I posted this yesterday over at Red Reporter. I thought I'd share it with the kind souls at Viva El Birdos as well...
While we all know that projections are typically flawed, especially when it comes to pitchers, I found the following projections from Bill James to be quite surprising. According to James' projections, the Reds' rotation is just about as good as the Cards'....
The following projections can be found at FanGraphs. I’m using Bill James’ 2012 projections for this exercise. First, the projections, then some notes:
Differential (ERA): 0.5, Cardinals advantage
Differential (ERA): 0.26, Reds advantage
(the rest... after the jump)
Differential (ERA): 0.32, Cardinals advantage
Differential (ERA): 0.02, Cardinals advantage
Differential (ERA): 0.33, Reds advantage
Total Differential (ERA): 0.25, Cardinals advantage
Summary: The Cardinals project to have an advantage at 3 of the 5 spots in the rotation, and a slight advantage overall. Obviously, several factors can/will change all of this. MLB teams rarely (never) make it through an entire season using only 5 starting pitchers. In the end, the health of each rotation will determine the overall advantage.
My Take: I was surprised by how closely these rotations project for the 2012 season. The addition of Latos goes a long way in bridging the gap between the two rotations. I don’t take issue with any of James’ projections here. However, it will be interesting to see how Wainwright recovers from major surgery. When he’s right, he’s a top 5 pitcher in the NL, but as we all know, Tommy John surgery can have have a lingering impact on performance.
X-Factors: Two pitchers could dramatically change the overall dynamics of these rotations. For the Cardinals, Roy Oswalt would offer a significant upgrade over Jake Westbrook. As of now, Oswalt is not signed, and the Cardinals look like they are among the finalists in the Oswalt sweepstakes. For the Reds, Aroldis Chapman could offer an upgrade similar to that of Oswalt. Should Chapman transition to the role of starting pitcher effectively, he will be pitching in this rotation. The big question is: who would he replace? The easy answer is Arroyo, but due to his large salary that seems unlikely. Nonetheless, Chapman and Oswalt represent the wildcards for 2012. Here’s what James expects from them this season: