right in front of him, with an ADP of 388.8, is John Lackey.
This is crap. How can you use WAR to compare one pitching staff to another? It’s all based on how good your minor league replacement pitchers are in comparison. So you’re making teams with poor backups look good while teams with quality depth like the Braves are nowhere to be found. Poor sabering here my friend.
Comment by EnricoPalatzzo — March 13, 2012 @ 10:23 pm
so why doesn’t Atlanta, who has a super deep stable of pitchers (which is almost as important as top of the rotation quality given how often pitchers get injured) get a higher spot?
IMO, if you have say 5 pitchers, your top 2 account for 90% of your SP WAR, the rest suck, and you have no depth, then you are not a top 10 rotation. Injuries are likely with pitchers.
Comment by Antonio Bananas — April 6, 2012 @ 4:54 am
exactly. If Lee, Halladay (not likely), or Hamels (somewhat likely) get hurt, the Phillies rotation drops significantly. If any pitcher Atlanta has gets hurt, they don’t really lose much because they have so much depth. Not saying Philly isn’t appropriately ranked, but it’s a good example. Maybe the Cardinals are a better example.
I doubt Carpenter throws that many innings. He’s in his late 30s and threw almost 300 innings last year when you factor in the playoffs.
Comment by Antonio Bananas — April 6, 2012 @ 4:58 am
The twins at #11 is looking really bad right now
Comment by Scott Clarkson — May 16, 2012 @ 5:35 pm
LOL, Barry Zito is no worse than the third starter on the Giants staff – and Lincecum is easily the worst. That’s why they play the game.
And how dumpy is the Tigers’ rotation? Phshew!
Comment by Aroldis_Johnson — June 2, 2012 @ 6:34 pm
Just checked in on this to see how the rankings were playing out. Aside from Cleveland, not too bad.
Comment by catholiclutheran — September 14, 2012 @ 1:02 pm
Dumpy? A case could be made that they are the best in the AL. Rendering judgement in June is probably too early.
Comment by catholiclutheran — September 14, 2012 @ 1:03 pm