When I think of the Brewers lately, I don't get too upset about Braunroids, which is the story many will think of. I think of Zach Greinke, who is an ace starting pitcher. I also think of Yovanni Gallardo, another ace. They are like the Cardinals in this respect, with two top notch starting pitchers anchoring their rotation. However, their 3-4 starters are in my mind probably not quite as good. But it's close...
CAIRO: 161 IP at 2.63 FIP (3.1 WAR)
Fans: 212/3.06 (5.3 WAR)
I am not going to have as much to say about these as I did in the Cards post for obvious reasons. I just don't know these players quite as well. Some would argue probably that Gallardo is a bit better than Greinke, but I just don't buy it. CAIRO predicts a pretty ridiculously good ace. ZiPS is pretty conservative for the rate stat; the average of these 4 systems equates to 192 IP at 3.02 FIP. (no clear advantage between Greinke and Waino)
CAIRO: 180 IP at 3.48 FIP (2.8 WAR)
Fans: 203/3.53 (3.9 WAR)
Gallardo is a great pitcher, but not quite as good as what people were thinking he'd be a couple years ago. The consensus of the 4 systems is that he'll pitch 198 innings at 3.44 FIP. (advantage Carpenter)
CAIRO: 189 IP at 3.67 FIP (3.4 WAR)
Fans: 190 at 3.94 (2.7 WAR)
Marcum is sort of like their version of Garcia. He is a pretty damn solid #3 starter for most teams, but he's not as good as Jaime. 183 IP at 3.7 FIP consensus. (advantage Garcia, not really that close)
CAIRO: 205 IP at 4.32 FIP (2.2 WAR)
Fans: 204/4.56 (1.4 WAR)
Wolf is an innings eater like Lohse. The two are fairly comparable. 194 IP at 4.35 FIP average for Wolf though, which means advantage Cardinals for the #4 spot if Lohse stays healthy.
CAIRO: 147 IP at 4.05 FIP (1.5 WAR)
Fans: 167/4.26 (1.7 WAR)
Narveson's averaged projections are 153 IP at 4.12 (slight advantage Brewers).
I'd guess the two rotations are pretty close overall. However, it's a 3.73 FIP consensus projection for Brewers, 3.56 FIP for the Cardinals, so maybe it's not that close. The Brewers rotation would be expected to throw 920 innings by this method to the Cardinals 884. Could that gap in innings pitched mean anything? Probably not too much, but there is a 36 inning difference.
Norichika Aoki (OF)
CAIRO: 627 PA, .301 wOBA (.5 WAR)
First thing is to say, fangraphs.com does not have a listing for Norichika Aoki, who was signed from Japan Central League. As you can see at baseball reference though, he has had a great career. It is always unpredictable how someone will adapt to the major leagues, but he could be pretty good. The one projection I have found doesn't show him being too much of a boost though. The guy's OBP is impressive, so look to him to lead off fairly well with some speed on the basepaths.
Corey Hart (OF)
CAIRO: 464 PA, .346 wOBA (1.9 WAR)
Fans: 611 PA, .361 (3.7 WAR)
ZiPS: 583 PA, .351
RC: 580 PA, .362
Hart is still stomping around in the outfield, and will probably continue to be an annoyance to Cardinals fans from time to time as he clobbers the ball like a caveman. He's probably in his prime still, so one more year of great production is to be expected. Expect about 560 PA and .355 wOBA from Hart this season. (ave 2.8 WAR)
Rickie Weeks (2B)
CAIRO: 522 PA, .348 wOBA (2.9 WAR)
Fans: 595 PA, .364 wOBA (5 WAR)
ZiPS: 517 PA, .356 wOBA
RotoChamp: 599 PA, .356
One of the only players from Milwaukee I really like to watch (the idea of a slugging 2nd baseman is hilarious). The really good Weeks is expected to have 558 PA at .356 wOBA. He may not be that great at defense, but that's a nice player on offense to have in the lineup at a position that's usually light on the hitting. (3.95 WAR ave)
Ryan Braun (OF)
CAIRO: 664 PA, .389 wOBA (4.9 WAR)
Fans: 615 PA, .405 wOBA (5.6 WAR)
ZiPS: 675 PA, .385 wOBA
RC: 421 PA, .407 wOBA
Braun got off the hook somehow and will be playing quite a bit again this year in all likelihood. Not much to say about Braun, he's a really great hitter, ok left fielder, and he has his own clothing line and affliction!. 594 PA at .397 wOBA is what's to be expected by these systems' consensus average of the Brauninator. (5.25 WAR ave)
Aramis Ramirez (3B)
CAIRO: 544 PA, .352 wOBA (3.2 WAR)
Fans: 573 PA, .348 wOBA (3.1 WAR)
ZiPS: 519 PA, .351
RC: 543 PA, .365
The Brewers refuse to give up on their world series dreams, and haven't lost too too much ground after losing Fielder. Ramirez can probably still hit well, and he'll be an upgrade at third for the Brewcrew. He does not have much going for him on defense though, and had a pretty major shoulder issue. The average of these systems equates to 545 PA and .354 wOBA. (3.15 WAR ave)
Alex Gonzalez (SS)
CAIRO: 576 PA, .284 wOBA (1.2 WAR)
Fans: 531 PA, .236 wOBA (1.4 WAR)
ZiPS: 524 PA, .295 wOBA
RC: 540 PA, .287 wOBA
The Brewers continue to have a relatively weak link at short this year. He is likely a slight upgrade from Betancourt though. 543 PA at .276 wOBA average projection (1.3 WAR)
Mat Gamel (3B)
CAIRO: 219 PA, .325 wOBA (.8 WAR)
Fans: 516 PA, .325 wOBA (1 WAR)
ZiPS: 534 PA, .335 wOBA
RC: 449 PA, .313 wOBA
Since Aramis Ramirez will probably be on the same footing as David Freese, he won't be playing full time (but probably close to it). Similar to how I added Allen Craig to the roster (I'm including 9 players from each team, plus the starting rotation), there is Mat Gamel. He's born in 1985 which is ten years after I was born, so I consider him to be young. I guess he still is in baseball years as well, so he's more difficult to predict. The average of the projections is 430 PA at .325 wOBA (.9 WAR)
