Thursday, February 03, 2005


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
CMichael Barrett50631.0
1BDerrek Lee68843.3
2BTodd Walker42425.0
3BAramis Ramirez60659.6
SSRamon Martinez2981.5
RFSammy Sosa53927.9
CFCorey Patterson68727.9
LFMoises Alou67551.5

2005 Roster
CMichael Barrett35011.6
1BDerrek Lee57037.4
2BTodd Walker37817.7
3BAramis Ramirez56725.9
SSNomar Garciaparra50438.8
RFJeromy Burnitz44315.9
CFCorey Patterson55526.2
LFJason Dubois23513.2
2B/OFJerry Hairston32712.8

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
Mark Prior21118.724.0
Kerry Wood22140.327.9
Carlos Zambrano31209.761.3
Greg Maddux33212.733.2
Glendon Rusch16129.727.8
Matt Clement30181.036.9

2005 Rotation
Mark Prior25158.039.9
Kerry Wood24157.033.6
Carlos Zambrano28185.039.8
Greg Maddux29178.028.6
Glendon Rusch19120.017.8
Sergio Mitre20113.015.2

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.


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