FanPost

The Bill James System Projections - WAR Edition

Following up on blue bulldog's excellent fanpost, and the Bill James System Projections for the 2011 season, I decided to plug the numbers into my trusty WAR calculator, and see how many wins the projections translate to.

First of all, please do not take this as a prediction that the DBacks will win 'X' games next year. It will only tell you that if the players perform as projected, with no injuries and neutral luck (ha!), the DBacks would be expected to win a certain amount of games.

Calculating WAR

 

I'll be using FanGraphs version of WAR for this exercise, largely because it's simple and they already added the Bill James numbers to the player pages. The calculation is explained in detail here.

A couple of notes. Since I have no idea what baseline Bill James used (i.e. what is average), I used NL averages for 2010 for pitchers and hitters. For defense, I used Totalzone projections from August, taken from here.

Hitting

I went with the players we have as of now, so everything might change based on trades, free agents signings etc. Let's start with the data and work from there:

Pos

Name

PA

Bat

Defense

Position

Replacement

WAR

C

Montero

444

6.5

-5

9

15

2.6

1B

Allen

559

10

-3

-12

18

1.3

2B

Johnson

589

13

2

2.5

19

3.7

3B

Reynolds

606

13

-3

2.5

20

3.3

SS

Drew

655

6.5

-7

8

22

3

LF

Parra

435

1.5

4.5

-6

14

1.4

CF

Young

637

8

3

2.5

21

3.5

RF

Upton

603

24

8

-7.5

20

4.5

IF

Abreu

238

-5.5

-0.5

1

8

0.3

OF

Gillespie

222

-0.5

-0.5

-3

7.5

0.4

PA is the number of plate appearances in the projection. The 'Bat' column represents batting runs above average, taken as the 'wRAA' column in the FanGraphs page and park adjusted (take away around 5 runs per 700 PA for Chase Field). Defense, as I wrote earlier, is from TotalZone, and it's scaled to playing time, as are the Positional and Replacement adjustments.

I couldn't find the projections for Hester, Ryal etc., but since they were largely at replacement level last year, we can keep them there for now. This comes out at 24 WAR for our position players. Not bad.

Pitching

Again, these are the players we currently have, who were included in the Bill James Projections.

Name

FIP

IP

WAR

Kennedy

3.99

194

3.1

Hudson

4.14

201

2.9

Saunders

4.47

215

2.2

Enright

4.61

144

1.3

Bullpen

Demel

3.44

45

0.6

Carrasco

4.01

72

0.4

Boyer

4.08

60

0.3

Sweeney

3.82

43

0.2

Gutierrez

4.38

56

0.1

Vasquez

4.71

52

-0.2

This comes out at around 11 wins.

Putting it all together

35 WAR added to the 48 games a replacement team is projected to win gives us an 83-79 record. If that sounds very optimistic for a 65 win team, consider the fact that we underperformed our WAR significantly the last couple of years.

So, according to Bill James' projections, a winning season is possible. But can we get to the 90 or so wins it takes to get to the playoffs? Adding a 2 WAR starter and a 1.5 WAR closer gets us halfway, but we'd need a monster bat to get the other half. Considering the LF/1B positions yield 1.5 WAR each, we would need a 5 WAR player to get to 90 WAR. Werth? Crawford? I'll leave that to your imagination.

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