The Most- and Least-Improved Teams for 2014

Here’s the thing about projections: we always want them to get better, but we never want them to be perfect. Not that perfect is anywhere within our grasp, but in the hypothetical reality where we knew for sure what was going to happen, sports would be ruined. We don’t want to know the future — we just want to think we do, so we can talk about and analyze things that haven’t fully played out. With that in mind, hey look, we have complete combined 2014 data for Steamer and ZiPS!

We have combined 2014 season projections, and we have author-generated team-by-team depth charts. So what we have is an idea of the projected upcoming standings, an intelligent declaration of how things will go that we know will look kind of silly in six months. Reality always deviates from the projections, but that doesn’t mean the projections are valueless, and I thought it could be worth looking at which teams appear the most and least improved from last season.

The simplest approach: a raw comparison of 2013 team WAR to projected 2014 team WAR. Now, that might not seem right to you. Projections are based around estimated true talent. Last season’s raw WAR doesn’t capture true talent — it captures true talent +/- a whole lot of luck. But the way people always think about this is, the most recent record was the “real” record. Which teams stand to post the most- and least-improved records? Just because last year’s Astros were worse than they should’ve been doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Ask anybody. They happened.

I’ll spoil something right away — of course, a phenomenon you’re going to notice is regression to the mean. Last year’s worst teams ought to do better. Last year’s best teams ought to do worse. The standings can sometimes exaggerate the real spread of talent, and over a bigger sample, you expect teams to play closer to average. The lists you’re going to see aren’t just in order of 2013 record, but there’s a definite correlation.

Now then, the whole process was simple. For each team, I added up 2013 WAR. Then I went to this page to track down the projected 2014 WAR. Ervin Santana is still out there as a meaningful free agent, but not a lot about this is going to change on account of someone signing Ervin Santana. I did have to make one adjustment, because right now the projected 2014 WARs add up to something well over 1,000. Once that was adjusted down, it became a matter of simple sorting and subtraction.

We’ll begin with the ten most-improved teams:

  • Astros, +18 WAR
  • Phillies, +12
  • Mariners, +11
  • Marlins, +8
  • Yankees, +8
  • Blue Jays, +8
  • Padres, +8
  • White Sox, +6
  • Twins, +5
  • Brewers, +4

One interesting thing about the Astros: they project to be way, way better this year than last. Another interesting thing about the Astros: they still project for the second-lowest WAR in baseball, between the Twins and the Marlins. That’s a better team, an improved team, but it’s still a bad team with a handful of shinier pieces. While neither Dexter Fowler nor Scott Feldman is a widely-recognized superstar, they’re hints of adequacy on a roster with a greater degree of adequacy and depth. Improvements tend to be swiftest at the start, and last season was a disaster.

I’ll note that, between 2003-2004, the Tigers went from about 2 WAR to about 33. There were different players, but not as many as you might expect. Ivan Rodriguez didn’t hurt the cause. The Astros didn’t pick up an Ivan Rodriguez, but it’s not like they’re feeling a real sense of urgency.

The Phillies, in a sense, are a positive regression case. They also added A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez, Miguel Gonzalez, and Marlon Byrd, so while they also don’t project very well, they should be in the hunt a little longer. It pains me to say that the Phillies should be better for no longer having Roy Halladay. It pains me less to say they should be better for no longer having Delmon Young.

It’s not surprising to see the Mariners, because they made the biggest splash of all by signing Robinson Cano. Nearby, you also see Cano’s former team, which elected to replace him with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Masahiro Tanaka. So, the Mariners benefited by adding a star. The Yankees lost one star and added three, which is a different approach. In between, there are the Marlins, who if nothing else should get twice the year from Giancarlo Stanton.

The Blue Jays should be able to look ahead to better health and fewer black holes. As much as theirs has been an offseason of inactivity, they should get better just by staying the same. The Padres, meanwhile, have put together a fairly interesting rotation, and a rotation that includes none of Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard, and Jason Marquis. While San Diego might be the worst team in the NL West at the moment, they’re also a more or less average team in a division that’s light on great but heavy on depth.

Now to turn things around and look at the other end of the spreadsheet:

  • Red Sox, -16 WAR
  • Tigers, -14
  • Rays, -8
  • Braves, -8
  • Athletics, -8
  • Reds, -7
  • Rangers, -7
  • Royals, -6
  • Orioles, -6
  • Pirates, -5

A lot of people have asked how the Red Sox are going to survive the losses of Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Stephen Drew. Similarly, people have observed that the Tigers have downgraded by losing guys like Doug Fister, Jhonny Peralta, and Prince Fielder. Absolutely, it looks like both teams will step back. But one has to understand just how good these teams were a year ago. The Red Sox had the highest team WAR in baseball. The Tigers came in second. The Rays were in third, a full ten WAR behind Detroit. These teams could afford to lose some ground, and even still they look like the favorites to win each of their respective divisions. The Red Sox will be in a battle, but they have plenty of organizational depth. The Tigers have less depth, but also should have less of a struggle to reach the Division Series.

All of these are at least fairly good teams. They were all good teams in 2013. The Rays are projected to regress a little bit in a lot of different places. The Braves have spent the offseason signing players they already had, and they’re also projected for an accumulation of little regressions. Same story for the A’s, although Josh Donaldson is projected for more than a little regression. Last year, he was worth almost eight wins. This year he’s pegged for a little over four. It’s worth noting the A’s lost Bartolo Colon and don’t have the same rotation depth. They have all kinds of depth in the field.

The Reds simply haven’t done anything, and they’ve lost Shin-soo Choo. Projections expect less from the stars that remain. The Rangers have some pitching-staff issues to work out given the injured Derek Holland and the absent Joe Nathan. The Royals and Orioles have made some offseason additions, but the Royals remain a good deal behind the Tigers and the projections just aren’t quite buying the breakouts of Chris Davis and Manny Machado. Finally, we’ve talked about the Pirates regressing for months, and they could really end up missing A.J. Burnett. There are interesting pieces to possibly lift them up within the system, but the Pirates haven’t moved forward since finally getting back to October and a repeat performance doesn’t seem to be so obviously in the cards.

All the other teams — they’re within two of last year’s total WAR. Funny how that one worked out. At present, the Giants, Cardinals, and Angels are projected to be the exact same. The divisions around them have changed, but they haven’t, so much. At least until we observe the unpredictable. Then we’ll be like, welp, so much for everything we talked about before.




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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

93 Responses to “The Most- and Least-Improved Teams for 2014”

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  1. GBv3 says:

    First and RF are still areas of weakness for the Pirates. If Lambo hits decent against righties which remains to be seen. They will be better at first than they were last year. Signing a big name to play first would have been much better but the guys available weren’t top of the line guys. Signing someone to play right would have blocked Polanco so that didn’t make sense. The only beef i have was not making a QA to AJ. They will miss him but they are deep with pitching prospects and should be ok without him. They were better than they should have been last year. Here is to hoping they will be again this year.

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  2. LaLoosh says:

    interesting how the Jays could be +8 after doing nothing this winter, with all due respect to Dionner Navarro.

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    • afnj says:

      They got healthier, that is where the difference is (projection of talent level playing this year vs bad injury luck last year)

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      • Jose Reyes says:

        I’ve had a LOT of bad luck.

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      • JKB says:

        You could make the exact same argument for the Rays pitching staff this year (Price and Cobb both were on the DL last year) but the Rays are -8 versus last year. How can we account for the Rays 2014 projection dropping -8 WAR as anything but a statistical artifact? Where did those 8 wins go?

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        • Someanalyst says:

          Regression to what the model believes the appropriate “mean level” of performance is. In other words, the projection system thinks the Rays generally punched above their weight last year while the Jays punched well under.

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        • RC says:

          “. In other words, the projection system thinks the Rays generally punched above their weight last year while the Jays punched well under.’

