Thursday, September 29, 2011

Playoff Predictions: Texas versus Tampa Bay

Before the numbers, because I picked the Rangers to go to the World Series, I have the Rangers winning the series.
I expect Texas to run out: Wilson (.148 WAR per start, -1.87 PE), Lewis (.061 WAR per start, .51 PE), Holland (.55 PE, .081 WAR per Start), and Harrison (.13 WAR per Start, 1.17 PE) as starting pitchers. Their projected bullpen looks like this Ogando (3.4 WAR, .3 PE), Feliz (-1.8 PE, .8 WAR), Gonzalez (-.55 PE, .2 WAR) , Adams (-5.24 PE, 1.7 WAR), Uejara (1.2 WAR, -7.09 PE), Oliver (-2.01 PE, 1.2 WAR), Feldman (.98 PE, .2 WAR), and Tateyama (.1 WAR, -.92 PE). Their lineup will probably look like (in no particular order): Hamilton (.03 WAR per game, 1.723 PPG, 2.42 PAPP), Cruz (.011 WAR per Game, 1.52 PPG, 2.74 PAPP), Murphy (2.74 PAPP, .966 PPG, Negative WAR), Napoli (2.13 PAPP, .045 WAR per game, 1.504 PPG), Kinsler (2.39 PAPP, 1.67 PPG, .035 WAR per Game), Andrus (.024 WAR per game, 1.32 PPG, 2.68 PAPP) Beltre (1.76 PPG, .043 WAR per game, 2.63 PAPP), Torreabla (.006 WAR per game, .75 PPG, 3.14 PAPP), and Young (.015 WAR per game, 2.5 PAPP, 1.33 PPG).

Tampa will probably run out these starters: Shields (.185 WAR a start, -2.11 PE), Price (-2.06 PE, .124 WAR per start) Neimann (.048 WAR per start, .79 PE), and Hellickson (.141 WAR per start, .62 PE). Their lineup should be this (in no order): Upton (.025 WAR per game, 1.45 PPG, 2.52 PAPP), Jennings (.037 WAR per game, 2.45 PAPP, 1.58 PPG), Joyce (.022 WAR per game, 1.25 PPG, 2.5 PAPP), Damon (.019 WAR per game, 1.25 PPG, 2.79 PAPP), Kotchman (.02 WAR per game, 2.67 PAPP, .71 PPG), Zobrist (2.511 PAPP, .032 WAR per game, 1.47 PPG), Longoria (.045 WAR per game, 2.53 PAPP, 1.54 PPG), Rodriquez (3.29 PAPP, .75 PPG, .018 WAR per game), and Jaso (.0022 WAR per game, 3.25 PAPP, .66 PPG).The bullpen should include Farnsworth (.9 WAR, -2.71 PE), Howell (-.5 WAR, 2.64 PE), Moore (-7.85 PE, .4 WAR), Peralta (-2.41 PE, .8 WAR), Davis (.9 WAR, 3.31 PE), Cruz (0 WAR, -1.22 PE), Gomes (.2 WAR, -1.13 PE), McGhee (-.2 WAR, 0 PE).
The Rays clearly have the better starting pitching staff in both Wins After Replacement and Pitching Efficiency. However, the Rangers have a much better bullpen in both statistics. The Rays lineup actually has a slightly better WAR per game, and that could probably be explained by defense. As expected though, the Rangers lineup has a significantly better PPG, and a better PAPP. So according to the statistics, this is two differently styled teams, but they seem to be evenly matched. So it is the ultimate never-dying baseball question, would you rather have the better offense and bullpen, or the better fielding and starting pitching? The ironic thing is that both managers Joe Maddon and Ron Washington preach pitching and defense. As we saw last year with the San Francisco Giants, starting pitching wins championships. However, they also had a very good bullpen, and Texas has the better bullpen in this series. Also, one should consider that the Rays rotation will be out of order because of the way the season ended. It appears Niemann will go against Wilson in game 1, which is a clear advantage for the Rangers (one could counter that is likely Shields will go against Holland or something like this, which would be an advantage for the Rays). These teams went all 5 games in the ALDS last year, and it appears they will again, this is an evenly matched series, so neither team winning would surprise me. However, I am going to pick Rays to win the series after looking at the numbers.

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