Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are You Rocky Mountain High?

Thanks to SoSG reader Wicks for forwarding this column by Dave Krieger of the Denver Post*. Krieger compares the Rockies and Dodgers at ten positions (position players, starters and relievers) and gives the Rockies the definitive edge in five of those categories, with the Dodgers only taking two (he called three categories pushes). Here's his breakdown:

  • 1B (Helton vs. Loney): Rockies
  • 2B (Barmes vs. Belliard): Rockies
  • 3B (Stewart vs. Blake): push
  • SS (Tulowitzki vs. Furcal): Rockies
  • LF (Gonzalez vs. Ramirez): Rockies
  • CF (Fowler vs. Kemp): Dodgers
  • RF (Hawpe vs. Ethier): Dodgers
  • C (Iannetta vs. Martin): push
  • SP (Jimenez, Cook, Francis, De La Rosa, Hammel vs. Kershaw, Billingsley, Kuroda, Padilla, McDonald): Rockies
  • RP: push

Kreiger admits he had to make assumptions about Belliard and McDonald winning starting jobs, but we can still see this is a highly debatable list. ("I darn near died laughing after reading this," as Wicks put it.) Arguments can be made for the Dodgers at 1B, 3B and LF, and while the Dodgers' rotation is clearly weaker without Randy Wolf, the Rockies' starting five isn't an automatic lock either.

But I'm too busy debating EK about the Kia Crew vs. the Kia Soul Hamsters to delve into this further — so we're going to throw it to you, SoSG readers. Post your analysis, for one position or all of them, in the comments section and we'll update this post with the most convincing arguments.

*The Gary Miller referenced in the piece is not the same Gary Miller who co-hosts the Dodgers pre-game show on KCAL 9 with Eric Karros.

UPDATE: From Wicks himself:

All right fellow SOSG fans to back my opinion that this Denver Post article is off base I did some dirty work. Below is a head to head comparison of the everyday Dodger players versus Rockies players using the statistic of Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP)for 2009. For more about the Warp go here:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Wins_Above_Replacement_Player

I did not compare the pitching staffs because ERA says it all. 3.41 is lower than 4.22 last I checked.

Helton 3.7 Loney 1.5 ADV ROX
Barmes 1.8 Belliard 1.0 ADV ROX
Tulo 5.4 Furcal 3.3 ADV ROX
Stewart 1.2 Blake 4.2 ADV LAD
Iantetta 2.0 Martin 2.1 ADV LAD
Gonzalez 2.4 Manny 2.8 ADV LAD
Fowler 0.7 Kemp 5.0 ADV LAD
Hawpe 1.3 Ethier 2.5 ADV LAD

Final Total Dodgers win 5-3

And from Jason:

1B - Helton and Loney are inching closer than you'd expect. Helton still hits more doubles and draws more walks but Loney still has all of the disks in his back. Both are probably going to hit 15 - 20 home runs (though I imagine their home/road splits will be mirror opposites). Defense is basically a wash. Loney has more speed so he won't be clogging the base paths though neither is a particular threat to steal. And of course, Loney is more likely to trend upwards and show an improvement over 2009 what with him turning 26 in May.

Advantage Rockies by about 1 win until Helton's back gives out and Giambi steps into full time duty and literally cements himself 3 feet off the first base bag.

3B - Wicks has it right, Blake is just better. He's a better fielder, he's got better plate discipline, he can grow a beard... Stewart has better isolated power numbers and hits a heck of a lot more fly balls. That plays fine at Coors Field but not so much in the rest of the NL West parks.

Advantage Dodgers by about 1.5 wins assuming Blake goes beardless. Add an additional win if Beard Mode returns.

C - Would be roughly equal assuming J. Martin doesn't drop the J and have a comeback year. But, Iannetta only plays in about 2/3 of the games over the course of the season so you have to factor in Miguel Olivo and his career .276 OBP into the mix.

Slight advantage to the Dodgers.

LF - Come on, Carlos Gonzalez has all of 174 games of experience. And Manny's wrist hasn't been hit by any pitches in 7 months. Manny will produce a net of about 17 more runs over the course of the season even when taking fielding into account. Plus it's a contract year. Advantage Dodgers by about 1.5 wins.

Projected FIPs for the starting 5 from Bill James:

Kershaw - 3.42
Billingsley - 3.72
Kuroda - 4.24
Padilla - 4.68
McDonald - 4.22

Jimenez - 4.03
Cook - 4.32
Francis - 4.41
De La Rosa - 4.37
Hammel - 4.11

That sounds about right.

RP - I'll let WARP and FIP cover this. I'm intentionally excluding swing men and long relievers since their numbers fluctuate way too much to predict. I'm sort of guessing at the Rockies bullpen pecking order behind Street.

Pitcher - WARP - FIP
Broxton - 2.9 - 2.38
Sherrill - 1.4 - 3.31
Kuo - 0.4 - 2.95
Troncoso - 0.8 - 3.54
Belisario - 0.7 - 4.20

Street - 1.8 - 2.97
Morales - 0.5 - 5.10
Daley - 0.7 - 3.98
Betancourt - 1.4 - 3.20
Corpas - 0.4 - 3.41

Advantage Dodgers by a couple of wins overall. In Broxton and Breezy I trust.

To sum up, Dodgers come out on top 6-3-1 (C being too close to call). The Dodgers should be about 3 - 4 wins better than Colorado in 2010 based purely on individual expectations. Take coaching staffs and experience into account and I think the Dodgers pick up one or two more games. I'll still feel better once the #5 started and 2B "battles" are settled in a few weeks.

Thanks, Jason!

36 comments:

Paul said...

The Dodgers are the better team by the numbers. The Dodgers have 24 non-roster invitees and the Rockies only 22!! 22 non roster invitees sheesh are they living in 2009??

Plus Torre over Tracy.

Coffee over tea this morning (sorry Joe)

Neeebs said...

Relief Pitching a "Push"? Really? This stuff's funnier than the improv last saturday night.

KempKershaw said...

Left field is no debate, unless Manny dies.

KempKershaw said...

Or gives birth on the field.

Dusty Baker said...

The most convincing argument I have is "Giants suck!"

Dusty Baker said...

Exactly Neeebs. What planet would someone be on to say that Dodgers bullpen is inferior to Rockies? Broxton and Flat Breezy are at least as good as damn near anyone in the NL (unless it's NLCS).

The other thing as that I believe the sum of our squad's parts is greater than the individual parts. There's not a stat for that, but the closest approximation is last year's NL West standings.

Wicks said...

All right fellow SOSG fans to back my opinion that this Denver Post article is off base I did some dirty work. Below is a head to head comparison of the everyday Dodger players versus Rockies players using the statistic of Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP)for 2009. For more about the Warp go here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Wins_Above_Replacement_Player

I did not compare the pitching staffs because ERA says it all. 3.41 is lower than 4.22 last I checked.

Helton 3.7 Loney 1.5 ADV ROX

Barmes 1.8 Belliard 1.0 ADV ROX

Tulo 5.4 Furcal 3.3 ADV ROX

Stewart 1.2 Blake 4.2 ADV LAD

Iantetta 2.0 Martin 2.1 ADV LAD

Gonzales 2.4 Manny 2.8 ADV LAD

Fowler 0.7 Kemp 5.0 ADV LAD

Hawpe 1.3 Either 2.5 ADV LAD

Final Total Dodgers win 5-3

Orel said...

Very nice, Wicks. Can anyone dig up FIP numbers for these pitchers?

Jason said...

I'm going to take these one position at a time because I don't feel like actually working today.

1B - Helton and Loney are inching closer than you'd expect. Helton still hits more doubles and draws more walks but Loney still has all of the disks in his back. Both are probably going to hit 15 - 20 home runs (though I imagine their home/road splits will be mirror opposites). Defense is basically a wash. Loney has more speed so he won't be clogging the base paths though neither is a particular threat to steal. And of course, Loney is more likely to trend upwards and show an improvement over 2009 what with him turning 26 in May.

Advantage Rockies by about 1 win until Helton's back gives out and Giambi steps into full time duty and literally cements himself 3 feet off the first base bag.

Jason said...

2B - There's no point in really arguing this one. The Rockies have a second baseman. Advantage Rockies. But enjoy Barmes sub-.300 OBP.

Jason said...

@Orel - Projected FIPs for the starting 5 from Bill James:

Kershaw - 3.42
Billingsley - 3.72
Kuroda - 4.24
Padilla - 4.68
McDonald - 4.22

Jimenez - 4.03
Cook - 4.32
Francis - 4.41
De La Rosa - 4.37
Hammel - 4.11

That sounds about right.

Orel said...

Thanks, Jason. FIP has been normalized to resemble ERA, correct?

Jason said...

Yup, FIP is shown on an ERA scale.

Orel said...

Main post updated.

Jason said...

3B - Wicks has it right, Blake is just better. He's a better fielder, he's got better plate discipline, he can grow a beard... Stewart has better isolated power numbers and hits a heck of a lot more fly balls. That plays fine at Coors Field but not so much in the rest of the NL West parks.

Advantage Dodgers by about 1.5 wins assuming Blake goes beardless. Add an additional win if Beard Mode returns.

Jason said...

SS - Tulowitzki is a better shortstop than Furcal, I won't even try to argue otherwise.

Advantage Rockies by about 3 wins.

Jason said...

