Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part I
posted at 12/28/2013 1:21 PM EST
In response to jidgef's comment:
While I am not ready to annoint Tanaka better than Lester going forward, I do think it is a close call. Scouts have been wrong before, but any big signing with long years is a gamble- even a Lester extension at his age.
Couldn't disagree more about individual regressions Boom. One of the most amazing things about last year's run is that it was done without any position player except Ortiz (who's not really a position player at all) having an outstanding or outlier year. True that Nava emerged as a better hitter than ever before but Gomes, Pedey, Middlebrooks all performed below their averages or expectations. And the rest of the regulars like Napoli, Vic, Drew and Salty were very close to career norms. Now I know some of you stat crunchers can pick apart my very general statements, but I tell it like I see it. Only Carp played out of his mind last year and could come back to earth ( we could also be looking at his new normal although I doubt it.) and Ortiz could regress slightly with age. I do believe we are perhaps underestimating the impact of losing Jacoby, although I never would have paid him more than two-thirds of what the Yankees are paying him.
Amongst the pitchers, Uehara and Buchholz both had outlier seasons. I look for Uehara to come back down to earth some, although his career numbers have always been quite good. As for Buck, I predicted coming out of spring training that he would be a Cy Young contender and he was until he broke down. He is a mystery in that he has some of the nastiest stuff in MLB and maybe just has to learn that not everybody goes to work every day feeling 100% perfect and to deal with it. And Boom about your point about taking Tanaka over Lester, how about waiting until the guy has thrown a pitch on this side of the Pacific before putting him into the HOF. He's pitched to the equivalent of A and AA hitters his entire career! He may turn out to be the real deal but John Lester IS the real deal. He is a workhorse, he's in his prime, he's proven himself on the biggest stage possible and he has one of the best winning percentages in the history of MLB! And you'd cast him aside for a $20mil per year AA pitcher??
On possible declines from Uehara and Buch, I do not disagree, but even if we get 80% of 2013 production from both of them, but over a full season not partial (in Uehara's case, I mean as a closer for the full season).
I'm really psyched about the 2014 pitching staff. I will break it down pitcher by pitcher soon, but in short, here is the "on paper" changes from 2013 to 2014.
1) Uehara as the closer wire to wire, but perhaps used more sparingly.
2) Buchholz, Miller and others expected good health.
3) Peavy for a full season and not just 10 games started.
Lost from 2013:
IP Pitcher ERA/WHIP
37 Aceves 4.86/1.730
30 Mortnsn 5.34/1.582
29 Bailey 3.77/1.221
25 Morales 4.62/1.539
15 Thorntn 3.52/1.761
11 de la Torre 6.35/1.765
10 P Beato 3.60/1.400
7.1 Hanrahn 9.82/2.182
1.0 D Bard 9.00/3.000
That's about 165 IP of combined pretty awful pitching lost.
Also, I expect better or different roles (expanded or reduced) from these 2013 numbers: (besides Uehara and Peavy)
42 Workman 4.97/1.416
31 A Miller 2.64/1.370
30 Webster 8.60/1.813
28 A Wilson 4.88/1.735
21 Britton 3.86/1.333
13 Wright 5.40/1.575
11 de la Rosa 5.56/1.500
0 Ranaudo, Barnes, Hinojosa, Owens
171 Dempster (probable reduced role)
That's about 350 IP or 500 total replaced or adjusted.
Replace or adjust these innings with more from Peavy, Buchholz, maybe Doubront, and Miller plus these additions:
Ed Mujica: 65 IP 2.78 ERA/ 1.005 WHIP (37 saves)
Badenhop: 62 IP 3.47/1.187
The pitching staff should be much better than 2013, and 2013 was pretty darn good!