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   1. John DiFool2 Posted: March 08, 2007 at 04:50 PM (#2308754)
There's so many things wrong with your comparisons...

Number One: you are comparing pitchers in terms of their careers, when it should be in terms of their most recent seasons. Schilling's comp list only has a meager
handful who are truly comparable in their most recent seasons; otherwise you have guys like Candelaria, who was a washed-up LOOGY by 39, or Charlie Root, who wasn't
a strikeout pitcher. Schill is probably tied with Smoltz with the best age 39 season on that list. Papelbon pitched in relief last year so naturally his comps will
be relievers who didn't throw 200 innings. I'd compare Wakes to the other quality knucklers of the last 40 years, not the likes of Scott Sanderson. And your system
breaks down the most when Clement figures to be the guy who will throw the most innings, when we know that isn't going to be true at all.

Get back to us when you come up with a list of guys who are comparable in recent seasons, not over a career.
   2. Toby Posted: March 08, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2308764)
John: I'm not trying to pass this off as a projection system. It's a crude toy. I thought I was pretty clear about this. There are a gazillion things wrong with the comparisons; the Matsuzaka one isn't even based on Matsuzaka.

Yes, I did invite you to tell me how wrong I am, but you don't really need to do that. I know how wrong I am. I'd rather see the numbers that you think are right, and the numbers that other people think are right.

This is not a preview; it's a preview thread.
   3. Kyle S Posted: March 08, 2007 at 05:31 PM (#2308788)
Matsuzaka: 210 IP, 3.60 ERA, 180 K, 55 BB
Schilling: 190 IP, 3.95 ERA, 170 K, 45 BB
Beckett: 205 IP, 4.00 ERA, 180 K, 70 BB
Papelbon: 180 IP, 4.15 ERA, 165 K, 50 BB
Wakefield: 150 IP, 4.50 ERA, 110 K, 65 BB
   4. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 08, 2007 at 05:48 PM (#2308808)
Schilling 190 IP, 4.00 ERA
Matsuzaka 190 IP, 3.80 ERA
Beckett 180 IP, 4.30 ERA
Papelbon 170 IP, 4.20 ERA
Wakefield 180 IP, 4.60 ERA
Lester 50 IP, 4.80 ERA
Chaff 50 IP, 5.50 ERA

~775 runs allowed as a staff.

Or something.
   5. JB H Posted: March 08, 2007 at 06:07 PM (#2308829)
Coulple things..

- Adjusting for defense, park effects and league effects, the "league average" ERA for a Red Sox pitcher could very well be north of 5 this year. Nobody's winning a Cy Young on this team unless they get 25 wins. Kyle S's projections basically call for a Santana, three Roy Oswalts and a Barry Zito.

- I really don't get why this team's starting pitching health would be a question mark. Matsuzaka, Schilling and Beckett all seem more likely than the average SP to be healthy all year. Papelbon and Wakefield less likely, but they don't exactly have shredded labrums. Lester is less likely but who knows by just how much. They seem a little ahead of the pack to me.
   6. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 08, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2308834)
Just for sake of argument, here is what would have constituted an ERA+ of 100 for the Sox for the last couple of years:

2006: 4.63
2005: 4.46
2004: 4.87

Obviously there's a fair bit of variaiton in there, but it would seem that something like Joe C.'s prediction is a lot more likely than Kyle's (unless, of course, Kyle was adjusting for such things.)
   7. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 08, 2007 at 06:49 PM (#2308868)
My predictions are admittedly back of the envelope, but I was working on the assumption of a Red Sox ERA+ of 100 corresponding to an ERA of about 4.60.

ERA+
Schilling 113
Dice-K 117
Beckett 106
Papelbon 109
Wakefield 100
   8. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 08, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2308871)
Criminy, Toby.

You're basically saying everyone will get hurt except Matsusaka and Clement. I think that highly unlikely.

If Clement puts up anywhere near the number of innings you have him at, I will be stunned.


RTF intro. I agree that Toby's analysis doesn't really tell us anything, other than perhaps to underline the uncertainty that goes into predicting how pitchers will perform, but he's also pretty clear about this upfront, especially w/r/t Clement.
   9. Mister High Standards Posted: March 08, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2308873)
I'll take the under on Papelbons ERA relative to every post thus far.
   10. dave h Posted: March 08, 2007 at 07:05 PM (#2308878)
I agree that Toby is up front about the quality of the projections in the intro, but given that, what's the point? I think you'd be just as well of as guessing, and of course there are better projections that you could stick up there without too much trouble. All that being said, Joe C's projections look reasonable as averages (though I'm probably a little more optimistic). However, I'd expect in any given season there will be some underperforming and some overachieving players. So - maybe someone up into the higher 4's (or even 5's - ugh) and another down into the 3's, or low 3 even (one can always hope). I don't know what else they could have done with the rotation this year, and I'm quite happy with it in March. Should be fun to watch if nothing else, someone mentioned in another thread that there's not a bad draw in the bunch.
   11. Toby Posted: March 08, 2007 at 07:06 PM (#2308880)
Not at all, kevin. I'm just saying, here's one way you can look at it.

So what do I think *will* happen? I think the pitching is going to be very good if healthy, and I think they are going to be reasonably healthy.

