Thursday, March 30, 2006

And so it begins

The vogue among sportwriters - whom as well all know, are never wrong - is to pick the Blue Jays finishing in the East ahead of the Sox. You know, the "Sox have too many question marks" thing - as if the Yankees and Blue Jays don't have any of their own. Four days before the season begins, Burnett's going on the DL- JP's gotta be thrilled.

What is it with these former Marlins starters? Pavano, Penny, Burnett...hopefully Beckett will be the exception, but suddenly I'm not so optimistic.


  1. The thing to me that is most annoying in this bandwagon-esque trend is that some people quote that the Jays underachieved thier Pythagorean Win total last year. True enough. But using that info is what happens when you give people a little info - enough to be dangerous, but you lose site of the big picture.

    So the Jays "should have" won 88 games last instead of the actual 80 they did. so take the 88, add a full season from Halladay, Aj burnett for (perhaps) 32, now 30 starts, Overbay, glaus, a closer, and take away O-Hud and, voila, you have added the 7-8 wins to make the jump.

    The trouble is if you want to talk about "should haves," you can't ignore that they really scored WAY more runs than they should have. Based on their expected runs (from their hit, walk, HR rates), they actually were right in line with their 80 win season if you plug expected runs into their pythagorean. So sure, they will be improved. They may even get to their 88 wins, but 2nd place is a bit of stretch.

    Reminds me of the Mets getting Pedro and Beltran last year and all of sudden they were supposed to go from 83 wins to winning the division.

  2. X - that's simplistic too, though. Leaving aside what I think are potential problems with using expected runs instead of actual runs in that equation, and proceeding from the 80-win mark, I can see the Jays making that jump. The Halladay injury last year cost them probably 4 or 5 wins, all told; maybe more, considering the damage it did to the bullpen. Now all of a sudden you're talking about 85 wins before Burnett, Ryan, Glaus and Overbay. Adding the hitters, you get two guys who address the Jays power outage pretty significantly. Combine that with the fact that a decent number of Jays position players were pretty young, and therefore can be expected to improve - among them Rios, Adams, and Hill. Vernon Wells stands a decent shot of a breakout this year also - PECOTA agrees. So, we can expect a pretty big step forward from the offense. the bullpen was already very strong, and Ryan makes it stronger. If Burnett can shake off early season injuries, the rotation improves by 2 or so runs every 5 days. Towers and Chacin will probably revert to mean, though I don't think Towers will as much as other people think he will. But at the very least, you have significant improvement in the offense, good improvement in the pitching (rotation and bullpen), and Halladay's recovery added onto 80 wins. That could easily add up to 92 wins, and could add up to more. I think the low 90's is a pretty good mark at which to set the Jays. I don't think that will give them second, but I think that's a fair spot to project them at.

  3. We are not that far off. I think they are good for 87-88 wins. My point was that when people use something like expected wins they are playing a theortetical game. And they conveniently ignore (or in the case of many of these writers, they don't even know about it) part of the theory that does not support their argument.

    The problem is a SABRE becomes more mainstream, it gets misused.

  4. So selig has begun his witch hunt. Of course the whole thing is a folly, but anything that has a good chance of pissing off Sheff is a good thing. Even if the players (or in reality only certain players) rights are likely to be trampled.

  5. What I love is that it'll take so long, Bonds will pass Aaron's record before it's done. If anything, this might give him motivation to get all those home runs SOON.

  6. X - I'm just rejecting the part of the argument that puts expected runs inside the pythagorean theory. It's not there. expected runs are a much more theoretical issue, based on historical averages of run-creating events. I have problems with them as any form of substitute for actual runs. The Pythagorean theorem for baseball was derived using actual runs scored and runs allowed, not theoretical averages, and I think it's an important distinction. In other words, the question of 'how many runs the Jays should have scored' is a great deal more uncertain than the question of how many wins they should have had.