Monday, February 16, 2009

Fun with statistics: Pitching and defense part 2

Continuing from last time I am going to take a look at the Red Sox top 4 starters.

FIP's from last year

Josh Beckett-3.24
Jon Lester- 3.64
Dice K- 4.03
Tim Wakefield- 4.84

(I'm sure Brad Penny and Smoltz will factor in somewhere, but because exactly how they will is currently unknown I've decided not to include them)

Projected FIP's by Bill James for 2009

Josh Beckett-3.70
Jon Lester- 4.07
Dice K- 3.81
Tim Wakefield- 4.70

Then the pitcher ERA's from last year

Josh Beckett-4.03
Jon Lester- 3.21
Dice K- 2.90
Tim Wakefield- 4.13

And the projected ERA's for next year again by Bill James

Josh Beckett-3.57
Jon Lester- 4.02
Dice K- 3.58
Tim Wakefield- 3.91

So a few things stick out from these stats. First Josh Beckett pitched better than his ERA from last year seems to suggest. I'm going to hazard a guess there was a decent amount of bad luck involved in that. Second, Dice-K was possibly the luckiest pitcher in the MLB last year, with his ERA ending up over a full point less than what his FIP suggested. Lester and Wakefield also performed better than there FIP suggested I'm sure the defense played a pretty large role in this. Looking ahead to next year Beckett should get better as he comes off an injury ridden season and Wakefield also looks to improve a little, while Jon Lester and Dice K look to regress quite a bit.

Now let’s take a look at the Yankees projected rotation against the Red Sox projected rotation.

Yankees projected ERA's for next year

CC Sabathia- 3.48
AJ Burnett- 3.62
Chien-Ming Wang- 3.70
Andy Pettite-3.90

Red Sox projected ERA's for next year

Josh Beckett-3.57
Jon Lester- 4.02
Dice K- 3.58
Tim Wakefield- 3.91

Wow, as you can see that is about as close your going to get. The Yankees appear to have a slight advantage though, and I do have my doubts that Wakefield will actually be able to put up an era under 4, as the last time he did that was SEVEN years ago.

Now to examine the Red Sox defense from last year. Again I am going to use the fielding bible by Bill James and John Dewan. The Red Sox had strong infield defense last year with Kevin Youkilis making 6 more plays than the average first baseman, Dustin Pedroira, making 15 more plays than the average second baseman, Jed Lowrie making 8 more plays than the average shortstop and third baseman Mike Lowell not being found in the top 10 or the bottom 6. The outfield is tricky to analyze as Manny and Mark Kotsay were both minus defenders, but were only with the team for half a year. The other Red Sox outfielders can not be found in the top 10 or bottom 6of their respective positions, putting them at about average.

After looking through and analyzing all this information it appears that next year every single game will matter. The Yankees rotation looks to be neck and neck with the Red Sox rotation thanks to the addition of AJ and CC, while the Yankees defense should be on par with the Red Sox thanks to the addition of Teixeira, as well as Bobby Abreu and his fear of walls no longer being with the Yankees.

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