My writings about baseball, with a strong statistical & machine learning slant.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Team Pitching Projections (III: Tampa Bay Rays)

In projecting the Rays' staff, my VORP projections and those implied by CHONE's ERA and IP projections are mostly in agreement. The full set of individual projections is here.

The Rays were 14th in pitcher VORP last year, and both systems expect them to stay a little above average this year. The Rays don't have an elite #1 starter, but their top two starters, James Shields and Matt Garza, project to be the 20th and 37th most valuable in MLB according to my system (or 14th and 34th most valuable according to CHONE).

As I wrote in the averages section, the Rays have the most valuable 6th-15th pitchers of all the teams that I looked at. They have six legitimate starting pitchers (if you count Andy Sonnanstine), and a deep bullpen. To paraphrase what I wrote there, I project the Rays to get 66.6 VORP from the pitchers on their opening day roster, not including the five most valuable pitchers. That is 18 more runs than the Yankees, and 36 more runs than the Red Sox. The average projection for the teams I looked at is 39.8 VORP, so the Rays get 27 runs (about 3 wins) more from the secondary pitchers on their major league roster than does the average team. This is similar to me saying that the Rays' staff depth is worth 3 wins, without taking any account for their depth in AAA. The Rays' top five is average, but the depth of their pitching staff makes their pitchers collectively as valuable as the Red Sox' pitchers, and only a little less valuable than the Yankees' pitchers.

The Rays' most intriguing projection is Wade Davis. He came up last year after Scott Kazmir was traded and threw very well in a small number of innings (over six starts). His 3.72 ERA in 36 IP was impressive, but his 2.90 FIP was even more impressive than that (although the 3.54 xFIP makes you wonder about that low HR rate).

In any case, my projection system is buying his performance, and projecting him for a 3.98 ERA, although it is cautiously predicting only 100IP in playing time. CHONE is buying his spot in the starting rotation, projecting 159IP (more than David Price and the same as Jeff Neimann), but projects a 4.58 ERA. Total value projected is about the same, but I'm curious to see how Davis actually performs. He wasn't exactly lights out in AAA (3.90 FIP over 200IP in 2008-2009), but his success at the major league level has got to mean something. The Rays seem to be willing to give him a chance. Let's see what he makes of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment