ZIPS Starting Pitcher Projections
First of all, I am in the camp that Sean Burnett will be our 5th starter out of spring training until the organization says absolutely, positively, Snell or someone else is the 5th.
I happened to buzz by The Baseball Think Factory and gobbled up their new 2006 ZIPS projections for the Pirates today: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org
*puts on the optimisim rally hat*
After running a few quick numbers through the calc, I came across one very significant projection.. using Duke, Perez, Wells, Maholm, and Burnett as the starting 5, they project out with a 2.02 K/BB rate.
I ran to go get Bill James predictions to see how they matched up but, unfortunately, James didn’t project out Burnett or Maholm. But, for Wells, Duke, and Perez, the total was very much the same.. 2.04.
So, I went to work and dug even further using the new wave tango master Dips 3.0 beta version (j/k tango) to see what would come of it all and, sure enough, 2.01.. again.
The Pirates haven’t had a 2.00+ K/BB ratio staff with low ERA’s since Schmidt and Lieber days in 1998 (they lost 93 too – but not because of the arms they had).
The projection of 2.00+ was significantly higher than I thought possible from a starting rotation where 3 of the 5 guys have never thrown more than 85 innings in the bigs, and another hasn’t thrown more than 103 innings since 2004.
Well, I dug a bit further.. of the 9 NL teams last year that had a 2.00 K/BB ratio or better, the combined winning percentage of those teams was (are you sitting down?)… .519. Three of the 9 teams were small market teams.. the Pads, Marlins, and Brewers.
Bill James and ZIPS projected these starters to average almost 6 IP per game and allow only 2.8 ER over 134 games. Not bad.
Now, I’m adding like crazy to get the projected W/L record and I can’t believe what I am coming up with.. a .472 winning percentage. What the..???
Ready to choke??
These same 5 starters are projected to go 44 – 49 over the 134 games.
Huh? With the great pen we have??
*pulls off rally cap and stomps on it*
Well, needless to say, that was where the fun ended. As I continued to dig thru all of the projection systems, I quickly came to the realization that nobody, not one projection system, gave any value whatsoever to our projected offensive lineup. However, the 2006 PECOTA projections at Baseball Prospectus aren’t out yet, so there is still hope.
Other than Bay and Casey that shoot off the map, the projections are horrible:
– Burnitz: .240/.311/.412 with 10 HR in 541 AB
– Castillo: .277/.325/.394 in 437 AB
– J Wilson: .272/.314/.395 in 628 AB
– Doumit: .264/.327/.424 in 387 AB
– Randa: .277/.332/.440 in 534 AB
– Duffy: .287/.338/.384 in 484 AB
There are some good projections, as..
– Craig Wilson projects out at .266/.363/.484 with 20 HRs, but, unfortunately, he will seemingly be sitting on the bench or traded;
– Nate McLouth projects out at .283/.343/.406 in 508 AB and even manages 9 HR (as I look back at Burnitz’s numbers). But, he too will be on the bench or in AAA.
– Eldred projects out at .250/.300/.502 with 32 HR in 476 AB, but he’ll be in AAA ..as he should be.
But, you know, for about 45 minutes there, I actually found something to hope for this year.. a memory refresher, if you will, of the powerful 70′s, we are family, rah-rah, feel good stuff.
It faded fast.
Linear weights, Base Runs, UZR, Dial, PECOTA, FIPS, DIPS, CHIPS, ZIPS, and LIPS, all agree..
..the Pirates are going to pitch their way to an 85 – 90 L season next year unless this org finds a way to pick up some offensive talent to go with the arms.