Jonathan Lucroy (C)
CAIRO: 367 PA, .311 wOBA (1.5 WAR)
Fans: 533 PA, .312 wOBA (2.9 WAR)
ZiPS: 530 PA, .305 wOBA
Rotochamp: 446 PA, .317 wOBA
Lucroy is even newer to this earth than Gamel, and I remember including him in the projections last year, but did not realize he would be a pretty kickass catcher. It would seem Fans likes his defense, looking at the WAR total. 469 PA at .311 wOBA (2.2 WAR ave)
CAIRO: 381/293 PA, .313/.293 wOBA (.6 WAR/.6 WAR)
Fans: 575/424 PA, .316/.294 wOBA (3.1 WAR/1.6 WAR)
ZiPS: 508/385, .303/.303
RC: 443/295, .323/.301
The Morgan/Gomez tandem would produce 413 PA at .306 wOBA. Morgan's average projection is 477 PA at .314 wOBA, and Gomez's average would be 349 PA at .298. (1.5 WAR)
Before the Brewers' team average, I'd like to mention that the results from the first post's poll, which is your favorite projection system, is as follows at this time: 34% like ZiPS the most; 20% voted for the Fans community projection system; 17% voted for a system not included in this series of articles, or "Other"; 13% voted for consensus including myself; and 10% liked the simulation based CAIRO projections. RotoChamp, which I actually almost voted for, received 3%.
Which brings us to some quick definitions:
CAIRO is kinda awesome:
the CAIRO system starts with a basic Marcel projection model, but then includes minor league statistics, adjusts for park and league effects, adjusts the aging curve depending upon the statistic, takes age and position into account when regressing a player’s performance, and uses four years of data instead of three. These projections are then put into the Diamond Mind simulator, and team projections are estimated using the results of 50,000 simulations. 2011 projections can be found here.
Fans is awesome too, if a little overly optimistic:
"wisdom of the crowds" approach at evaluating a player. Fans are asked to fill out ballots on various players, ranking how they expect those players to perform in the upcoming season. Ballots are they compiled and averaged for each player, giving us their Fan projection. These projections are normally quite optimistic, but in some cases they can add real value about players that may follow an unusual career path. They’re also a good way to estimate a player’s potential playing time, which is a variable that most projection systems struggle with.
ZiPS (VEB favorite):
The work of Dan Szymborski over at Baseball Think Factory, the ZiPS projections uses weighted averages of four years of data (three if a player is very old or very young), regresses pitchers based on DIPS theory and BABIP rates, and adjusts for aging by looking at similar players and their aging trends. It’s an effective projection system, and is displayed at FanGraphs for off-season and in-season projections.
RotoChamp has its merits too... I am including this link: RC projections (btw I have included all pop up links)
OK back to the averaged team results of the 2012 Brewers... 3.726 team FIP. 920 innings pitched. 3.56 FIP and 884 for the Cards. But on to the offenses... the Brewers look to have a .331 team wOBA and the Cardinals a .344. Clearly, the Cardinals are ahead in rate stats. 519 PA per player for the Brewers, 487 PA per player... again, the Brewers are perceived to have more endurance than the Cardinals (both in pitching and hitting).
So, the Cardinals are much more efficient in rate stats, but the Brewers are more than likely more endurance oriented regarding the core players of the team. Again, I haven't even considered the bullpens yet, but the clear edge the Cardinals have in Fielding Independent Pitching is most notable when comparing the two teams.
37.9 fWAR for the Brewers, and 46.4 fWAR for the Cards. Going by CAIRO's WAR total, Brewers are at 30.5 and the Cardinals are at 31.1... so depending on which system is used, the Cardinals go from the clearcut better team to a team that is just a tick better than the Brewers (again, leaving out the bullpens for now).
Going by my somewhat arbitrary method of using fangraphs' WAR for pitchers and the average WAR for hitters, the Cards 40.5 average is still clearly greater than 36.55 for the Brewers. Obviously, the Brewers could be a little higher if Aoki produces more than .5 WAR, but he's likely to be more like a 4th outfielder than anything. Other scenarios could pan out like Braun or Greinke having another monster MVP or Cy Young type of year and carrying the team.
Since the Cardinals are the favorites by all three projection methods (even if just barely by the CAIRO WAR projection) it would be safe to assume my next post might be more interesting, since the Reds are perceived as a greater threat this year to win the division. It is informative to see the new Brewers' roster though, and that they are not a weak team by any means even without P. Fielder.
For now the Brewers have replaced the Cubs as our most heated rivalry, while the Cubs rebuild. The Cardinals go to Milwaukee to the Brewers' home opener April 6-8, and the Brewcrew go to St. Louis at the end of April, so the rivalry gets an early start.