Wednesday, February 8, 2012

02.06.12 - UCB Roundtable: Question #1

(please excuse the technical difficulties resulting in poor layout/color publishing)

A couple times a year, the United Cardinal Bloggers participate in a roundtable discussion, and ask each other questions for a few weeks.  Each day, one member poses one (fairly specific) question to the group.  The group answers the question, and usually more discussion is sparked by topics that branch off from there, making for an interesting email thread.  At the end of the day (or at some point afterwards), the responses are collected and posted on the question-asking member's blog.  I was fortunate enough to have drawn the leadoff spot for this particular roundtable discussion, and in a related story, there was no shortage of responses.

The question I posed was as follows:  "What do you expect out of the projected front three starters (Carpenter, Wainwright, Garcia) in regular season wins and innings pitched, from each of those three?".  I gave my answer, and throughout the day, received 18 responses with the opinions of others, including a couple of responses via twitter.  As I mentioned before, other discussions are often sparked, and topics branch off the original question--this was no different. Some of those discussions led to me to add a little context here before posting all the responses, as to minimize misinterpretation...etc of the topic.

First, my direct quotes from the initial question:

Roughly 50 weeks ago Cardinal nation held their collective breath, wondering about the health of Adam Wainwright.  Everyone was on pins and needles until those two dreaded words were spoken: "Tommy John".  Fast forward to now: 1s & 2s will report to 2012 Spring Training in a matter of days, and all eyes will be on Waino, to see how he looks.  No LaRussa looking on, no Duncan, and certainly no shortage of speculation.  The rotation will play a tremendous part of the success of this club in 2012 (as it always does).

Last year, Carp threw a career high 2731/3  total innings, at the age of 36.  Jamie Garcia, in his 2nd full year with the club last year, threw 2201/3, after going only 1631/3 in his 2010 rookie season.  Lohse & Westbrook threw 200+ and 185+ IP in 2011, and while that's short of the career high for both of them, the rotation doesn't rely as heavily on starters number 4 & 5 as it does 1, 2, & 3.

Given the circumstances of Carp, Waino, & Garcia, heading into the 2012 season, I'd ask this: What do you expect out of the projected front three starters in regular season wins & innings pitched from each of those three?  As always, you're free to expand on your answers and give the reasons why you answered the way you did, or include additional comments.  Looking forward to your responses.

--end of quote

There's more to the conversations that followed than just the pure numbers, but for this post, I'll share the responses and a few numbers at the end.  Instances were multiple answers were given ("I think Wainwright wins between 10 and 13 this year"), the range will be displayed.  Responses are displayed as "W / IP"

Let's start with the horse...

14/195 - Shoptaw
16/204 - Noles
15/195 - Knuppel (T)
13-14/200+ - DeRousse
15/210 - Carelli
15/215 - Reynolds
8/79 - Giles
14/225 - Knuppel (R)
14/<200 - Netherton
16/190 - Tomasiks
15-16/185 - Reed
13/205 - Mallonee
13/210 - Nick @ PH8
15/187 - Whitener
15/187 - Adams (via twitter)
13/210 - Wagner (via twitter)
13/190 - Powell

High W: 16 (3: Noles, Tomasiks, Reed)
High IP: 225 (Knuppel, R)
Low W: 8 (Giles)
Low IP: 79 (Giles)
Avg W: 15.72
Avg IP: 193.28

17/210 - Shoptaw
15/198 - Noles
10/165 - Knuppel (T)
11/170 - DeRousse
12/175 - Carelli
15/205 - Reynolds
13/168 - Giles
14/182 - Knuppel (R)
10/165 - Netherton
15/175 - Tomasiks
11-12/180 - Reed
13/160 - Mallonee
14/175 - Nick @ PH8
17/205 - Whitener
18/180 - Adams (via twitter)
20/230 - Wagner (via twitter)
14/175 - Powell

High W: 20 (Wagner)
High IP: 230 (Wagner)
Low W: 10 (2: Knuppel, T., Netherton)
Low IP: 160 (Mallonee)
Avg W: 14.36
Avg IP: 185

14/202.3 - Shoptaw
15/205 - Noles
18/209 - Knuppel (T)
16-18/220 - DeRousse
17/205 - Carelli
14/200 - Reynolds
18/196 - Giles
16/198 - Knuppel (R)
20/220+ - Netherton
18/199 - Tomasiks
18/210 - Reed
14/190 - Mallonee
16/200 - Nick @ PH8
14/189 - Whitener
16/180 - Adams (via twitter)
12/195 - Wagner (via twitter)
16/197 - Powell

High W: 20 (Netherton)
High IP: 220+ (Netherton)
Low W: 12 (Wagner)
Low IP: 180 (Adams)
Avg W: 16.17
Avg IP: 201.13

I suppose you may have noticed that my name didn't appear in those lists.  It's true, I saved mine for last (though, did include my submissions into compiling the average, as well as high/low considerations).  Mine?

29 - 15/192
50 - 19/212
54 - 18/204

A few points that came up during the discussion that I'd like to briefly address are outlined below, as well as some light explanations and thought processes as to how I arrived at my somewhat Kool-aid-esque guesses.
  1. It was brought up that "wins", as a stat, weren't a great stat in determining a pitcher's effectiveness.  I couldn't agree more, and I'll bet Felix Hernandez agrees.  I've got this saying I use a lot, "Numbers don't lie, it's true.  But they rarely tell the whole story."  I wanted to keep things fairly clean & simple in this format, though, so I went with W & IP.
  2. You may not be aware, that during the 2011 season, Jamie Garcia exited the game in line for the win, but didn't get it (via blown save, for example) on 9 different occasions!  (Most in MLB)  Outside of some mental issues that come with the territory of his youth & general inexperience at the major league level, Garcia pitched very well in 2011, though his record may not reflect that fully*.  *see "wins" argument from two seconds ago.
  3. In 2010 Garcia came back from Tommy John surgery, and pitched so well that he worked his way into the ROY conversation.  An exceptional 2010 rookie class would deny him the honor, but what a statement that makes.  In 2012 Adam Wainwright will come back from Tommy John surgery, and while everyone responds differently to surgical procedures, I believe that Adam Wainwright is a better pitcher (with better "stuff") than Garcia.  This was one of the primary reasons behind my high expectations for #50 in 2012.
  4. I tend to think win totals are likely to be higher across the board with this rotation in 2012, based on the offense they'll have supporting them.  Pujols struggled in 2011, especially early.  The bullpen tried their hardest throughout April to mathematically eliminate the Cards from postseason possibilities.  Not to mention, the Cards didn't have Beltran, or a full season of contributions from a healthy Matt Holliday (124 Games in 2011) or David Freese (97 Games in 2011).  I think it's safe to say the offense will be at least as potent as it was last season, likely more so.  Add to that a National League Central that has no Prince Fielder (and probably missing Braun until late May), and questions about power & offense in every other NLC city, save maybe Cincinnati, and I think that rising tide lifts all boats.

Anyway, not that I feel the need to defend my admittedly optimistic predictions, but I thought giving a bit of context might help shed some light & understanding on the numbers, and why I chose the ones I did.  Thanks for reading!  Be sure to check out RetroSimba for UCB Roundtable question #2!

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