Here, by the way, is Ian Browne's take on mlb.com, for what it's worth.

I said in an earlier thread that I think, in terms of value, Matsuzaka > Schilling > Wakefield, and I don't know where to slot Beckett and Papelbon. Well, let me make an educated guess, since everyone seems to be mistaking my lead-in as my educated guess.

Matsuzaka is clearly the cream of the crop. We have every reason to believe he will be quite good. I stand by the numbers I predicted for him, though the ERA may be a bit optimistic.

Schilling I expect to come in about where he came in last year, 3.97 ERA in 204 IP, but let's call it 4.10 ERA in 180 IP. He's not getting any younger, he's reportedly not in as good a shape as in past years. On the plus side, he is pitching for a contract.

Wake gave us 140 IP at 4.63 ERA, he's also not getting any younger, but he had a cracked rib that he doesn't have any more. He's averaged 200 IP a year for his career; I give him 160 IP at 4.70 ERA.

Beckett I expect to be pretty good, a return to his days with an ERA+ of 110 or more. But I think to repeat his 205 IP is optimistic. Let's call it 4.10 ERA in 180 IP, or the same as Schill.

Papelbon is really hard to project, but let's ponder this. If you took his 7 ER in 68 IP and added in another close-to-league-average 53 ER in 102 IP, you get 60 ER in 170 IP. That works out to an ERA of 3.18. That's still awesome. Bump it up to 3.50 in 170 IP and I'm comfortable with that.

Lester is also really hard to project, but I'll guess he can improve on last year. I'm going to put him down for 100 IP and 4.20. I think he'll pitch more innings than that this year, but they'll be for Pawtucket.
   12. Toby Posted: March 08, 2007 at 07:30 PM (#2308890)
My sense is that Sox fans are erring on the side of optimism this year, especially with respect to the pitching. Maybe that's true of every spring training, but this year seems to be a little moreso. There are several factors at work here. Two of them are:

1. The Media. For whatever reason, the Sox beat writers have been pouring it on thick about how great new pitching coach John Farrell is and, to a lesser extent, how great new bullpen coach Gary Tuck is.

2. Last year was horrible. The turning point, feelgood-wise, came when we got the news that Papelbon was actually okay, he had not blown out his shoulder. Before that, the sense was that all the news about the pitching was horrible. Since then, all the news about the pitching has been great, from Lester's recovery to getting Dice-K and on and on.

I had a thread the other week about irrational exuberance. I think we still have some irrational exuberance at work. The pessimistic numbers in my intro were to sort of serve as a counterpoint to that, remind us that bad things can happen even to good pitching rotations.

This could be the best rotation in baseball. I will be shocked if it is not among the best. But if it's not among the best, it will because of health -- quantity of innings -- rather than quality of innings.

And I do think there are health issues. Papelbon and Lester are both being carefully watched by doctors. Beckett has had blister problems in the past. There is a lot of mileage on Matsuzaka's arm. Schilling and Wake are 40. So, yes, there are health issues. More than most rotations? Probably not.
   13. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 08, 2007 at 10:03 PM (#2309020)
I agree that there's probably more optimism than usual about the rotation this year, if only from the hype surrounding Matsuzaka and the promise shown by Papelbon last year. Nonetheless, if they can stay relatively healthy and avoid losing 2 or more starters for long periods, I think they should be one of the better rotations.

The real question is though, is the Red Sox rotation better than the Yankees?

Schilling/Matsuzaka/Beckett/Papelbon/Wakefield
Mussina/Wang/Pettite/Igawa/Pavano (is this the Yankees rotation? I'm honestly not sure)

I'll call the first 2 starters even, I think Petitte may have a slightly better year than Beckett, but I think Papelbon/Wakefield will be better than Igawa/Pavano. The Red Sox probably have fewer injury concerns than the Yankees, but it's close, and the Yankees have the edge in 6th starter, with Hughes over a recovering-from-cancer Lester. Overall, I think the Red Sox rotation is better than the Yankees', as it needs to be, but it's close, and Hughes is a wild card. If he contributes significant innings and lives up to the hype, then the Yankees may be even.
   14. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: March 09, 2007 at 01:00 AM (#2309148)
ERA+
Schilling 113
Dice-K 117
Beckett 106
Papelbon 109
Wakefield 100


5 Above average starters?

Lolz
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:12 AM (#2309176)
1. The Media. For whatever reason, the Sox beat writers have been pouring it on thick about how great new pitching coach John Farrell is and, to a lesser extent, how great new bullpen coach Gary Tuck is.

2. Last year was horrible. The turning point, feelgood-wise, came when we got the news that Papelbon was actually okay, he had not blown out his shoulder. Before that, the sense was that all the news about the pitching was horrible. Since then, all the news about the pitching has been great, from Lester's recovery to getting Dice-K and on and on.
I feel a bit like #2 undercuts #1. That is, the "news about the pitching has been great." That's objectively true - they signed Matsuzaka! Papelbon is healthy! Lester is healthy! - and as such, that's why the beat writers are pouring it on thick about the pitching. It really is thick, and pouring it is the responsible reportorial act given the facts on the ground.

Now, you can make the case, maybe, that things were so bad last year that all this good news is being overblown because even though the Sox have improved over the baseline, they haven't improved that much. Maybe. But that's a quite specific case, one which requires, in my opinion, more argumentation than the citation of career similarity scores.

I think the starting pitching is objectively awesome. I think the Red Sox are way ahead of the Yankees (Schilling + Matsuzaka >> Mussina + Wang) on that score. I think so because that's basically what the major projection systems say, and because I think Papelbon is going to be one of the ten best starters in the league in 2006, given reasonable health. So, that's where I'm coming from. Toby disagrees, which is cool. I'm just saying that I haven't found much, in the discussion of what he thinks calls into question such optimism, that does call into question my optimism.
   16. Darren Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:21 AM (#2309182)
Here's my guess:

Schilling 200 IP, 4.02 ERA
Beckett 195 IP, 4.20 ERA
Matsuzaka 190 IP, 3.55 ERA
Wakefield, 200 IP, 4.30 ERA
Papelbon, 175 IP, 3.92 ERA

Now, I think each of these represents a pretty good guess what each player will do individually (maybe a bit optimistic on Pap and a bit pessimistic on Schil). However, I think there's an excellent chance that one of them miss a pretty big chunk of time. The way I'd account for this is my little preseason CFBPS spreadsheet is by subtracting 10 percent from their total and giving it replacement level dreck from the minors. Unfortunately, I think that's what Lester will be this year, considering his mediocre peripherals last year and his obvious health hurdles.

For all the optimism going around here, I think people are possibly underestimating Wakefield. From looking at other knuckleballers, these guys are generally in their prime from ages 39-41, IIRC. Here are some of the recent examples (pitchers, ERA+ for age 38, 39, 40):

Hough, 114, 118, 123
P Neikro, 111, 140, 120
J Neikro, 98, 110, 91
Candiotti, 86, 108, 94

These guys were all pretty healthy too. As pointed out above, Wakefield put up a 100 ERA+ in 140 IP with a cracked rib last year. This year, that won't be the case and his numbers are likely to be a lot more like his 04/05, where he averaged 200 above average innings.
   17. villageidiom Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:23 AM (#2309186)
Given the numbers in Toby's intro and the ensuing discussion, I'd like to reiterate what I'd said in the "vision" for these preview threads. Let's project full-health performance in each of the threads, and save the health questions (and the relevant organizational depth to withstand health issues) for a separate thread. I think we can come up with a more reasonable projection of the impact of team health if we look at the subject on its own.
   18. Darren Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:29 AM (#2309187)
Is it even plausible to try to remove health from a pitching projection? If I were to try, it would look something like:

Schilling 230 IP, 4.02 ERA
Beckett 215 IP, 4.20 ERA
Matsuzaka 230 IP, 3.55 ERA
Wakefield, 220 IP, 4.30 ERA
Papelbon, 210 IP, 3.92 ERA

It seems silly to put those numbers forward, knowing that I don't think they have any real chance of happening. My vote would be to address the health in each thread.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:29 AM (#2309188)
Unfortunately, I think that's what Lester will be this year, considering his mediocre peripherals last year and his obvious health hurdles.
I'm quite skeptical about Lester this year, too, but I sorta disagree with the above. I mean, as you note ("obvious health hurdles") the dude had cancer last year. His mediocre peripherals were, at least to some degree, a function of cancer. I tend to just throw out Lester's numbers from 2006. (Has there been any specific reporting of when the cancer "started", for the sake of us statnerds who need to know which numbers to regress and how far to regress them? Hasn't his oncologist thought of the people who are really affected by this situation?)

Regardless, Lester's only working in the high 80s right now, and by all reports he was 5-10 pounds underweight entering camp. He's not going to be in playing shape before midsummer, in the best scenario.
   20. Darren Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2309192)
Matt,

You make me laugh. I was worried that your epiphany the other day in the Cameron thread meant I wouldn't see around here much. Glad to see it didn't take.

Maybe you're right about 06, but I'm guessing that 07's going to be similar as he tries to round back into shape. I hope he puts it all together by July, I'm just not counting on it. High 80s is better than I thought he'd be.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:49 AM (#2309195)
Given the numbers in Toby's intro and the ensuing discussion, I'd like to reiterate what I'd said in the "vision" for these preview threads. Let's project full-health performance in each of the threads, and save the health questions (and the relevant organizational depth to withstand health issues) for a separate thread. I think we can come up with a more reasonable projection of the impact of team health if we look at the subject on its own.
I don't see why. Starting pitching is pretty analytically separable from the rest of the team. Not entirely - the quality of starting pitching is not entirely separable from defense and relief pitching, arguably not from offense either - but for the sake of discussion, it's a pretty good topic.

Health, on the other hand, is wildly heterogeneous. The health questions surrounding JD Drew are completely different from the health questions around Li'l Papi, or Wakefield, or Donnelly, or Big Papi - I could go on. The point is, health is an integral part of an individual player's projection, and it impacts on the individual player in specific ways that aren't really generalizable to the entire team. I agree with Darren - it feels artificial to do "health" separately, and I'd rather integrate it into our analyses of different parts of the team.
   22. John DiFool2 Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:54 AM (#2309198)
ERA+
Schilling 113
Dice-K 117
Beckett 106
Papelbon 109
Wakefield 100

5 Above average starters?

Lolz


Yep. It's the old Devil's Theory of park effects. The
Sox pitching last year appeared to stink so badly
they went out and got the best guy on the market (that
he's from Japan is pretty much irrelevant). Add him to
4 other guys who appear to range from average to good
and you have quite a rotation (absent injuries of course).

If the Sox were the Dodgers they probably don't sign
Dice-K, thinking their pitching was already pretty good.
   23. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 09, 2007 at 03:45 AM (#2309216)
I don't think it's a given that Schilling/Matsuzaka >> Mussina/Wang. Despite the uniqueness of his low ERA given his peripherals, I'm going to give credit where credit's due to Wang's very good 2006. I thought there was no way he would have a decent season last year, so I'm properly chastened and giving him, perhaps underservedly, the benefit of the doubt. Matsuzaka, on the other hand, hasn't pitched in MLB yet, and while I expect him to be awesome, Wang had a 121 ERA+, which is better than many project for Matsuzaka. Mussina had a better season last year, with a 125 ERA+ to Schilling's 116. Given Mussina's excellent peripherals last year, I don't think we can expect Schilling to be much better. Of course, one might accuse me of overweighting last year's stats, and one would be probably be right, but while I feel the pull of MCA's optimism, I can't quite let myself go there yet.


2007 Zips
ERA
Mussina - 3.91
Wang - 4.28

Schilling - 3.98
Matsuzaka - ????
   24. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 09, 2007 at 03:53 AM (#2309220)
5 Above average starters?

Lolz


Okay, Wok, now sure,m once the season starts, someone gets gurt or is ineffective - one (or more) of those guys ends up below average, while maybe one (or more) other beat the projection I listed. Still, those are projections - expected values. Tell me, which one of these is wildly out of line?

Schilling 113
Dice-K 117
Beckett 106
Papelbon 109
Wakefield 100
   25. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 09, 2007 at 03:54 AM (#2309222)
gurt. Yowza!
   26. villageidiom Posted: March 09, 2007 at 04:19 AM (#2309230)
Here's what I'm thinking:
            IP   ERA+
Schilling  220   115 
Matsuzaka  215   140 
Beckett    195   110 
Papelbon   175   120 
Wakefield  200   100 
First, to explain the IP's... I'm expecting Francona to do his usual thing of stopping everyone around 100 pitches in good outings. He used to make an exception for Schilling back when he was healthy, and I expect the same this year... but I'm also expecting he'll make an exception on Matsuzaka, and let him go past 100 as the season goes on. Dock 'em each a few IP for bad outings, and Papelbon a few more because I don't expect him to pitch efficiently in his return to the rotation. (More P/PA) + (constant P/G) = (fewer PA/G).

For the ERA+, working from the bottom up...

I don't see why we can't expect 100 ERA+ out of Wakefield if we assume full health.

I share MCA's optimism on Papelbon.

Based on comments through the offseason and into spring training, and on his performance late last year, I think there's enough reason to believe Beckett has learned some lessons; given his propensity for HR last year I think even small improvements will lead to relatively big gains.

I see enough parallels between young Pedro and Matsuzaka (multiple "plus" pitches, big-league fastball, very deceptive changeup) that I simply plucked Pedro's age-26 year and dialed it down a bit. Yes, I realize that it would mean he'd be better than every player not named Santana (and two players who are).

I think Schilling would have had a 120 last year, maybe more, had they still been in contention at the end. (And had he not had no-star defense playing behind him.) I'm taking him down a little from there, with age and "walk year" doing a tug-of-war. I think he's roughly a #2 starter now, not a top-ten pitcher (not even top ten in the AL) but still very effective.

Normally I do projections by player and then compare the rolled-up result to last year's team result as a reasonability check. But so many things went wrong with the Red Sox last year that even the most reasonable projections amount to vast improvements for nearly the whole roster. Taking a different approach... The above rolls up to a 117 ERA+ for the rotation. The Tigers' starting staff was in that neighborhood last year. Much of the gain for the Sox comes from health (for which we'll assign demerits later) and two great pitchers being added. Given that, I'm comfortable with 117.
   27. Kyle S Posted: March 09, 2007 at 05:27 AM (#2309250)
sorry... i'm such a red sox fanboy that i forgot how high the average AL east era in fenway is. i ain't used to adjusting for that. :)

anyway, i'll stick by my guns. i think the sox are in good shape as far as starting pitching goes. i think their bullpen will be awful, but they should still win 90 games easily, and 95 games with a few lucky breaks.
   28. villageidiom Posted: March 09, 2007 at 05:30 AM (#2309253)
The point is, health is an integral part of an individual player's projection, and it impacts on the individual player in specific ways that aren't really generalizable to the entire team. I agree with Darren - it feels artificial to do "health" separately, and I'd rather integrate it into our analyses of different parts of the team.


Yes, but:

(1) There's a big difference between "150 IP because he'll get hurt" and "150 IP because he'll suck". The former is solved by plugging in your best available starter for a month, the latter by asking your bullpen - and probably the worst pitchers therein - to bear the brunt. If it's considered all at once, you just get 150 IP. To project team performance I'd rather be able to differentiate.

(2) I think it's easier to assess health risk at the overall level (e.g. the rotation will lose 150 IP of 115-125 ERA+ to the DL) than at the individual level. One person may think Schilling will be healthy but Papelbon won't; another might think the opposite. Individual projections will vary greatly, but in the end the team impact doesn't vary nearly as much. Looking for a consensus view, I figured I'd save everyone the effort of haggling on the individual health now, and wait until we discuss team health later. There are pretty significant questions about how everyone will perform if healthy as it is.

(3) I think it makes sense to discuss team health - which affects quantity of starters moreso than quality of starters - alongside matters of organizational depth. YMMV.

It feels artificial to do it this way because it is artificial; past numbers have health intertwined with performance. But at the same time that it feels artificial, it feels completely natural to say, "I think Papelbon is going to be one of the ten best starters in the league in 2006, given reasonable health." We easily separate health projections from performance projections all the time; I'm just suggesting we formalize it here for consistency's sake.
   29. villageidiom Posted: March 09, 2007 at 05:54 AM (#2309259)
One more thing... I want to emphasize that we can still discuss impact of individual health when we discuss team health, just as much as we can discuss individual starters in the "rotation" thread. You have to, or else the discussions of organizational depth don't work.

And there's room to consider holistic impacts. The impact of losing JD Drew, for example, is a pretty big hit to the defense if WMP takes over; the impact of losing Schilling is a burden on the bullpen if the replacement starter can't go more than 5 IP/G. We can consider the impact of Schilling's health on Schilling's numbers pretty easily in the rotation thread but it's also intertwined with who replaces him and how that affects the other components of the team.

I guess the way I'd sum it up is that dealing with it in a one-dimensional way will pick up the variance, but not the covariance. I'd rather consider both at the same time.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 09, 2007 at 06:27 AM (#2309270)
It feels artificial to do it this way because it is artificial; past numbers have health intertwined with performance. But at the same time that it feels artificial, it feels completely natural to say, "I think Papelbon is going to be one of the ten best starters in the league in 2006, given reasonable health." We easily separate health projections from performance projections all the time; I'm just suggesting we formalize it here for consistency's sake.
This is just about the furthest thing in the world from a big deal, but...

What you seem to be asking is that I write, "I think Papelbon is going to be one of the ten best starters in the league in 2006." But I don't think that! I think that he will be, if his shoulder holds up. I can only discuss Papelbon for 2007 in the context of his shoulder.

Anyway, regardless. Schilling and Mussina look pretty even to me, but I'll take Matsuzaka over Wang without a second thought, and I'll take odds.

I don't look forward to the other threads, where I'll have to be a calm and moderate voice of reason, even to the point of being a massive downer about the bullpen. I much prefer the starting pitching thread. This is way more fun.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 09, 2007 at 06:33 AM (#2309271)
One way of looking at things for the Sox pitching in general, that I think is instructive. A complete amateur's list of the best fastballs on the Red Sox:

1) Jonathan Papelbon
2) Daisuka Matsuzaka
3) Curt Schilling
4) Josh Beckett
5) Donnelly, I guess
6) Maybe Okajima, or Hansen if healthy
7) Timlin

How many teams have four pitchers in the rotation who absolutely blow their relievers out of the water in terms of stuff? It's just as much a statement about hte bullpen as about the rotation, admittedly, but I think it does point to just how special this rotation looks right now.
   32. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 09, 2007 at 06:37 AM (#2309274)
I think maybe it would be a good idea to make Wakefield the "closer" again at mid-season, once Lester has had a good first half at Pawtucket and Pinero has sucked for three months. The mediots would either love it or hate it more than anything, making for lots of laughs all around. Or if Beckett sucks again, make him the "closer."
   33. villageidiom Posted: March 09, 2007 at 02:28 PM (#2309326)
What you seem to be asking is that I write, "I think Papelbon is going to be one of the ten best starters in the league in 2006." But I don't think that! I think that he will be, if his shoulder holds up. I can only discuss Papelbon for 2007 in the context of his shoulder.


I'm not asking you to withhold comment on his shoulder. I'm asking you to differentiate between what you'd think we would do healthy vs. what his health issues will be. (And you've already done that.) I'm also emphasizing that we'll discuss the latter part later, so it doesn't have to be brought up now. Nothing wrong with bringing it up now, as long as we can differentiate.

I also think there are enough legitimate questions on performance alone - will Papelbon adjust to starting again? will Matsuzaka adjust to MLB? will Beckett finally adjust to the AL? will the geezers' age drag down their performance? - that mixing in health issues will muddy-up the answers for those questions.
   34. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: March 09, 2007 at 05:29 PM (#2309445)
Charlie Root, who wasn't
a strikeout pitcher


Charley Root <u>was</u> a strikeout pitcher.

Pardon the interjection. Carry on with your discussion.
   35. tfbg9 Posted: March 09, 2007 at 08:26 PM (#2309577)
Matsuzaka went 16-5 with a 2.60 ERA as an 18YO in the Japanese Pacific Leauge. Not bad.
   36. tfbg9 Posted: March 09, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2309583)
ERA+'s, IP:
Matsuzaka 175 200
Schilling 105 180
Beckett 119 180
Papelbon 140 150
Wakefield 100 175
Lester 100 100
Snyder 90 75
The Ball-less, Half-Male Eunuch 95 50
   37. cal Posted: March 09, 2007 at 10:48 PM (#2309729)
I have to ask. Who is the "Ball-less, Half-Male Eunuch?" Tavares?
   38. chris p Posted: March 09, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2309736)
Charley Root was a strikeout pitcher.

for the first half of his career. not so much as he got older.
   39. John DiFool2 Posted: March 09, 2007 at 11:01 PM (#2309742)
Charley Root was a strikeout pitcher.

Pardon the interjection. Carry on with your discussion.


Late in his career he wasn't: 74 in 178 innings, 70/160, 65/167.
Even adjusting for era effects that isn't even close to Schill's
183 in 204 (2006).

Overall point being the guys on the comp list are almost all
worse than Schilling at the same age, in many cases much worse,
such that they aren't comparable at all.
   40. PJ Martinez Posted: March 09, 2007 at 11:48 PM (#2309766)
I assume tfbg9 meant Clement.

Not sure what his gonads or sexual status have to do with anything, though.

That facial hair, on the other hand...
   41. villageidiom Posted: March 10, 2007 at 05:16 AM (#2309853)
Happy day today... DHL delivered my tickets.

So, if I assume a 4.60 league ERA, we have the following ERA+ projections for the big 5 so far:

Schilling

115 vi
114 Kyle S
113 Joe C, Darren, mcgriffy
105 tfbg9
059 Toby's crude toy

113 median
056 range from high to low
009 range excluding high & low

That's a remarkable consensus so far.


Beckett

119 tfbg9
113 Kyle S
110 vi, Toby's crude toy
109 Darren
106 Joe C

110 median
013 range from high to low
004 range excluding high & low

Even more remarkable. Looks like we all believe Beckett will bounce back. Nice to see y'all got those packets of Kool-Aid™ I sent out beforehand.


Wakefield

107 Darren
102 Kyle S
100 Joe C, vi, tfbg9
078 Toby's crude toy

100 median
028 range from high to low
002 range excluding high & low

Same here. This is a case where the fanboy in me wanted to project higher. After I shook off that notion, I had to reflect whether 100 seemed reasonable simply because it was lower than my fanboyish hopes for a 115-120, or whether it actually was reasonable on its own.


Papelbon

140 tfbg9, Toby's crude toy
120 vi
115 Darren
110 Kyle S
109 Joe C

117 median
031 range from high to low
030 range excluding high & low

Honestly, I expected more range. 30 points of ERA+ is a pretty big range, admittedly, but the low point is still above average and the high point is above everyone. Are we too optimistic here?

Of the six projections, it's interesting that we have two at each endpoint.


Matsuzaka

175 tfbg9
140 vi
128 Toby's crude toy
123 Darren
122 Kyle S
117 Joe C

125 median
058 range from high to low
018 range excluding high & low

Relative to Papelbon's projections, Matsuzaka's projections have a wider range between the extremes - no surprise - but a narrower range among all other points. His low projection is Papelbon's median, a hair above Beckett's and Schilling's maximum, and just out of the 2006 AL top 10.

Again I have to ask, are we being too optimistic? It's a wide range, sure; but it seems like we think the only question is whether he's a great pitcher or the greatest pitcher.
   42. PJ Martinez Posted: March 10, 2007 at 05:18 AM (#2309855)
Well, that's all we have down, vi, great or greatest. You have to pick one.

I'll put you down for great.
   43. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: March 10, 2007 at 10:19 AM (#2309895)
Okay, Wok, now sure,m once the season starts, someone gets gurt or is ineffective - one (or more) of those guys ends up below average, while maybe one (or more) other beat the projection I listed. Still, those are projections - expected values. Tell me, which one of these is wildly out of line?

Schilling 113
Dice-K 117
Beckett 106
Papelbon 109
Wakefield 100


1. Have you seen Curt Schilling in spring training this season? I almost thought we re-signed David Wells or something. I love Curt Schilling, but his 40 year old fat ass is supposed to give us 200 innings of 113 *ERA+? I've got him closer to league average. (We'll call it 105)

2. Dice-K: No argument.

3. Josh Beckett: I'd be surprised if he was even league average. I'd be happy if we got 200 IPs out of him and he improved from his 92 *ERA+ last year. I'm calling 98 *ERA+ from Beckett

4. Jon Papelbon as a starter is not going to be Jon Papelbon the reliever. And that makes me sad. I've got 105 from Papelbon.

5. I'm OK with Timmy's projection at 100

My pipedream is a completely healthy Jon Lester being able to be called up in May or June and give us 95 *ERA+ innings, and enabling Papelbon to be closer again.

I maintain my stance that Jonathan Papelbon's Injury problems was not the fact that he was in the bullpen, but having to pitch like 4 days in a row from the pen (aka ridiculous work schedules).
   44. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 10, 2007 at 10:39 AM (#2309902)
So you think Papelbon will be their second-best starter, but you want him as the saves pitcher?

