Tuesday, April 03, 2012

ESPN the Magazine Picks Dodgers Third in NL West

The April 2, 2012 issue of ESPN the Magazine (Clayton Kershaw cover, along with some other long-haired guy) was actually pretty good. Besides the cover story recapping Kershaw's four victorious starts against the Giants' Tim Lincecum last year, they used really cool stadium dimensions to help illustrate how it impacts the various teams' chances.

The Dodgers were picked to finish third in the NL West, behind the Diamondbacks and the Giants:

Best-Case Scenario: The club's impending sale provides a cash infusion that is used to acquire a slugger at the trade deadline to support Matt Kemp. Clayton Kershaw repeats as the NL Cy Young winner, and the Dodgers not only rebuild their brand but win the West.

Worst-Case Scenario: Kemp doesn't get pitches to hit and fails to reach his goal of becoming MLB's first 50-50 player, the residue of Frank McCourt years persists, changes can't be made in time and the Dodgers finish around .500 again. That could mean fourth place in this division.

Their stadium analysis focused on Ted Lilly, given Dodger Stadium's symmetrical layout which "reduces hits of all types. For a pitcher who allows a lot of fly balls, as Lilly does, the dimensions help minimize the damage when he's off his game, as fly balls are less likely than grounders to turn into hits." Probably true, but we probaly won't know at the beginning of this season given Lilly's got a stiffy.

Another interesting feature was the ranking of all the major league teams' ballparks, juxtaposed against 23012 2012 ZiPS performance projections, to see how suited each team was to its home-park conditions.

Dodger Stadium was, unsurprisingly, a strongly-weighted pitchers' park (the Padres' is most pitcher-friendly in the NL West, followed by us, then San Francisco, then Arizona and Colorado (the latter two of which are strongly hitter-friendly parks).

Juxtaposing our ballpark tendencies against the Dodgers' lineup (the "roster suitability meter"), we score a 5.9 (on a scale of 10 with 10 being the most well-suited lineup). The Padres' lineup scores 8.6, Arizona 6.9, San Francisco 6.7, and Colorado 6.5. Which means that in the NL West, we have the worst lineup-to-home-park-tendencies match.



rbnlaw said...

And the Register said we're the 10th best team in the NL. Placed the Gnats, D-Bags, and Rox ahead of us in the NL Worst. At lease we have the Pods to buoy our hopes.

If Jim Loney and Andre the Pouter don't have decent years, our best player will struggle mightily.

Jason said...

ESPN the Magazine juxtaposed Dodger Stadium against Maidens, VA?

I bet the "roster suitability meter" in a town with that name would be 10 so, yeah, third place makes sense.

On the plus side, