Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 30, 2004
BASEBALL: 2004 NL West Established Win Shares Report

At long last, I've gotten back around to finishing another Established Win Shares Levels report, this one for the NL West. It's not looking so hot for getting the other two divisions up before the non-Japanese part of the MLB schedule opens up on April 6, but I'll do what I can, and hope to have the whole thing wrapped by the first week of the season. If you're just joining this enterprise in progress, you can start by checking out my prior reports:

*Top 25 Players in Baseball and explanation of EWSL method

*AL West EWSL Report & explanation of team method

*AL East EWSL Report & slight modification to team method

*AL Central EWSL Report

Recall that the projected win totals are probably a bit on the low side, in part because I only list 23 players, and that these aren't really projections at all, so much as estimates of how much established major league talent is on each roster. On to the Mild, Mild West:

San Francisco Giants

Adjusted EWSL: 242.5 (81 wins)
Unadjusted EWSL: 232.5 (78 wins)
Weighted Age: 32.547

PosPlayerEWSLAge
CAPierzynski1927
1BJSnow1236
2BRDurham1832
SSNPerez831
3BEAlfonzo1930
RFMTucker933
CFMGrissom1737
LFBBonds4539
UTPFeliz529
C2YTorrealba#625
INFCRansom+328
OFDMohr#828
13JHammonds633
SP1JSchmidt1631
SP2KRueter833
SP3JWilliams*922
SP4BTomko531
SP5DHermanson331
CLRNen734
R2FRodriguez831
R3MHerges634
R4JChristiansen134
R5SEyre432

Like the AL Central, this is a weak division, and its members don't even have the benefit of fattening up against the Tigers. The Giants are the best team in the division on paper, although the age and injury histories of many key players makes them a big risk, as we've seen already with the injuries to Schmidt, Nen and (surprise, surprise) Hammonds. These guys are one major Barry Bonds inury away from being way under .500, and aside from Jerome Williams, it's hard to see anyone on this team who's likely to improve in 2004.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Adjusted EWSL: 239.5 (80 wins)
Unadjusted EWSL: 206 (69 wins)
Weighted Age: 31.517

PosPlayerEWSLAge
CRHammock*627
1BRSexson2429
2BRAlomar1736
SSACintron*1425
3BSHillenbrand1228
RFDBautista632
CFSFinley1939
LFLGonzalez2736
UTCBaerga435
C2BMayne836
INFMKata*826
OFGColbrunn334
13BEstelalla429
SP1RJohnson1740
SP2BWebb*1725
SP3EDessens1033
SP4SReynolds436
SP5SSparks538
CLMMantei830
R2OVillereal*1122
R3JValverde*1124
R4BVillafuerte#228
R5CFossum426

I've listed Hammock as the starting catcher, but of course he's not ready to start the season (ditto for the brittle Fossum). The D-Backs are actually building a base of useful young players, although to stay in contention the team is still heavily dependent on Randy Johnson and the rest of the geriatrics on the roster. This is another schizophrenic team, trying to half contend and half rebuild (hence the decision to dump Schilling but retain Johnson and Gonzalez, resign Finley as a free agent and sign Alomar). Alomar's EWSL seems inflated, since it includes his 37-Win Share campaign in 2001, which in his case seems particularly ancient history. . . . the D-Backs get a lot of value from the Brothers V in the bullpen, although it remains to be seen how much of that can be repeated from 2003, and the same goes for Cintron and Webb. This looks to me like a better team than the Giants, although as with the Giants, everything hinges on the health of the team's oldest player.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Adjusted EWSL: 229 (76 wins)
Unadjusted EWSL: 221.3 (74 wins)
Weighted Age: 29.905

PosPlayerEWSLAge
CPLoDuca2132
1BRVentura1536
2BACora1228
SSCIzturis824
3BABeltre1525
RFSGreen2631
CFDRoberts1032
LFJEncarnacion1328
UTBTrammell732
C2DRoss*427
INFJCabrera631
OFJGiambi729
13MKinkade231
SP1HNomo1535
SP2OPerez927
SP3KIshii#630
SP4JWeaver827
SP5EJackson+520
CLEGagne2028
R2GMota830
R3PShuey733
R4WAlvarez634
R5DDreifort232

