Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rob links to Nate Silver's PECOTA-based preview at BPro. All the interesting stuff is behind the subscriber wall, but Rob quotes the section on the Angels, who are predicted to finish 81-81, twelve games behind the Athletics:
[T]he margin of victory that PECOTA is projecting is rather stunning.

This has mostly to do with the Angels’ offense. No disrespect meant to Tim Salmon, who spawned his way onto my BP-Kings roster, but when you’re seriously talking about making Tim Salmon your everyday designated hitter, your offense has some Issues. In all seriousness, take away Vladimir Guerrero, and the Angels might be outhit by their PCL affiliate. Of course, this projection could underrate the Angels, but only if they get the message and let players like Howie Kendrick, Kendry Morales and Dallas McPherson work their way into significant roles this season. [emphasis mine]
Okay, let's take Vlad out of the equation.

That leaves us with Jose Molina, Casey Kotchman, Adam Kennedy, Chone Figgins, Orlando Cabrera, Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad, Juan Rivera, Tim Salmon, Maicer Izturis, Robb Quinlan, and Edgardo Alfonzo as the remaining Halo position players with any kind of major league track record. (I'm, obviously, assuming Dallas doesn't make the cut here.)

Over their careers, that group of players has posted an Equivalent Average -- the offensive measure used at BPro -- of .266, and over the last four seasons it has been .261. The league average, by definition, is .260.

Does Nate Silver think that this collection of players --

C, Mike Napoli
1B, Kendry Morales
2B, Howie Kendrick
3B, Dallas McPherson
SS, Erick Aybar
LF, Nick Gorneault
CF, Reggie Willits
RF, Tommy Murphy
DH, Jason Aspito?

-- would, as a group, hit league average or better in the majors in 2006?

It's doubtful. I'd say three of those guys -- Morales, Kendrick, and McPherson -- would have a good shot at being league average or better, and I think Napoli, Aybar, and maybe Gorneault may get there eventually. But come on. The Salt Lake Bees aren't going to out-hit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Minus Vlad unless there are some major injuries going down in the Big A.

There's this impression out there that the Angels are Vlad plus a bunch of bad hitters, and it's just wrong, and I'm getting a little tired of it. It was true to an extent last season, but if you look at our players' careers -- not to mention the replacement of Finley with Kotchman -- that's just not how it shapes up.

I'm not saying our offense is going to be great. And last year it was pretty dismal. But if everyone's healthy and plays to their established levels, it should be decent.

Everyone keeps saying it about our hitters and when we win it all they will say it was "just luck."

btw - you left out Jeff Mathis.
I was only considering players "with any kind of major league track record."
i guess Jeff gets lost in that non-prospect, no service time void - happened to most analysts about Kotchman this year - no info, so since they are unable to imagine, they simply process.
You are going to get -- have gotten already -- the kinds of apologist comments I've expected and seen plenty of in this offseason.

This won't be one of them.

.266 is six points higher than league average. 81-81 is about where you'd expect a team of league average anybodies to end up; give them a few wins for having better pitching, but it's hardly farfetched.
So we have league average hitters plus Vlad and an above average pitching staff. How could we end up 81-81 then???
But all these projections don't measure the running game well, AFAIK.
Also, I once read that smallballing teams don't score as many total runs as other teams, but their run production is more stable, i.e. decreases their standard deviation. This surprisingly results in a higher winning percentage than the average R/G would indicate.
They won 95 games last year with Finley and Davannon. How could they wion 14 games less with Kotchman and Rivera. Bengiw was good but he isn't 14 games better than the Molina/ Mathis combo we are going to have.

Not to worry though. Pecota has been wrong, very wrong, about the Angels every year.
What's "apologist" about the Rev pointing out that Mathis is in the unprojectionable void, while foreshadowing the excuses for the inevitable better-than-.500 showing?

As for 81-81 being "hardly farfetched," I've got $20 says they're closer to 92-70 than 81-81. Want some?
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