          The problem is the projection system thinks that every team above .500 punched above its weight and every team below .500 punched below its weight.

          Which is why these sort of projections are a bit silly. Because they can’t guess who is going to get hurt, they basically smooth out the injury factor so everyone gets a bit hurt.

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        • Baltar says:

          Both JKB and Someanalyst are correct. The Rays did nothing to lose 8 wins–in fact, they did well in the offseason. So the difference has to be all regression.
          I understand regression, yet I would lay long odds that the Rays do not lose 8 more games this season than last.

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    • Douglas Fairbanks says:

      Is it really “bad luck” though when you assemble a team of guys who shown a propensity to get injured? I mean, Josh Johnson has started an avg of 20 games the past 5 seasons. So him starting 16 for the Jays last year is more the expectation than bad luck.

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      • dc says:

        I see what you’re getting at, but you’re wrong.

        In fact the 2013 Jays would have been better off had JJ not thrown a pitch.

        You also have to remember to take in context, Encarnacion & Bautista both had non serious injuries, but given the timing of the season and how far the Jays were out there was no rush to get them back.

        Reyes sprained his ankle on a brutal slide that should have broke his ankle and kept him out 2 months, instead he seriously sprained it and it kept him out 3.

        bad luck… jays may have a better chance of receiving bad luck, but its still luck

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    • Uncle Mumlby says:

      If Goins is even a semi competent second baseman that will be a 3 or 4 WAR improvement.

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      • dc says:

        Goins is a replacement level player at best. Which is an improvement from 2013, but not much

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        • Marsupial Jones says:

          According to FG the jays got -2.9 WAR out of the 2B position last year. Even Goins is replacement level that’s a prett big improvement.

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  3. boringdan says:

    That last sentence

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  4. Jonathan says:

    In the Cards. Haha

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  5. LHPSU says:

    Bad teams tend to get better and good teams tend to get worse. Wee.

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  6. Big Jgke says:

    “The Blue Jays should be able to look ahead to better health and fewer black holes. As much as theirs has been an offseason of inactivity, they should get better just by staying the same.”

    All this says to me is that Jays squandered a huge opportunity for improvement with their inability to add anyone. A team that is looking at a +8 win change just from projected health has no business standing pat.

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    • Mooser says:

      Offseason is not over yet. According to these projections adding Ervin Santana and Stephen Drew increases their WAR by about 3.5 wins. At 42.7 that puts them in the first wild card spot and right behind the Red Sox.

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      • ALZ says:

        It’s going to take more than that to make the Jays better than the Rays and Yankees.

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        • dc says:

          I fail to see how they are not atleast on par with the yankees now, if not better.

          Yankees infield is atrocious, on both sides of the ball.

          They have a better rotation, but unless CC finds fountain of youth or some stem cells, its avaerage at best.

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    • Cap'n Scrappy says:

      Maybe they blew their budget on Reyes, Dickey, and Buehrle last year? Yikes, you’d think that woulda bought them at least a year worth of good will even if it didn’t pan out.

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      • Big Jgke says:

        They are owned by one of the wealthiest media companies in North America, I think they can afford to pay, the problem is that they won’t.

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        • Richie says:

          Companies become wealthy by taking money in, not paying it out. They’ve got who knows how many quants figuring out what they should and shouldn’t spend money on.

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        • dc says:

          Rogers lets the Jays spend what they make, they aren’t going to give the team a blank check

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        • Jason B says:

          It’s not whether they can afford it, it’s a question of whether there’s anything worth spending on. In hindsight maybe spending huge sums on Mark Buerhle and company wasn’t the best use of resources. No need to go down that road again, just for the sake of spending because you can.

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  7. Anon says:

    Has anyone reviewed 2013 results vs projections from before the 2013 season? That would be a great topic.

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    • Roberto says:

      A quick study comparing 2013 games won to The Prediction Machine’s forecast found a correlation of 0.59, which is pretty good. Of course they did predict 22 too many wins for the White Sox, 19.2 too few for the Pirates, 16.5 too few for the Red Sox, 15.3 too many for the Angels, 15.2 too few for the Indians,and 13.5 too many wins for the Blue Jays.

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      • RC says:

        A quick study of 2012′s records correlating to 2013′s records gives me .578, so .59 is pretty terrible.

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        • RC says:

          And if I average together 2012 and 2011, and simply use that number as a projection for 2013, I get a correlation of .612.

          Basically, these projections aren’t telling us much, and that’s mostly (IMO) because they regress BABIP to league average, which washes out a lot of player skill that we know exists.

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    • Jayfan14 says:

      I don’t think Fangraphs Depthchart projections were available prior to the 2013 season opener. Found this on other projection systems.

      http://tangotiger.com/index.php/boards/viewthread/320/

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  8. Not Antoher Pun says:

    Is it possible to try to figure in what players coming up from the minors might contribute. It might not make a big difference but it could give a few teams a bit of boost (or a bust).

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  9. Mooser says:

    “I did have to make one adjustment, because right now the projected 2014 WARs add up to something well over 1,000.”

    If you simply adjusted every team down by the same amount to get 1000, that is penalizing very deep teams. Really, teams with a lot of holes are going to give away more plate appearances and innings to negative WAR players.

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  10. Jordan says:

    Just have to hope JBJ can come in and play good defense. His plate discipline is the big worry.

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  11. Forrest Gumption says:

    A’s don’t have the same SP depth? Their AAA rotation is headed by Tommy Milone and Drew Pomeranz!

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    • Mooser says:

      agree. more depth than any team in the AL West

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      • Cap'n Scrappy says:

        The As seem pretty thin in the infield, except at first. They already lack a decent second baseman and there’s not much behind Donaldson and Lowrie. Plenty of bullpen and OF depth, but Pomeranz and Milone wouldn’t make me feel that comfortable if I had to count on them for more than a dozen starts or so.

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        • Chris says:

          Interesting. I think most A’s fans would argue that they have good depth in the infield except 1B.

          The only real time there would be a problem is if they were down both Donaldson AND Lowrie. Callaspo is essentially the back-up 3B, and Sogard/Punto backing up at SS. Neither backup would perform to the level of Donaldon/Lowrie, but those were two of the top producing players at their respective positions last season.

          1B is the scary place to me, because Barton/Freiman are nowhere near the level of Moss, especially offensively. Barton can provide solid defense, but he isn’t an everyday player at this point and Freiman can only handle LHP. Not to mention that Moss is still essentially the 5th OF if things get bad injury-wise in the outfield.

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        • brendan says:

          @chris please don’t talk about ‘losing’ donaldson. He is the only star player on the roster! I’m counting on him for 5WAR, not expecting more than 3 from anyone else.

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    • I think I’m just blinded by last year’s team being able to just call up Sonny Gray.

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    • Boston Phan says:

      ZiPS and Steamer, on average, project Pomeranz for 0.3 WAR and Millone for 1.5 WAR. Perhaps that is better depth than many teams’ 6th and 7th starters but that is not the same depth as last year. Especially once Colon is subtracted out.

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  12. triple_r says:

    It pains me less to say they should be better for no longer having Delmon Young.

    It pains me more to say the Orioles should be worse, for the opposite reason.

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  13. rusty says:

    What about the teams with discrepancies between their 2013 record and 2013 WAR? Or is mixing sequencing luck with performance-vs-true-talent luck pushing things too far?

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  14. Kevin says:

    I got a problem with the “least improved” term. Not sure how to say it but if you get worse there’s zero improvment from the WAR perspective and they are all tied. I only point this out because any least improved list without the Cubs is a glaring omission. Considering they were terrible, had the most room to improve, and got worse I think they improved the least.

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    • Ian R. says:

      If one defines ‘improvement’ as ‘getting better,’ then getting worse, the opposite of better, is negative improvement. Negative improvement is less than no improvement at all, and more negative improvement is less than less negative improvement.

