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AZ Community Projections: Pitchers

Here's the second batch where we review our pre-season projections and see how they stacked up against reality. Or, alternatively, laugh at the idiot who said, "I think Arizona's defense this year will be a significant plus, helping our pitchers achieve greater success." What genius came up with that prediction? Ah. That would have been me. :-) We'll also draw a veil over the predictions of 35 homers allowed for Haren [actual figure: 19] or 35 RBI for Owings [final total: six, only three of them for us]. Hey, we never said we were infallible...

Brandon Webb
Exp: ERA 2.95, WHIP 1.13, 19-8
Act: ERA 3.30, WHIP 1.20, 22-7

We were, it seems, hoping for a bit more from our ace, though no-one expected him to pass twenty wins and keep going. This is one where the 'pro' systems beat us: Bill James and Marcel both went for an ERA of 3.39, which is closer than any of us got, though they were further away in victories. manphibian's three ERA and twenty wins was our best guess.

Doug Haren
Exp: ERA 3.66, WHIP 1.24, 15-10
Act: ERA 3.33, WHIP 1.13, 16-8

If Webb fell short, Haren out-performed hopes by almost the same amount, and had a better ERA than anyone predicted, adapting very well to the National League [the weak NL did probably help somewhat]. manphibian nailed this one as well, getting wins on the nose, and seeing a 3.40 ERA in Haren's 2008. No points for the pros here, their composite prediction was all the way up at 3.92.

Randy Johnson
Exp: ERA 3.73, WHIP 1.21, 11-6, IP 136
Act: ERA 3.91, WHIP 1.24, 11-10, IP 184

We got a lot more out of Randy this year than everyone expected - about eight or nine more starts, in fact, as his back held up admirably. The quality of them was a bit more variable, and that's likely what caused his total ERA to be over what we thought. Muu picks up the prize for coming closest here, with a very credible guess of 3.95 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, as well as coming close on strikeouts, just thirteen below the actual figure of 173.

Doug Davis
Exp: ERA 4.49, WHIP 1.48, 12-12
Act: ERA 4.32, WHIP 1.53, 6-8

Our guesses were made before the news of Davis's thyroid broke, which dropped seven starts off his season, so that helps explain the high W-L total we all expected. Ignoring that, I'm claiming this one for myself, because I was only a little above for ERA (4.40) and a little below on WHIP (1.50). manphibian (4.35/1.48) was also very close. Davis getting his walks down (3.95/nine IP compared to 4.43 in 2007) was obviously very helpful.

Micah Owings
Exp: ERA 4.28, WHIP 1.31, 11-10
Act: ERA 5.93, WHIP 1.38, 6-9

Ick. Well, that pretty much sucked, and as none of us came within a run of his actual ERA, I'm declaring there to be no award in this category. Ben [4.75/1.55 8-15] probably was the...least worst. Of course, I don't think any of us saw him being traded to the Reds for Adam Dunn in a post-waiver deal either. Let's just hope that it's not another move that comes back to bite us in the ass down the line.

Moving on the bullpen, we only had three sets of estimates from the SnakePit faithful on which to build our stats - and one of those was just for ERA. To bulk up the numbers a bit, I've also added in numbers from the 'pro' systems in Bill James, Chone, Marcel, MINER and ZIPS, even though this does make the numbers not strictly comparable to those in the other sections.

Brandon Lyon
Exp: ERA 3.81, WHIP 1.34
Act: ERA 4.70, WHIP 1.48

We weren't too far off the actual number of saves, with johngordonma going for 28 and Azreous just one higher - the actual number was 26, good enough for fifth all-time on the franchise single-season list. But everywhere else, Lyon didn't live up to expectations. MINER was the only one to see a WHIP about 1.40; combined with an ERA of 4.08, towards the upper end, they'll take this one.

Tony Peña
Exp: ERA 3.68, WHIP 1.23
Act: ERA 4.33, WHIP 1.34

Generally, we fans expected Peña to be a good deal better than the more 'neutral' systems - consequently, we got burned a good deal more, as he struggled too. MINER again proved the most accurate, predicting a line of 4.30/1.29, though CHONE (4.14/1.33) also deserves credit. None of the fans had him above 3.50, with our average woefully wrong, being all the way down at 3.27.

Chad Qualls
Exp: ERA 3.70, WHIP 1.29
Act: ERA 2.81, WHIP 1.07

A beacon of pleasant surprise out of the bullpen in 2008. Based on performance alone, he justifies the Valverde trade [a good job, since Burke and Gutierrez certainly didn't], though without the gaudy save numbers, of course. Azreous was, by quite some way, the most optimistic and closest, with a predicted ERA of 3.04: Qualls comfortably surpassed even that, and was below four all season.

Juan Cruz
Exp: ERA 3.68, WHIP 1.33
Act: ERA 2.61, WHIP 1.26

johngordonma was the one brave enough to go sub-three for Cruz - Marcel and MINER both went above 4.10. Though relievers are hard to predict, being off by a run and a half is unimpressive, especially as Cruz was pretty much the same as in 2007: strikeouts and walks. Over the past two seasons, he has the 8th-best ERA in the National League among relievers with 100 innings, ahead of five closers with 50 saves in that time: Fuentes, Valverde, Cordero, Hoffman and Gregg.

Doug Slaten
Exp: ERA 3.96, WHIP 1.39
Act: ERA 4.73, WHIP 1.45

Always difficult to assess a LOOGY, when almost half his appearances were less than one inning, leaving his ERA largely at the mercy of others. This was one where we were more pessimistic than the pros, the majority of whom went sub-four for ERA. Azreous was the most pessimistic, at 4.51, and as it turned out, also the most accurate, though I almost nailed the WHIP with a prediction of 1.44.

Edgar Gonzalez
Exp: ERA 4.47, WHIP 1.33
Act: ERA 6.00, WHIP 1.65

Ugh. Even before it was ended prematurely through injury in June, EdGon was not having a season to remember. He did pitch in every inning from the first through to the eighth, swapping from bullpen to starts as needed, but proved equally ineffective for both, posting the same six ERA. Again, with no-one coming anywhere close to the unpleasant reality, I've opted not to award any victory in this category.

We also had numbers for Dustin Nippert, but he was traded away before the season began, so frankly, who cares? In the overall polls here, Brandon Webb winning most victories was entirely expected, getting 80% of the 81 votes cast, no-one else reaching double figures. However, our concerns about the pen were foreshadowed through the Best Bullpen ERA poll, where Lyon rated only 10% - less than actual winner, Cruz (12%). Both, however, trailed Qualls (27%) and Peña (41%) by a substantial margin.