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How WARlike are the 2011 Diamondbacks?

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Baseball Prospectus have come out with the 2011 edition of their PECOTA projection system. While the details are for subscribers only, Nick Piecoro has written about some of the individual numbers expected from our roster this season [and later in the same piece, gives us a nice hat-tip!]. From this perspective, I think it's also interesting to look at the overall WAR (the expected number of Wins Above a Replacement player - it's an overall measure of production for both pitchers and hitters) the system expects, for those currently seen as likely to be on the 25-man Diamondbacks roster for Opening Day 2011.

So, after the jump, that's just what we'll do, as well as giving our thoughts on the numbers, and whether they seem too low, too high or about right, and what they tell us about the roster options available to Arizona.

Starting line-up
  • C. Miguel Montero 1.7 WAR
  • 1B. Juan Miranda -0.2 WAR
  • 2B. Kelly Johnson 2.2 WAR
  • SS Stephen Drew 2.5 WAR
  • 3B Melvin Mora 1.1 WAR
  • LF Xavier Nady 0.2 WAR
  • CF Chris Young 2 WAR
  • RF Justin Upton 2.2 WAR


  • Tony Abreu 0.5 WAR
  • Henry Blanco 0 WAR
  • Willie Bloomquist* -0.2 WAR
  • Geoff Blum -0.2 WAR
  • Gerardo Parra 0.3 WAR


  • Joe Saunders 1.9 WAR
  • Ian Kennedy 2.6 WAR
  • Daniel Hudson 3.6 WAR
  • Zach Duke* 0.6 WAR
  • Armando Galarraga* 1.5 WAR


  • J.J. Putz 0.9 WAR
  • Juan Gutierrez 0.0 WAR
  • Aaron Heilman -0.1 WAR
  • Mike Hampton 0.6 WAR
  • David Hernandez 1.1 WAR
  • Sam Demel -0.1 WAR
  • Joe Patterson 0.1 WAR

Players marked with a * have WAR currently calculated with the previous team, not the Diamondbacks [this may well be corrected in future releases of the projections]. A few notes on those not listed and other matters. Brandon Allen wouldn't be any improvement over Miranda, or even Bloomquist, as he also rates -0.2 WAR. Cole Gillespie, however, would be an improvement over Parra, Cole being valued at 0.7 WAR. Similarly, John Hester (1.2 WAR) is preferred to Blanco, and Rusty Ryal's 0.8 WAR would make him the best player on our bench...if he weren't currently trying to earn a spot with the Yomiuri Giants.

On the pitching front, PECOTA looks at our depth and rolls its eyes a bit. Barry Enright is projected at 0.6 WAR, with better candidates Kevin Mulvey (1.3) and Micah Owings (1.5 with Cincinnati). It's worth noting that the numbers for hitters are off a minimum of 450 PAs, which seems a bit high for the bench players - if Willie Bloomquist gets that many at-bats this year, we've got problems. On the other hand, the innings pitched for our starters seems low: Saunders is the only one to reach 140 innings. And in case you're wondering, Jarrod Parker is at 1.1 WAR, in just over a hundred innings of work.

Eyeballing the numbers, if they come to pass, it looks like 1B and LF are going to be much the same gurgling vortices of suck we saw in 2010. I would certainly like to hope that one of Miranda and Allen would be better than replacement value this year. It looks like our veteran bench of Blum, Bloomquist and Blanco - whom I'm going to start calling the A.A.R.B's, as opposed to the Killer ones - will only be good for veteran-iness, not actual production. Got to hope we do have some position players producing more than 2.5 WAR: the only year in franchise history we didn't was 2004, and we all know how that ended.

If we add up the numbers, we get the following: starting eight, 11.7 WAR; bench 0.4 WAR; starting pitching, 10.2 WAR; bullpen 2.5 WAR. That totals about 26 WAR, and given that replacement level for last year was deemed to be 45.5 wins, means PECOTA would project - not allowing for injuries or Jarrod Parker - a total of 71 wins or so for the 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks. The offense projects to be worse than last year, but achieving even a certain level of mediocrity from the bullpen would more than cancel this out, so we'd be slightly better overall.

Your thoughts on the numbers, both collectively and individually?