Yes, I'm familiar with the hogwash about 70 high-leverage innings of superstar pitching being more valuable than 170 starter innings of above-average pitching. That argument is a level above the one about RBIs, perhaps, but its downfall is the same. You don't get RBI without men on base, and you don't get high-leverage late innings without good starters.
   45. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 10, 2007 at 10:41 AM (#2309904)
And I think this injury crap is a smoke-screen to placate the media. Possibly it's to placate Francona as well; when he says it, he seems to believe it.
   46. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: March 10, 2007 at 10:54 AM (#2309906)
So you think Papelbon will be their second-best starter, but you want him as the saves pitcher?


No, I want him as the properly leveraged relief ace who actually gets enough rest. This isn't too much to ask is it?
   47. Dave Cyprian Posted: March 10, 2007 at 03:03 PM (#2309923)
Watching Papelbon pound the upper-outside corner with his fastball is easily the most enjoyable part of watching the Red Sox, outside of a Papi at-bat when it's late and close.
   48. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 10, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2309950)
I maintain my stance that Jonathan Papelbon's Injury problems was not the fact that he was in the bullpen, but having to pitch like 4 days in a row from the pen (aka ridiculous work schedules).
Papelbon never pitched on four consecutive days. He pitched three days in a row four times, and never did that less than two-three weeks apart. Papelbon was on pace to throw about 70 G, 82 IP.

Look, we have no idea what caused the injury. It's certainly conceivable that if he'd been on pace for 75 IP, or 70 IP, he would not have gotten hurt. But maybe not. The certainty that there is an object you can point to as the cause of the shoulder injury is utterly unsupportable. The Sox certainly would have been likely to win fewer games from April to August if Papelbon had been held out of more games. Obviously, that doesn't mean he should throw 120 IP - but I have trouble seeing 70 G, 82 IP as problematic in itself.

I also think that Papelbon will be a very effective starter. With a fastball that good, he only really needs the splitter to have major league starter stuff. Through most of last year - as contrasted to 2005, when he never threw the pitch - Papelbon had a legitimate swing-and-miss splitter. There's certainly a question as to whether he can maintain that stuff over seven innings, but he started all through the minors, he maintained the good fastball through starts in 2005, and he's just a big dude what looks like a starting pitcher. I expect great things from Papelbon.

And can we please dispense with the transposed high school fantasies about smart nerd front office people lying to dumb jock managers and players who don't understnad that "saves pitchers" are worthless?
   49. Toby Posted: March 10, 2007 at 07:22 PM (#2309980)
I think we are just about ready for the next thread. I'll put it up maybe tomorrow.
   50. Darren Posted: March 11, 2007 at 02:19 AM (#2310097)
Sorry, Toby, I already put one up. Didn't mean to overstep.
   51. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: March 11, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2310105)
I also think that Papelbon will be a very effective starter. With a fastball that good, he only really needs the splitter to have major league starter stuff. Through most of last year - as contrasted to 2005, when he never threw the pitch - Papelbon had a legitimate swing-and-miss splitter. There's certainly a question as to whether he can maintain that stuff over seven innings, but he started all through the minors, he maintained the good fastball through starts in 2005, and he's just a big dude what looks like a starting pitcher. I expect great things from Papelbon.

He's got to get the curveball going too to last 7 innings. He's not getting by with two pitches.
   52. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 11, 2007 at 03:53 AM (#2310141)
"Anyway, regardless. Schilling and Mussina look pretty even to me, but I'll take Matsuzaka over Wang without a second thought, and I'll take odds."

Gimme a three (week?) to one (week?) on another handle change bet and you're on! Or is it a 1 to 3? I think you might know be able to get what I mean even though I didn't articulate it well at all.
   53. 1k5v3L Posted: March 11, 2007 at 07:13 PM (#2310324)
Uh oh!

Time to push the panic button!
   54. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 11, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2310347)
It seems like the wind's been blowing out in Florida for the past few days.
   55. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 11, 2007 at 08:37 PM (#2310348)
Jon Knott?
   56. Darren Posted: March 11, 2007 at 11:56 PM (#2310452)
2 scoreless innings from Piniero, no reason to panic.
   57. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: March 14, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2312038)
All five starters with an ERA+ over 100?

All five starters with 175+ IP?

These sound like predictions from a high school class in Worcester, not a bunch of "thinking fans".
   58. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 14, 2007 at 08:56 PM (#2312049)
All five starters with an ERA+ over 100?

Which one of them projects worse? Feel free to actually add something to the discussion.
   59. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: March 14, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2312112)
Wakefield: 40 years old. Admittedly not that relevant for this style of pitcher.

Previous three years ERA+: 100, 106, 100.
Previous three years IP average: 184

Likelihood of ERA+ of 100: 50%
Likelihood of 175 IP: 75%

Papelbon: No reason to doubt his stuff, though his lack of experience as a starter at this level are question marks.

Previous year ERA+: 500
Previous year IP: 68

Likelihood of ERA+ of 100: 90%
Likelihood of 175 IP: 75%

Beckett: I think Beckett is better than last year's performance. Young guy, durable.

Previous three years ERA+: 108, 119, 92
Previous three years IP: 156, 178, 204

Likelihood of ERA+ of 100: 60%
Likelihood of 175 IP: 90%

Schilling: Workhorse. 40 years old. Not a conditioning freak.

