Jump to content


Yo! You're not logged in. Why am I seeing this ad?

Photo

The 2013 Starting Rotation


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
19 replies to this topic

#1 Snodgrass'Muff


  • smarter as Lucen


  • 20,941 posts

Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:08 PM

There's not really a thread devoted to the rotation, but whenever I see possible starting pitchers, Lackey is listed as our #5, which seems likely. From what I recall, his recovery is on schedule, and he should be able to pitch early on in the season.

Does anyone have any projections/guesses for how he might do?


Figured this was a good jumping off point since we seem to have a bunch of threads on individual pitchers or potential moves but nothing about the rotation itself. As it currently stands we're looking at a rotation of:

Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Lackey and a combination of Morales, DLR, Webster, Britton and Workman to piece together a 5th starter over the year. Obviously it would be a good idea to bring one more pitcher into the mix and we'll need two if Lester is dealt.

Projections for Lackey are going to be tough to nail down. There's a high rate of success with TJ surgery, but there are cases where pitchers don't bounce back. The difficult part with Lackey is pinpointing the spot where his numbers were a reflection of his injury and not just typical age related decline. He was trending down in the seasons leading up to his signing in Boston, had a rough first half in 2010 and then appeared to turn it around after the All Star break before having an awful 2011 and missing all of 2012 with the injury.

My best guess is that Lackey repeating his 2010 season totals is probably a bit optimistic but not unrealistic and would be good enough as a back of the rotation innings eater type. So trading for someone like Floyd would be a good idea if Lester is staying and probably becomes absolutely necessary if he's traded, prompting the need for a free agent signing as well.

#2 TheoShmeo


  • made johnny damon think long and hard


  • 8,293 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:32 AM

I think that this thread topic deserves a little jump start.

Pete Abe addresses it in today's Globe. http://www.bostonglo...1YRP/story.html

He essentially makes a point that has been nagging at me for a few weeks.

All of the additions the Sox have made (save perhaps Victorino) are nice and it's possible to make arguments to support why they will make the Sox better. But in my view, the biggest problem the Sox had in 9/2011 and last season was insufficient starting pitching. Thus far, the only changes are the insertion of Lackey, along with the hope that his surgery and rehab will transform him back to someone much closer to what he was in Anaheim, and Ryan Dempster, who may or may not be able to be successful in the AL East. Other than that, the Sox are hoping for a bounce back year from Lester, a season long of health from Buck and continued development from Doubront.

Now maybe the answer is that this is something of a bridge year, there weren't other viable options out there at the right price and JF/Nieves will be able to coax the best out of the starting staff. Still, it seems to me that the Sox just have not done enough with the rotation to enable them to compete for a playoff spot this season (even assuming they've done enough elsewhere).

Edited by TheoShmeo, 02 January 2013 - 08:35 AM.


#3 mfried

  • 1,005 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:50 AM

Figured this was a good jumping off point since we seem to have a bunch of threads on individual pitchers or potential moves but nothing about the rotation itself. As it currently stands we're looking at a rotation of:

Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Lackey and a combination of Morales, DLR, Webster, Britton and Workman to piece together a 5th starter over the year. Obviously it would be a good idea to bring one more pitcher into the mix and we'll need two if Lester is dealt.

Projections for Lackey are going to be tough to nail down. There's a high rate of success with TJ surgery, but there are cases where pitchers don't bounce back. The difficult part with Lackey is pinpointing the spot where his numbers were a reflection of his injury and not just typical age related decline. He was trending down in the seasons leading up to his signing in Boston, had a rough first half in 2010 and then appeared to turn it around after the All Star break before having an awful 2011 and missing all of 2012 with the injury.

My best guess is that Lackey repeating his 2010 season totals is probably a bit optimistic but not unrealistic and would be good enough as a back of the rotation innings eater type. So trading for someone like Floyd would be a good idea if Lester is staying and probably becomes absolutely necessary if he's traded, prompting the need for a free agent signing as well.

Is the omission of Dempster a Freudian slip?

#4 Tito's Pullover


  • Lol boo ALS


  • 1,353 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:57 AM

Is the omission of Dempster a Freudian slip?

Old thread. Dempster had not yet signed.

#5 Rovin Romine

  • 2,953 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

Well, if Lester and Buchholz don't bounce back significantly, we're not going to be competetive anyway. So, this year we most likely have L and B, as #2s or better, Dempster as a #3 or better, Lackey as a #3 or better, and Doubront as a #4 or better. And we have Morales, DLR, et. al., for depth at AAA.