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  15. Cap'n Scrappy says:

    Surprised to see the royals on the list. Infante should be a big improvement at second and it’d be hard for moustakas and Escobar to be any worse than they were. I also don’t a lot of obvious candidates for negative regression on their team other than Guthrie and some of the bullpen.

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  16. If Nothing Else says:

    I’d expect the Red Sox to regress since the 2013 team as a whole had the highest BABIP of pretty much any team ever.

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    • Blount says:

      Yeah uh it wasn’t exactly a flukey sample size.

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      • Anon21 says:

        Nonethless, “best in history” is not likely to last. Use your common sense rather than shibboleths about sample size.

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      • Ian R. says:

        Sample size is relative in large part to how unusual the result is. If a whole team maintains a higher-than-average BABIP for a full year, there’s probably something to that. If a whole team maintains a historically high BABIP for a full year, they’re probably still good at getting hits on balls in play, but not that good. Regression is in order.

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  17. Yehuda Hamer says:

    I am not sure how the -8 for my Braves were calculated.

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    • larry says:

      lose Mac and Huddy, about 4 wins right there. Plus Meds, Minor and Teheran are all projected to put up less wins than last year. Include some Freeman and CJ regression and you gots -8.

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      • Yehuda Hamer says:

        You make some valid points

        Huddy’s ERA would be over 4 in my estimation. The other starters will probably have their ERA below 4, and their bullpen seems to be good.

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    • Wil says:

      Don’t worry about it to much, if Uggla and BJ don’t suck and Gattis is a decent replacement for McCann they should be pretty close to last year. Maybe they won’t win 96 games, but 90+ isn’t unrealistic.

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  18. Cookierojas16 says:

    but…but…Ruben Amaro Jr.!

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  19. 1991 Atlanta Braves says:

    Hi fellas!

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  20. james wilson says:

    The Red Sox lose 16 WAR? The organization could not get rid of Salty fast enough, will lose nothing with Bogaerts replacing Drew leaving only CF in question, and Ellsbury is always going to be a question whoever he plays for.

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    • Kogoruhn says:

      Saltalamacchia, Drew and Ellsbury combined for almost 13 WAR last year along with Victorino tying a career high in WAR, Koji Uehara posting a 3+ WAR season.

      It is not just about the players that the team lost / gained but also regressing players to a “true talent” level.

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    • Adam M says:

      The article isn’t arguing that Boston should have kept Salty, paid Ellsbury, and blocked Bogaerts with Drew. All it’s showing is that the Red Sox, like many of last season’s best teams, are projected to win fewer games this season. It’s regression to the mean. No projection model will forecast 30-somethings like Napoli and Victorino to sustain last season’s pace, or the new guys to produce the way Salty (3.6 fWAR), Drew (3.4 fWAR), and Ellsbury (5.8 fWAR) did. Certainly, any of those things could happen; even most of them could. But forecasting systems treat such possibilities as remote–as 90th percentile-type events.

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      • Felix says:

        Not seeing the Cards on that same list surprised me, considering they won the same number of regular season games as BOS did last year and everybody knows about their RISP regression that is sure to take place.

        Maybe I’m underestimating the Peralta > Kozma effect over a full season.

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        • Bad Bill says:

          It isn’t Peralta > Kozma. It’s Peralta >>>>>> Kozma.

          The current roster also is a big bullpen upgrade over the firebombs that started last season, and essentially every projection system in existence is a great deal more bullish about Matt Carpenter now than a year ago, although some regression from his actual 2013 performance is highly likely. Intuitively, I would have guessed that these things would just about exactly balance out the expected RISP regression and the loss of Beltran, so this finding doesn’t surprise me at all.

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        • ankle explosion hr celebration says:

          I think something that’s being missed here is that we’re forecasting WAR, not wins. RISP didn’t help them get extra WAR last year, it helped them overperform the WAR they did have and get extra wins. Similarly, while their RISP luck will probably disappear next year, the WAR will be unaffected (and the regression to the mean seems to be balanced out by Peralta+their young pitchers improving).

