Yes, I agree fully that Burnitz is a product of Coors field. I guess considering the alternatives in the free market, they could have done a lot worse. Then again, not trading Sosa would have been a lot better from a baseball stand point. I also don't understand how missing one game, which he was fined and disciplined for, is worthy of immediate expulsion, but anyway. This Burnitz thing is worthy of an update to the Cubs forecast. BP did an article yesterday on the Sosa trade, and also laying out the Mets lineup later in the article (been there, done that).
So here's the revised table for the Cubbies.
2004 Roster Pos Name PA VORP C Michael Barrett 506 31.0 1B Derrek Lee 688 43.3 2B Todd Walker 424 25.0 3B Aramis Ramirez 606 59.6 SS Ramon Martinez 298 1.5 RF Sammy Sosa 539 27.9 CF Corey Patterson 687 27.9 LF Moises Alou 675 51.5 2B/OF N/A 0 0.0 ----- ----- 4423 267.7
2005 Roster Pos Name PA VORP C Michael Barrett 350 11.6 1B Derrek Lee 570 37.4 2B Todd Walker 378 17.7 3B Aramis Ramirez 567 25.9 SS Nomar Garciaparra 504 38.8 RF Jeromy Burnitz 443 15.9 CF Corey Patterson 555 26.2 LF Jason Dubois 235 13.2 2B/OF Jerry Hairston 327 12.8 ----- ----- TOTAL 3929 199.5
Burnitz makes some difference, but not a lot. There's still a 500 PA discrepency that is accounting for some of the loss in VORP, but to be fair, with bench players the likes of Hollandsworth, Henry Blanco, and Neifi Perez, we can only credit them with another 15 or so VORP at best. We'll call that a net loss of 50 runs.
Now let's take a look at the fantastic rotation.
2004 Rotation Name GS IP VORP Mark Prior 21 118.7 24.0 Kerry Wood 22 140.3 27.9 Carlos Zambrano 31 209.7 61.3 Greg Maddux 33 212.7 33.2 Glendon Rusch 16 129.7 27.8 Matt Clement 30 181.0 36.9 ----- ----- ----- TOTAL 153 992.1 211.1
2005 Rotation Name GS IP VORP Mark Prior 25 158.0 39.9 Kerry Wood 24 157.0 33.6 Carlos Zambrano 28 185.0 39.8 Greg Maddux 29 178.0 28.6 Glendon Rusch 19 120.0 17.8 Sergio Mitre 20 113.0 15.2 ----- ----- ----- TOTAL 145 911.0 174.9
PECOTA hedges quite a bit on pitchers, with good reason as the variability is a lot higher. Especially with this combination of young pitchers with heavy workloads and/or injury history (Wood, Prior, Zambrano), and control/rely on the defense kind of guys (Maddux, Rucsh). Given Dusty Baker's general tendency to work pitchers hard, I wouldn't be comfortable assuming a heavier workload for any of them except Maddux, but then again no one would be shocked if any of the 3 young guys busted out a 220 IP stellar season. This is reflected in the high breakout rates (30% for Prior and Zambrano, 16% for Wood). That said, I'm prepared to boost the VORP by another 15 or so due to the low innings forecast and the fact that Angel Guzman has a decent projection even if none of these guys out lasts his. Still, losing Clement does hurt, and Zambrano is as likely to come back to being very good as he is to remain amazing. Net loss of 20 runs.
The Cubs were actually a better team than their won loss record would indicate last year, underperforming their 3rd order win percentage by 5 games. My analysis (which ignores the bullpen and some of the bench) has them losing 7 wins off the 3rd order record, which puts them almost right back where they were last year. The numbers say 87-75 and probably missing the playoffs. My gut feeling says that one of the pitchers will have a big year and push them into the hunt for the division and the WC.