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PECOTA and Lineup Analysis

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Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA projections yesterday to enormous fanfare. Since I failed to actually accomplish anything with Baseball Musing's lineup analysis tool, which projects the amount of runs a given lineup will score, among other things.. Since you need to pay to get PECOTA projections, I'll keep things vague.

We can start with the "Gurnick Lineup", which I'll use as the baseline:

Pierre
Martin
Furcal
Kent
Garciaparra
Gonzalez
Betemit
Ethier
Pitcher

ZIPS: 783
PECOTA: 769

Fortunately, both ZIPS and PECOTA are more optimistic than my prediction of 700-750 runs. This makes me feel a little bit better about the Dodgers chances this year.

If we take these players, and make the ideal lineup, we end up with these totals:

ZIPS: 812 (+31)
PECOTA: 800 (+31)

Note that the ideal lineup would never happen, because that would involve things like Jeff Kent leading off and hitting the pitcher eighth.

Juan Pierre has been the biggest sore spot of the off season, what would have happened if we didn't actually sign him?

If Repko were leading off and playing center instead of Pierre

ZIPS: 772 (-11)
PECOTA: 774 (+5)

So ZIPS predicts a loss of around one win and PECOTA has the Dodgers gaining half a win, plus or minus a couple runs since the lineup analysis tool doesn't account for base running. I tend to agree with ZIPS since PECOTA has a rather gaudy projection for Repko: .263/.326/.434.

How about Werth instead of Pierre?

ZIPS: 777 (-6)
PECOTA: 794 (+25)

I think PECOTA loves Werth a wee bit too much, putting him at .268/.358/.469. Even a huge Werth fan like me has to admit that's pretty high for a guy that hasn't swung a bat in a year. Even so, if we go with the far more pessimistic projections for Werth and Repko, is the extra win Pierre gets us really worth 44 million dollars? Probably not.

Let's try Werth instead of Gonzalez

ZIPS: 775 (-8)
PECOTA: 776 (+7)

PECOTA actually isn't predicting the terrible decline for Luis Gonzalez the ZIPS and I do, they have him at a still useful .269/.346/.449. Below average for a left fielder, but not a disaster by any means. Consequently, replacing him with very optimistic Werth doesn't make much difference, at least offensively. Conclusion: why on Earth didn't we tender a contract to Werth?

What if we didn't sign Nomar and just left the first base job to James Loney, which seemed like a pretty obvious move at the start of the offeason.

ZIPS: 776 (-7)
PECOTA: 773 (+4)

Nomar is pretty much the same player as Loney, just older, more brittle, worse defensively, and costs 30 times more. If we were the desperate for depth, somone like Craig Wilson probably could have done the job for much cheaper.

How about if we used the best players avialable? For ZIPS, we use this lineup:

Kemp
Martin
Furcal
Kent
Garciaparra
Gonzalez
LaRoche
Ethier
Pitcher

With PECOTA:

Repko
Martin
Furcal
Kent
Loney
Kemp
LaRoche
Ethier
Pitcher

Not perfect because I didn't shift the lineup spots around out of laziness. But here's what the tool spat out

ZIPS: 801 (+18)
PECOTA: 809 (+40)

Not bad at all. PECOTA is certainly high on our farm system, with four or five hitters that could step into the lineup and be productive major leaguers. Now, this calls the logic of the entire off season into question, but it certainly bodes well for the future of the Dodgers.

Now, PECOTA doesn't like the pitching staff that I'm so high on, but that's a story for another day.