Previous three years ERA+: 150, 76, 115
Previous three years IP: 226, 96, 204

Likelihood of ERA+ of 100: 80%
Likelihood of 175 IP: 80%

Matsuzaka: No questions about his stuff, his age or his durability.

Lacking MLB stats, here are my guesses:

Likelihood of ERA+ of 100: 90%
Likelihood of 175 IP: 90%

Bigger point: Likelihood of all five starters with ERA+ of 100 or more = 19% and likelihood of all five starters with 175 IP or more = 35%
   60. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 14, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2312119)
Bigger point: Likelihood of all five starters with ERA+ of 100 or more = 19% and likelihood of all five starters with 175 IP or more = 35%

I understand where you're coming from, and I agree it's unlikely that all 5 pitchers hit those marks this year, whether it's due to bad luck, injuries, aging, whatever. However, you'll agree that since you're saying that each of these outcomes taken alone is likely (i.e. greater than 50/50), if we're talking projections, then, the mean projection for each of these guys will be at least that good. We shouldn't arbitrarily lower their projections to try to account for the fact that one or more of them *might* very well finish worse than 175/100.
   61. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: March 14, 2007 at 10:34 PM (#2312131)
Fair enough
   62. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 23, 2007 at 12:01 PM (#2316548)
So, with Papelbon moving to the bullpen, apparently Tavarez is the new 5th starter. I like him better than Snyder or Gabbard. Lester's not ready to pitch against big leaguers. There was an interesting quote from the Globe on Tavarez last week (from SoSH):
Tavarez is at his best when he's given a role in which he feels important. He thrived as a starter last season. The one thing Tavarez asked the Red Sox in the offseason was to give him a role and allow him to stick to it.
While this is obviously after-the-fact in all ways, it is notable just how good Tavarez had been before last year. Maybe with a regular job starting, he can come back. It's all speculative, but Tavarez is obviously a total loon, so I can imagine that his effectiveness could be deeply impacted by any number of outside factors.
   63. tfbg9 Posted: March 25, 2007 at 07:23 PM (#2317584)
ERA+'s, IP:
Matsuzaka 175 200
Schilling 105 180
Beckett 119 180
Tavarez 85 140
Wakefield 100 175
Lester 100 100
Snyder 90 75
The Ball-less, Half-Male Eunuch 95 50
   64. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: November 07, 2007 at 11:45 PM (#2608616)
The results:

IP ERA+
SP Daisuke Matsuzaka 204.7 108
SP Tim Wakefield 189.0 100
SP Josh Beckett 200.7 145
SP Curt Schilling 151.0 122
   65. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 08, 2007 at 01:12 AM (#2608707)

Every Red sox pitcher with more than 40 IP had an ERA+ of 100 or more except Tavarez. That's 13 pitchers.


Are you implying Javier Lopez was good? because he wasn't.
   66. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: November 08, 2007 at 03:12 PM (#2609088)
Harmon, weren't you just a little bit off on the 19% thing?]


Well, technically, I said:
Likelihood of all five starters with ERA+ of 100 or more = 19%


The fifth starter was Tavarez (23 starts) who posted a 92 ERA+, so no, I'd say that I was right.

:P
   67. villageidiom Posted: November 08, 2007 at 04:57 PM (#2609259)
So, final tally:

Schilling
122 *** ACTUAL ***
115 vi
114 Kyle S
113 Joe C, Darren, mcgriffy
105 tfbg9, Wok
059 Toby's crude toy

Beckett
145 *** ACTUAL ***
119 tfbg9
113 Kyle S
110 vi, Toby's crude toy
109 Darren
106 Joe C
098 Wok

Wakefield
107 Darren
102 Kyle S
100 Joe C, vi, tfbg9, Wok, *** ACTUAL ***
078 Toby's crude toy

Matsuzaka
175 tfbg9
140 vi
128 Toby's crude toy
123 Darren
122 Kyle S
117 Joe C, Wok
108 *** ACTUAL ***

I think Kyle S gets props for being among the closest on every pick. Those of us who were closest on some picks were out of the running on others, but Kyle S was consistently there.

Darren was also close, but on the wrong side of Kyle S for every pick. I feel wrong giving props for stalkers.

Bonus points to tfbg9, who also threw in a prediction of 85 for Tavarez (vs. 92 actual), and even came within 6 of his actual IP as well.
   68. tfbg9 Posted: November 08, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2609274)
Thanks, vi.

Looks like I got a bit carried away with Dice enthusiasm.
   69. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: November 08, 2007 at 05:21 PM (#2609301)
Other than Beckett, I don't look that bad.
   70. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 08, 2007 at 05:23 PM (#2609306)
Wow, did I really predict the Red Sox would allow 775 runs? Ouch.
   71. villageidiom Posted: November 08, 2007 at 05:25 PM (#2609311)
Me, too, tfbg9. Apparently I knew that we'd have one pitcher around 140 and another around 110. I just didn't know which was which.

Funny thing on Beckett was that I took all our predictions as a sign that all of us thought Beckett would bounce back. And we all UNDERestimated, by a wide margin.

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