Looking to 2012: Reviewing the Starters

Over the past few days, I’ve been looking over the Bill James projections for the Reds starters. Let’s take a moment at look at those projections…

You will notice I put the totals from Reds starters for last season in the table as well.

A few things do pop out at you.

First, the projections for Latos are pre-trade meaning they were derived with the basis of Petco being his home park. As I covered in his individual post, Latos does sport better numbers away from Petco, but the projections are what they are. More on that in a bit.

The next thing you notice is the absence of Aroldis Chapman. That’s because his projections are with him performing solely as a reliever. Now the fans have taken his potential starter status into consideration. I find this a little strange since it was announced pretty early after the season ended that the Reds goal was to move Chapman into a starter’s role.

Even if that were the case, on what would James (or anyone else for that matter) have to go on in order to come up with any type of projection? All you have is the numbers from his days with the Cuban team and his days of pitching in the Cuban leagues. Not much to go on there due to the disparity in talent.

So what did we lean from the projections?

1. Johnny Cueto will regress back to a crossbreed of his 2009 and 2010 seasons. I suppose to a great extent we are to take the 2011 was in fact an anomaly. Not sure I buy that 100%.
2. Repeating, the number for Mat Latos are “inspired” by Petco Park. I would guess that most of his numbers would lean a little worse if the had been constructed with GABP as his home park.
3. Bronson Arroyo will somewhat return to his 2010 form, but not quite. The gopher ball won’t be a prominent.
4. Mike Leake will regress, too with the James projections seemingly taking an average between his first two seasons instead of showing even the slightest of improvements.
5. Homer Bailey will show the slightest of improvements. I wonder how long he will be in the rotation

I get that pitching in Petco Park helps pitchers. I think that is a fact that we all will agree upon. Where I disagree with the projections the Reds starters received, sans Latos, is I in no way see any type of “reward” for the Reds offense. Sure, pitching at GABP will heighten numbers, but shouldn’t a team’s offense figure into this as it pertains to records? I’m not saying a pitchert’s win-loss record is an end all, be all type of stat, but something’s amiss here. I suppose that if offense did matter then Latos would not have been projected for 15 wins as the Padres offense is not as potent as the Reds.

Call me silly on this, but the “Petco Latos” is projected with 15 wins. I can see him matching that even with GABP as his home turf and having the benefit of the Reds offense. I can also see Johnny Cueto, provided he’s healthy, match that 15 win total as well. Yes, there are other factors besides health that will figure in (continues to matures as a pitcher like he displyed last season, doesn’t regress back to being a thrower as I believe the projections partially portray), but it seems to me that these projections are less than flattering.

Then again, these are only projections so maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill.

To check out the individual posts:
Johnny Cueto
Mat Latos
Bronson Arroyo
Mike Leake
Homer Bailey

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