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      • Someanalyst says:

        Forecasting systems treat those possibilities as remote because that is what the historical data set supports. No amount of anecdotal observation will change that.

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  21. ankle explosion hr celebration says:

    so, I noticed (as others did) that most of the improved teams were the bad teams last year, and the de-improved (least improved) teams were the good teams last year.

    That’s classic regression to the mean, and there’s nothing wrong with another article highlighting how that works and how important it is.

    But with that said, it might also be interesting to produce another list, wherein you subtracted out regression to the mean (using perhaps historical averages–i.e. how much does a 90-win team in year N regress in year N+1).

    That might be illuminating in a different way, as it would suggest how much more or less improved teams would be relative to the regression we already expect. The hope would be that it would end up sort of a compact measurement of how much each team’s offseason transactions are expected to change the expected wins.

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  22. FANTASIA MCADDAMS says:

    FROOGITY FRUIT MUSH

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  23. Jimmer says:

    I’m curious as to how the Twins supposedly improved significantly, much less be considered in the top 10 for improvements. They did zero to improve the offense. One might argue they made it worse. They brought back one of the worse pitchers last year (Pelfrey) and added a bad pitcher in Hughes. Nolasco has been league average or above exactly once in the last 5 years.

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    • LHPSU says:

      The Twins improve significantly because even replacement level is better than whatever it was that they put in their rotation last year.

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      • Jimmer says:

        And that’s fine, but Pelfrey and Hughes are well below replacement level and Nolasco has only been better than replacement level once in the last five seasons.

        And then there’s the offense, which was ignored by Ryan this offseason.

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        • Andrew says:

          There are some things you aren’t considering and you are exaggerating when you say those players are well below replacement level.

          Now, I’m kind of newer to WAR. I prefer other stats over WAR. I’m down with FIP and all that, but WAR to me doesn’t always translate right so please correct me if I’m wrong. That I know of 0 WAR is what a replacement type player would put up.

          It’s completely impossible for Hughes, who put up 1.3 WAR last year, to be a “well below replacement level” pitcher. The only way it’s possible is if math has changed in recent years. 1.3 is more than 0. Same goes for Pelfrey at 2.1. They are not well below replacement level, they are above replacement level unless WAR stands for something else and math is now backwards. Again, correct me if I’m wrong, but I assume WAR is 0 for a replacement player since it’s how many wins a player puts up OVER his replacement. To me, the way the stat is named means it has to be 0 or less than 0.

          Now if you use BR instead, then Hughes was slightly below and so was Pelfrey…though for their careers they are both above 0. And personally, moving Hughes to a less HR ballpark will help him. I have no clue how much, but it will help him. I don’t expect an ace, but I expect somewhere near a 4 ERA. I’m more worried about Nolasco than Hughes because of the league switch.

          Now with the offense, I mostly agree with you, but you have to consider at least one thing. Willingham. He tore his knee one month into the season. He then played on the torn knee for the next two months. He finally had surgery and his mechanics were still messed up from trying to play through the injury. I watched his swing a lot and it was just not there like it used to be. In all, Willingham was probably health for approximately 2-3 months last year. I’m not saying he’ll put up 2012 numbers because that’s very unlikely (it was unlikely even in 2012), but to think that Willingham is the player he was last year playing on a torn knee? I think they’ll get a much better player this year. That alone, huge boost to the lineup.

          The Twins offense last year felt like Dozier and Mauer only. Then Mauer was concussed for a month and a half so they lost their best player. CF is still up in the air. Arcia may be up for the full year. If he puts up the same numbers over a 162 season…another boost. If Dozier is the same guy he was from May on then he’s a top 5 2B, which to me seems crazy to say but I’m pretty sure he was close to that last year even after a horrible April.

          But, like I said, I do mostly agree with you with the offense. They did need to improve that as well and they didn’t. But with that being said, I didn’t find many of the position players on the FA market to be worth it. I’d still go get Stephen Drew, but everyone else was pretty meh.