I suppose we could have had Greinke as a #1, L and B, Dempster and Lackey. That seems more "safe" - but *if* all except Greinke turn out to be league average pitchers or below (i.e., your worries about the current rotation are founded) I doubt that's a competetive club anyway, given the Jays, Rays, Angels, Rangers, Oakland, and us scrumming with the Yanks, Tigers, White Sox, and maybe Baltimore. And then what do you do - try to put in a bunch of FA starters behind Greinke over the next 2-3 years?

#6 Rasputin


  • Will outlive SeanBerry


  • 26,165 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

All of the additions the Sox have made (save perhaps Victorino) are nice and it's possible to make arguments to support why they will make the Sox better. But in my view, the biggest problem the Sox had in 9/2011 and last season was insufficient starting pitching. Thus far, the only changes are the insertion of Lackey, along with the hope that his surgery and rehab will transform him back to someone much closer to what he was in Anaheim, and Ryan Dempster, who may or may not be able to be successful in the AL East. Other than that, the Sox are hoping for a bounce back year from Lester, a season long of health from Buck and continued development from Doubront.


It should be noted that all of those things (Lester, Doubront, Buchholz) are reasonably likely.

It should also be noted that one of the organizational goals for this season should be to get some major league starts for Rubby de la Rosa with an eye to having him in the rotation full time in 2014.

It should also be noted that as of now, we have two guys, one with each hand, who can reasonably be expected to make a few starts, or even more than a few. There's good reason to think they don't all make it out of spring training, but there has to be a move coming to get rid of Salty and that may well involve a pitcher, too.

It should also be noted that if we need to dig deep into the starting depth, we're pretty much fucked as far as the post season goes so how much does it really matter?

#7 TheoShmeo


  • made johnny damon think long and hard


  • 8,293 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

It should be noted that all of those things (Lester, Doubront, Buchholz) are reasonably likely.

And you claim not to be a believer!

I guess I'm not that sanguine that all three will happen in one season, much less that Lackey will look different than he did when we last saw him or that Dempster will be successful in the AL. Your point on de la Rosa is fair and perhaps the Sox aren't done making moves to improve the rotation.

I also don't buy that having to use organizational depth means you have no shot in the post-season. The 2004 rotation experience was incredibly unique. Many playoff teams and WS champs have had to augment their starting five during the marathon that is the baseball season.

#8 Red(s)HawksFan


  • SoSH Member


  • 5,068 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:45 AM

I also don't buy that having to use organizational depth means you have no shot in the post-season. The 2004 rotation experience was incredibly unique. Many playoff teams and WS champs have had to augment their starting five during the marathon that is the baseball season.


I don't think Ras was saying that it has to be the first five or no playoffs. His point was that if the team has to dig deeper than Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, Dempster, Doubront, Morales, Aceves, and De La Rosa to get through the season, post-season aspirations are most assuredly gone by that point anyway. In other words, if Webster or Wright is asked to take the ball more than once this season, the team's playoff chances are fucked anyway so what difference does it make?

The 2011 "collapse" was precipitated in a lot of ways by needing to dig deeper than #7 or #8 on the rotational depth chart for more than just a spot start or two. That was a team that needed 50+ starts from 6 through 11 on the depth chart. It's really a miracle they managed 90 wins with the state of the rotation by July, let alone September.

#9 Rasputin


  • Will outlive SeanBerry


  • 26,165 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:50 AM

And you claim not to be a believer!

I guess I'm not that sanguine that all three will happen in one season, much less that Lackey will look different than he did when we last saw him or that Dempster will be successful in the AL. Your point on de la Rosa is fair and perhaps the Sox aren't done making moves to improve the rotation.


I was speaking of them each individually. Obviously when you put multiple things together the probability of them all happening goes down.

But still, Lester just had the worst year of his career. He is, so far as we know, not injured, and not particularly old. It seems highly likely that whatever the problem was, it was probably mechanical.

Buchholz made 28 starts in 2010 and 29 starts in 2012. It's not terribly unlikely that he'll make 25+ starts again.

Doubront of course is entering his second season as a full time starter in the bigs. It certainly looked like he had some adjustment trouble early and some fatigue problems later and it stands to reason he'll be better at both of those things.

I also don't buy that having to use organizational depth means you have no shot in the post-season. The 2004 rotation experience was incredibly unique. Many playoff teams and WS champs have had to augment their starting five during the marathon that is the baseball season.


I said if we need to dig deep into the starting depth. If anyone other than the current five starters, Aceves, Morales, and de la Rosa make a significant number of starts then we're probably in trouble.

#10 TheoShmeo


  • made johnny damon think long and hard


  • 8,293 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:54 AM

I don't think Ras was saying that it has to be the first five or no playoffs. His point was that if the team has to dig deeper than Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, Dempster, Doubront, Morales, Aceves, and De La Rosa to get through the season, post-season aspirations are most assuredly gone by that point anyway. In other words, if Webster or Wright is asked to take the ball more than once this season, the team's playoff chances are fucked anyway so what difference does it make?

The 2011 "collapse" was precipitated in a lot of ways by needing to dig deeper than #7 or #8 on the rotational depth chart for more than just a spot start or two. That was a team that needed 50+ starts from 6 through 11 on the depth chart. It's really a miracle they managed 90 wins with the state of the rotation by July, let alone September.

I hear you. My initial post wasn't so much about spots 6-8. It was more about adding one more arm to the first five or at least some competition there.

Said differently, I look at the Sox line-up and think that weaker 1-9s have gotten to the playoffs and won the WS. I look at the pen and think that they just might have enough there (and in Pawtucket). But that rotation...I'd like to have more confidence and I don't buy that it's ever binary with the Red Sox. There's a big divide between GFIN and a Bridge Year. I also don't buy that they've made their moves to create an illusion of a team that could compete so they can placate the pink hats, keep the streak alive and boost ratings. I think they're legitimately trying to win while not sacrficing picks or getting locked into long deals, and that's great. I just don't know if they're giving themselves enough ammunition with that starting five.

#11 Savin Hillbilly


  • SoSH Member


  • 11,642 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:19 PM

I'm not sure there's anything Ben could have done about the rotation, aside from signing Jackson or Sanchez instead of Dempster. But I think the Sox are in a bit of a "burned child shuns the fire" mode when it comes to long-term FA pitcher contracts, and understandably so.

As far as the rest of the rotation, basically Lackey is untradeable until he shows what his recovered self looks like; trading Lester and Buchholz this winter would have been foolishly selling low, particularly in the former case; and Doubront is the one guy you probably don't want to trade.

Theo, what would you have done, aside from going more big-ticket than Dempster for the FA signing?

#12 Rudy Pemberton


  • Just a string of characters


  • 28,373 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

I agree that the rotation was an area of need, but the reality is, given the commitments that they have there, that improvement is largely going to have to come from the guys we already have and from avoiding the crap we got from the Cook / Matsuzaka / Stewart types. The only way to really improve the rotation would have been to invest a shit ton of money in someone like Greinke, which was pretty risky, or jettison one of the guys the Sox have, which would have been selling low IMO. So, ultimately, I think it's fair to be frustrated and concerned with the rotation while acknowledging that there wasn't a ton the Sox could do there. This team's success will largely depend on what happens with Lester, Buchholz, and to a lesser extent- Ellsbury. If those guys bounce back, the Sox will be good. If they don't, well, there's probably not much else that could have been done.

#13 The Gray Eagle


  • SoSH Member


  • 9,454 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

For whatever it's worth, here are Baseball Info's "Bill James" projections for our 2013 rotation:

Lester: 12-12, 3.71 211 IP 192 K 75 BB

Buchholz: 12-11, 3.64 205 IP 163 K 72 BB

Doubront: 12-11, 3.70 202 IP 189 K 74 BB

Dempster: 11-10, 3.74 190 IP 172 K 66 BB

Lackey: 12-12, 4.05 209 IP 163 K 59 BB

Morales: 6-7, 3.98 122 IP 17 starts 107 K, 52 BB

Aceves: 5-5, 3.68 88 IP 67 K 37 BB

These are, of course, pre-season projections, and most of them will end up being well off the mark. But they are interesting, and very generally speaking should be fair expectations of what might happen next year.

I'd those numbers from Doubront in a heartbeat, and Dempster and Lackey too. I personally doubt those three will put up those numbers, but we shall see. If we really got 600 IP from those guys at an ERA under 4.00, we should be in great shape.

Other AL East teams:

NY:
Sabbathia: 16-10, 3.28 233 IP
Kuroda: 13-10, 3.57 212 IP
Hughes: 12-11, 3.76 201 IP
Nova: 9-11, 4.42 179 IP
Pettitte: no projection yet
Pineda: 12-9, 3.37 187 IP

Pineda's seems, well, wildly optimistic. And Pettitte doesn't have a projection yet. Their top 3 should be very solid though.

TB:
Price: 16-9, 3.13 216 IP
Hellickson: 11-10, 3.51 187 IP
Moore: 13-10, 3.25 202 IP
Neimann: 6-7, 3.81 118 IP
Cobb: 9-10, 3.73 169 IP
Roberto “Fausto” Hernandez: 7-10, 4.21 154 IP

They are going to be very good again, I would expect Fausto to rebound really well with that organization.

Tor:
Dickey: 16-8, 3.58 226 IP
Johnson: 13-9, 3.21 196 IP
Buehrle: 11-12, 3.78 205 IP
Morrow: 11-9, 3.47 187 IP
Romero: 8-12, 4.43 185 IP

Balt:
Hammel: 8-10, 4.30 161 IP
Chen: 10-11, 3.92 193 IP
Tillman: 9-12, 4.31 188 IP
Gonzalez: 10-9, 3.67 174 IP
Britton: 5-6, 4.08 97 IP
T. Hunter: 2-3, 4.50 50 IP
Arrieta: 2-2, 4.25 36 IP
Matusz: 3-5, 4.70 69 IP
S. Johnson: 2-3, 4.40 43 IP

#14 Rudy Pemberton


  • Just a string of characters


  • 28,373 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

There were 7 pitchers in the AL East last year who had 140+ IP at an ERA <4.05. James projects the Sox to have 5 such pitchers (and the rest of the division to have 13 more). So, yeah, they seem wildly optimistic.

#15 TheoShmeo


  • made johnny damon think long and hard


  • 8,293 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

Theo, what would you have done, aside from going more big-ticket than Dempster for the FA signing?

This will sound like -- and I guess is -- a cop-out, but I really don't know what Ben could or should have done. But that doesn't mean that there is not or was not a good solution out there. Ben and other GMs over time have done out of the box deals that were not at all expected in advance and that solved problems. Inasmuch as I view the rotation as a problem, I was hoping (and still am) that Ben would come up with something I hadn't thought of to address it. But I admit that I don't see an easy solution and maybe that's because there isn't one.

Bill James' projections seem odd. I can't imagine that all of Boston's starters will have an ERA lower than 4.06 and, if they do, that none of them will have a W-L percentage materially better than .500. Not that either metric is perfect or the key to any discussion of the starters, but those are both head scratchers.

#16 Snodgrass'Muff


  • smarter as Lucen


  • 20,941 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:27 PM

Those projections aren't worth much beyond side by side comparisons for pitchers on the staff or from different staffs. And even then their usefulness is limited. I wouldn't let yourself lose any sleep trying to figure them out. The only thing those projections tell me, at this point, is that the Sox don't have anyone who projects to be quite as good as Sabathia, Price or Johnson.

#17 JimBoSox9


  • will you be my friend?


  • 12,756 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

I guess I'm not that sanguine that all three will happen in one season, much less that Lackey will look different than he did when we last saw him or that Dempster will be successful in the AL. Your point on de la Rosa is fair and perhaps the Sox aren't done making moves to improve the rotation.


I think one of the places statistics and intuition collide is that we're all about regression to the mean when it predicts a negative trend, but not so chill with the whole business when it's asking us to trust in a return to form. For one, we just watched the guy underperform in some way for a year, we can't help but mentally prioritize the most recent experience higher. For another, since no team wins it all more years than not, sports fans in general can't help but trend pessimistic. Lastly, having to balance positive regression to prime years with inevitable age-related decline is an unsolvable wild card. I wonder if you are as hesitant to bet on all three underperforming their median projections as you are to bet on all three to exceed them? The two extremes should, without anything making the situation particularly unique, be about equally likely.

I also don't buy that having to use organizational depth means you have no shot in the post-season. The 2004 rotation experience was incredibly unique. Many playoff teams and WS champs have had to augment their starting five during the marathon that is the baseball season.


I want to remember reading something about the correlation between starting rotation health and either making the playoffs or winning the Series after the 05 White Sox win, but I could be wrong. Can't tease it out of b-ref mobile but I'll try to back that up later.

But I think the Sox are in a bit of a "burned child shuns the fire" mode when it comes to long-term FA pitcher contracts, and understandably so.