C - Would be roughly equal assuming J. Martin doesn't drop the J and have a comeback year. But, Iannetta only plays in about 2/3 of the games over the course of the season so you have to factor in Miguel Olivo and his career .276 OBP into the mix.

Slight advantage to the Dodgers.

Jason said...

LF - Come on, Carlos Gonzalez has all of 174 games of experience. And Manny's wrist hasn't been hit by any pitches in 7 months. Manny will produce a net of about 17 more runs over the course of the season even when taking fielding into account. Plus it's a contract year.

Advantage Dodgers by about 1.5 wins.

Jason said...

RF - Appeared closer than I thought when I started looking at their batting numbers which had me slightly worried. Then I saw just how bad Hawpe is in the field. Yikes.

Advantage Dodgers by about 1.5 wins. If Ethier goes back to his 2008 line drive form rather than swinging from his heels like 2009 there is a 2.5 win difference

Jason said...

CF - Kemp is better than Fowler. In fact, Kemp is better than just about every other outfielder in baseball. Even a Rockies fan can't argue this one.

Advantage Dodgers by at least 2.5 wins.

Jason said...

RP - I'll let WARP and FIP cover this. I'm intentionally excluding swing men and long relievers since their numbers fluctuate way too much to predict. I'm sort of guessing at the Rockies bullpen pecking order behind Street.

Pitcher - WARP - FIP

Broxton - 2.9 - 2.38
Sherrill - 1.4 - 3.31
Kuo - 0.4 - 2.95
Troncoso - 0.8 - 3.54
Belisario - 0.7 - 4.20


Street - 1.8 - 2.97
Morales - 0.5 - 5.10
Daley - 0.7 - 3.98
Betancourt - 1.4 - 3.20
Corpas - 0.4 - 3.41


Advantage Dodgers by a couple of wins overall. In Broxton and Breezy I trust.

Jason said...

To sum up, Dodgers come out on top 6-3-1 (C being too close to call). The Dodgers should be about 3 - 4 wins better than Colorado in 2010 based purely on individual expectations. Take coaching staffs and experience into account and I think the Dodgers pick up one or two more games. I'll still feel better once the #5 started and 2B "battles" are settled in a few weeks.

Wicks said...

I think Jason and I should have a weekly column on here where we break down the money ball stats like WARP, VORP and the like. What do you say sons? hahahaha

Nice work Jason!

Orel said...

Thanks for the contributions, everybody. I wish we had the ability to do "fan posts" à la TBLA.

Jason said...

@Wicks - Don't worry, I'll post several long, rambling stat-head comments over the course of the season explaining why someone is currently under- or over-rated. Some will refer to these posts as "opinions" and they will be wrong. I look forward to breaking down the season with you.

Dusty Baker said...

Is there a Giants suckage stat?

Mr. Customer said...

@dusty

"Is there a Giants suckage stat?"

Other than a .000 world series victory percentage on the left coast?

Wicks said...

@Jason

Sounds good man, it is going to be great to have baseball back. Even though it seems just like a few weeks ago I was pounding jack and cokes during the NLCS.

Jason said...

Mr. Customer is right, the .000 winning percentage covers how much the Giants suck.

However, I propose the following for determining how good or crappy an organization is overall:

(avg. home attendance * (wins / payroll in millions)) / 6389.2

The 6389.2 number comes is the the mean attendance in the league divided by the WAR value of one win in millions of dollars (1 win = $4.5 million)

This takes payroll, winning and the ability to attract fans into account.

Therefore, the Dodgers would be:
(46440 * (95/100.4))/6389.2 = 6.88

Others:
Phillies - 5.73
Angels - 5.34
Giants - 5.31
Yankees - 3.67

I believe the leader will be the Marlins thanks to their ridiculous 87 wins vs. 36.8 million in payroll which brings them in with a 6.95.

And yes, I'm bored today.

Steve Sax said...

@ Wicks and Jason, you guys are always welcome in our bar.

And I'm still pounding Jack and cokes, btw. (What? The NLCS was four months ago?)

Jason said...

@ Wicks and Sax - I'll check for some rare and exotic bottle of Jack the next time I'm at Vons in Seattle.

Dusty Baker said...

Can we see that picture of all the booze in the bar that was link to a month or two ago?

Orel said...

Or a picture of the booze at the Vons in Seattle. Either one.

Jason said...

Done.

http://tinyurl.com/yly72x5

Note the Jack Daniels Single Barrel in the front row just right of center.

StolenMonkey86 said...

Looking at WAR with a minimum of 300 PA, the top LF in the NL West is Seth Smith. Will Jim Tracy leave him on the bench most of the season? That, we'll have to find out. A full season of Manny, though, probably wins out.

Dusty Baker said...

Theeeeeere we go. Thanks, Jason.