          There are a lot of if’s and such, but the Twins are better and five wins better is easy to find when you really look at it. To say Hughes/Nolasco aren’t tons better than Albers/Hernandez/De Vries/Hendriks/Walters etc is a pretty huge mistake. You’re giving too much credit to the AAA/AAAA guys and not enough to the MLB guys.

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    • MLB Rainmaker says:

      You need to acquaint yourself with the sort function in the “Leaders” tab of this fine website.

      Go ahead, lets try — Leaders>Team Stats>Pitching>Starters, now sort descending by team ERA. See how that works — HURRAY STATS!

      Just to check you answer — team ERA for Twins starters was 5.26 for 2013, a full 0.45 more than the next worse team. Nolasco and Hughes alone are projected to produce more WAR than the entire rotation did last year.

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      • Jimmer says:

        Snide comments don’t do any good. Not sure what I wrote to deserve them. I have zero issue looking up stats.

        In any event, looking at the roster from last year to this year, there’s barely any improvement. That’s the point. Most of the other teams in the division improved.

        On top of that, the same thing was said abut the Twins rotation after LAST offseason’s changes in the rotation when they brought in Pelfrey, Correia and Worley…and where did that get the Twins?

        I don’t see much change at all. I get the WAR part and the projections, and I like those, but once those pitchers start pitching with the Twins D behind them, reality is going to be a real pain…

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. rubesandbabes says:

    WAR as a backbone for this type of predictive article is useless. It doesn’t help. WAR reduces fan understanding under the guise of really ‘getting’ what’s happening on the field. And then reducing all baseball performance to a number between 1 and 8. F’ing dull.

    2013 Detroit Tigers Pitching 29.3 WAR, 624 Runs Allowed.

    2013 Oakland A’s Pitching 16.4 WAR, 625 Run Allowed.

    How am I to look at any article propping a team’s offseason based on how many WAR added?

    WAR is a counting stat that doesn’t work at all, even before one gets to the main inconvenience to WAR which is the last hour of the game. Imagining dollar values pinned to WAR is failed alchemy.

    Repeat:

    2013 Detroit Tigers Pitching 29.3 WAR, 624 Runs Allowed.

    2013 Oakland A’s Pitching 16.4 WAR, 625 Run Allowed.

    You were saying?

    “WAR is still the most important blah blah blah…”

    -9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jon L. says:

      The Oakland Coliseum is an extreme pitchers’ park. Comerica is an excellent hitters’ park. Not to mention a little thing called defense that moderates the ability of pitchers to limit runs.

      “I count runs equally regardless of context because I don’t understand anything written about baseball in the last decade.”

      Repeat, if you like.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • chief00 says:

      But it isn’t really “failed alchemy”, though, is it. While it isn’t perfect, WAR represents a genuine advance in the statistical analysis of baseball. It’s helped people not named Ruben Amaro, Jr. identify a problem with the assumption that a pitcher giving up three runs in Chavez Ravine has exactly the same value as a pitcher giving up three runs in Fenway or Wrigley. Heck, Chavez Ravine can even make Capuano look better than average.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jason B says:

      Gee, your one stat that you like to keep repeating (with no understanding of why it worked out that way, as Jon points out) sure delegitimized WAR in a hurry. Well done.

      *rolls eyes*

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • RC says:

      “2013 Detroit Tigers Pitching 29.3 WAR, 624 Runs Allowed.

      2013 Oakland A’s Pitching 16.4 WAR, 625 Run Allowed.

      You were saying?

      You seem to be ignoring Park Effects, and defense.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. Angelsjunky says:

    The Angels won 78 games in 2013 and are projected by ZIPs to win 84 in 2014. How does that translate into no gain or loss in WAR? Was their WAR total last year “really” an 84-win season this year?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. Plaz says:

    How do I look up the 2013 WAR total for each team that was used as the comparison? Just looking up the WAR total on the team page does not correlate to the total used, neither does summing up position by position WAR for the team. Thanks.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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