Ben Cherington, age 3:

Posted Image

(Stolen from Backwash)

There were 7 pitchers in the AL East last year who had 140+ IP at an ERA <4.05. James projects the Sox to have 5 such pitchers (and the rest of the division to have 13 more). So, yeah, they seem wildly optimistic.


Am I crazy or have James' projections been been viewed as reliably optimistic for a while now?

#18 Jordu

  • 2,029 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:30 PM

Am I crazy or have James' projections been been viewed as reliably optimistic for a while now?


Steve Slowinski, FanGraphs, Feb. 16, 2011:

"Created by Baseball Info Solutions, the Bill James projections uses at most eight seasons of data per player, with a strong focus on the previous three. While the exact methodology is proprietary, the Bill James projections are based on past performance, age, home park, and expected playing time. His projections tend to be the most optimistic of all the major systems, especially with young players."

The full article is here: http://www.fangraphs...r-and-the-rest/

If you don't want to follow the link, Slowinski seems to favor Marcels. "Theoretically, projections that do more work than Marcels (like ZiPS, Bill James, CAIRO, Oliver, PECOTA) will be more accurate, but in the past, other systems have only added a small increase in accuracy. Even though it is very basic, the Marcel system is still quite accurate and serves as a good reference point when looking at other projections."

Occam's Razor, baby. Make the fewest assumptions.

#19 Savin Hillbilly


  • SoSH Member


  • 11,642 posts

Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:51 PM

About Lackey--suggesting that you don't think he'll look different from "when we last saw him" seems like taking pessimism to an irrational degree. When we last saw him, his elbow was shot. It has since been fixed. He's almost bound to look different, though exactly how that difference will play out in terms of results is hard to predict.

Since we don't know for sure when the elbow started substantially affecting his performance, and we don't know how successful his rehab has been, and we don't know how much of a toll age and rust will take, we can't be certain where on the scale between 2007-2009 Lackey and 2011 Lackey he'll fall this year, but it would be very bad luck if the answer was "all the way at the 2011 end." I think expecting the midway point, i.e. 2010, makes sense, because it assumes that the benefits of the surgery and the negative impact of aging, plus a year off for a guy who was never known as a conditioning guru, will about balance each other out.

Remember, this is a guy who was a good pitcher for a bunch of years. Not an elite pitcher, not a #1, but a solid #2 or a great #3. He had solid-average K rates, consistently good walk rates, and kept the ball in the park, while throwing a shitload of innings (including for us in his first year). Assuming that all this just vanished the minute he donned our laundry requires gratuitous negativity of Shankian proportions. If there was no other explanation, you might have to chalk it up to some sort of Crawford-like epic transplantation fail. But there is another explanation. His elbow was hamburger meat. Knowing this to be the case, you have to assume that there's at least a good solid chance that with a fixed elbow he can be a league-average-or-better pitcher again, which is all we need him to be.

#20 The Gray Eagle


  • SoSH Member


  • 9,454 posts

Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

Steve Slowinski, FanGraphs, Feb. 16, 2011:

"Created by Baseball Info Solutions, the Bill James projections uses at most eight seasons of data per player, with a strong focus on the previous three. While the exact methodology is proprietary, the Bill James projections are based on past performance, age, home park, and expected playing time. His projections tend to be the most optimistic of all the major systems, especially with young players."

The full article is here: http://www.fangraphs...r-and-the-rest/


What's hilarious is how the chumps at the Boston Glob spin those very same Bill James projections. They ask the video question: "Are the Red Sox starters as bad as Bill James says they are?"

Because you see, the B.I.S. "Bill James" projections, which I don't think Bill James himself has anything to do with, only project the starters to have W-L records of 59-56. Therefore, Bill James is saying the rotation sucks. Even though the actual projections are too optimistic, and show us getting a total of around 1000 innings pitched at an ERA around 3.75 from the 5 starters projected to be in the rotation, which would be a fabulous season if it were to happen.

All projections are going to be wrong-- James, Pecota, Marcels, our own personal ones, etc. That's how they end up. But I think we can get a handle on what reasonable expectations should be from looking at all projections that are based on reasonable thought, rather than just the gut guesses of some internet poster or sports pundit. "Expectations" not meaning what's definitely going to happen, but what shouldn't surprise us too much if it does happen. (Keeping in mind the usual issues with all projections of course.)

So does anyone have the Marcels, Pecota or other projections for the Sox and the rest of the division? I agree the "Bill James" ones seem overly optimistic, but what do the other ones say? How should we expect to shape up in comparison to the rest of the division, or better yet to the rest of the league?




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users