The decision to put Green back in the outfield makes all sorts of sense; he's the franchise player, and is as good a bet as any major star to have a big bounce back season in 2004. The Dodgers have a lot of upside in terms of guys like Beltre and Weaver and Perez who may yet pull out of recent tailspins, plus promising rookie Edwin Jackson; what that adds up to is the youngest team in the division. This remains a poor offensive team; the starting rotation doesn't look great, Gagne's unlikely to repeat his monster year, they'll miss Quantrill . . . for all that, the Dodgers are basically about as good as anybody else in this division.

San Diego Padres

Adjusted EWSL: 219.8 (73 wins)
Unadjusted EWSL: 202.7 (68 wins)
Weighted Age: 30.728

PosPlayerEWSLAge
CRHernandez1628
1BPNevin1433
2BMLoretta1732
SSKGreene+1024
3BSBurroughs#1023
RFBGiles2833
CFJPayton1331
LFRKlesko2233
UTJCirillo734
C2TWilson#533
INFBBuchanan530
OFTLong1228
13RVazquez#1227
SP1DWells1341
SP2BLawrence828
SP3JPeavy#523
SP4AEaton426
SP5SHitchcock233
CLTHoffman436
R2JWitasick431
R3AOtsuka+332
R4AOsuna531
R5SLinebrink#327

The Padres have an image as a young team thanks to three starting pitchers and the left side of their infield. While those guys do form the building blocks for a 2006-2009 contender, they're neither enough to build a dominant team from, nor are they the core of a winner yet (Peavy's the only one of the starters I have much enthusiasm for, although they could be improved if Dennis Tankersley is ready to join the rotation soon). This is also a potential breakout year for Burroughs, but he'll need to show more patience and power. The Pads are everyone's favorite sleeper contender, and in this division they will have a shot, but to do so, they'll be relying heavily on the over-30 crowd. On the other hand, because EWSL doesn't adjust for the upper limit on a team's at bats, the number above may be overstated a bit by the Pads having two bench players (Vazquez and Long) who were everyday regulars until this season.

Colorado Rockies

Adjusted EWSL: 173.7 (58 wins)
Unadjusted EWSL: 157.7 (53 wins)
Weighted Age: 31.411

PosPlayerEWSLAge
CCJohnson1032
1BTHelton3030
2BAMiles+1027
SSRClayton834
3BVCastilla1036
RFLWalker2237
CFPWilson1529
LFJBurnitz1135
UTGAtkins+324
C2TGreene133
INFDJackson530
OFRReyes*026
13KPellow+330
SP1JJennings1025
SP2JKennedy425
SP3SElarton028
SP4SEstes331
SP5JFassero241
CLSChacon726
R2BFuentes628
R3SReed738
R4TWendell437
R5JLopez426

The Rockheads have an unusual number of players who have, as established major leaguers, posted a zero win share season in the past three years, due to injury or just plain ineptitude - Reyes, Kennedy, Elarton, Estes, Fassero, Wendell. The pitching prognonsis is a grim as ever, and Larry Walker's ailing already . . . some guys really are more valuable with Coors behind them; Jay Payton was one, and Preston Wilson's another.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 07:45 AM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Hell yeah. Thanks, Crank, for doing this work. I'm very, very eager to see how this statistical method plays out in terms of accuracy for the season. Injuries and a few other unpredictables will play a little havoc, but this stuff seems to me to be as good as any for real predicting.

One thing you didn't mention in the D-Backs analysis ... a Big Unit return to form (or mostly return to form) significantly raises his Win Shares 'cos last season's performance really dragged his three-year totals down, didn't it?

Clearly, there are other players on other teams with the same circumstances; just seemed worth mentioning in Johnson's case, since he's so crucial. And I'm no D-Backs fan, far from it ... GO GIANTS!

Posted by: Demogenes Aristophanes at April 2, 2004 07:27 PM
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