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2009 Projected Reds Wins (with the current roster)

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I'm going to venture out into unfamiliar territory a bit here, so forgive me if I really screw this up.  Inspired by this post at Beyond the Boxscore, I thought I might try to see where the Reds currently stand in terms of projected win total.  I have to say that it looks a lot better than I expected.

NOTE: WAR is Wins Above Replacement.  Essentially it means, given the amount of playing time that is projected (PA) at the performance level that is projected (wOBA, DEF), how many wins does this player add to the team over your typical AAAA, league minimum player?  This includes both offensive and defensive projections.  The average player is about 2 wins over replacement in the NL.

wOBA is Weighted On Base Average.  It is a rate statistic that estimates the number of runs a player generates per plate appearance, but it has been scaled to look like On Base Percentage (ie. .400 is great, .335 is average, .300 is bad).  wRAA is the runs above average that a player generates based upon his wOBA and number of plate appearances.  DEF is the players defensive runs saved above average.  Pos Adj is an adjustment made to compensate for the fact that certain positions are harder to play than others.

Player PA wOBA wRAA DEF Pos Adj WAR
Ramon Hernandez 420 .319 -4.7 -1.2 0.75 1.38
Ryan Hanigan 280 .319 -3.2 0.8 0.50 1.07
Joey Votto 609 .371 20.5 2.6 -1.09 2.85
Brandon Phillips 588 .323 -4.4 5.9 0.21 2.03
Jeff Keppinger 462 .322 -4.2 -4.6 0.17 0.65
Alex Gonzalez 413 .313 -7.0 1.2 0.15 0.77
Edwin Encarnacion 588 .353 10.9 -11.8 0.21 1.81
Chris Dickerson 462 .345 5.1 -4.0 0.17 1.59
Jay Bruce 602 .354 11.3 1.7 -0.65 2.32
Laynce Nix 350 .307 -7.6 -0.5 -0.38 -0.15
Norris Hopper 420 .325 -2.6 3.3 -0.30 0.97
Danny Richar 210 .314 -3.4 0.0 0.08 0.35
Adam Rosales 140 .317 -1.9 0.0 0.05 0.27
Total 5544 15.93

A couple of notes on this list:

  • Projections are based off of an average of Marcel, Bill James, and Chone.  I calculated a runs above average based on 700 plate appearances for each projected wOBA.  I then averaged those together and then reversed that into a wOBA based upon a league average wOBA of .332 (last season's NL average OBP).  I stopped doing the math myself on this stuff a year or two ago because I frequently screw it up.  I hope I didn't here, but who knows?
  • I based the WAR (wins above replacement) calculation on this post by tangotiger.  This means that replacement level is 2 wins below average for every 700 PAs in the NL.
  • The defense value is based off of projections from Chone Smith (found here).   Defensive stats are not completely precise.  Projections are not precise.  Defensive projections are not...well you get the idea.  For the catchers, I took Justin's 3 year average for Ramon Hernandez and just pulled Ryan Hanigan's out of my ass.
  • The playing time projections are completely my own.  The big problem that I see with them is that we have 4 players with 580 plate appearances or more.  That has happened twice for the Reds in the last 28 seasons.  Suffice to say that it is unlikely that all four will stay healthy or remain in the lineup for the entire season.  If someone has a good argument as to who to adjust playing time wise, I'm open to suggestions.
  • Don't focus too much on the names on the bench.  Players like Nix, Rosales, and Richar are only intended to represent that quality of player.  Unless you think there is someone else that can seriously outperform those numbers just imagine your favorite bench player in that placeholder.

As for the results, the WAR for the non-pitchers was actually better than I expected, but is still nowhere near playoff caliber.  This guy did something similar for the Brewers and has them at 20.56 WAR for non pitchers.  This guy has the A's at 23.17, which honestly seems a bit high.  At least the Dodgers don't look to be in any better shape.

Pitchers after the jump...

I handled pitchers in a similar fashion to hitters.  I estimated playing time based on my best guess.  I actually think Harang will go over 200 IP, but I docked him a bit until we know for sure that he's healthy.  I split time as starter and reliever for Owings (75 IP as start, 50 IP as reliever).

Pitcher IP ERA WAR
Aaron Harang 190 4.14 2.70
Edinson Volquez 190 3.88 3.32
Bronson Arroyo 200 4.38 2.26
Johnny Cueto 175 4.51 1.70
Micah Owings 125 4.51 0.72
Matt Maloney 45 4.46 0.46
Homer Bailey 25 4.95 0.12
Daryl Thompson 10 4.77 0.07
Ramon Ramirez 12 4.28 0.15
Francisco Cordero 65 3.56 0.79
Jared Burton 70 3.96 0.41
Bill Bray 70 4.03 0.36
David Weathers 65 4.24 0.14
Mike Lincoln 60 4.18 0.17
Arthur Rhodes 40 3.68 0.40
Josh Roenicke 30 4.42 -0.04
Daniel Ray Herrera 30 4.56 -0.10
Total 1402 13.91

It looks to me like the starters could rank fairly well in comparison to other staffs, but the bullpen isn't going to be all that much help.  Given the unpredictable nature of bullpens, maybe the Reds will get lucky and see some over the top performances for a couple of players, but even with that we're only talking about a couple of wins.

Those that aren't faimilar with this stuff may be wondering what it all means.  Well, the bottom line is that based on these projections, which I feel are still a tad optimistic (health-wise at least), the Reds are currently an 80-win team.  Replacement level for a team is 50 wins, and the Reds are 15.93 + 13.91 = 29.84 wins above replacement, or 80 wins. 

The question now is, if this data is accurate, would it be worth it to spend some big bucks or big prospects to pick up a top notch player and try to get to an 85 win projection and hope for the best?  For reference sake, my calculations put Jermaine Dye at 1.81 WAR and Adrian Beltre at 2.85 WAR.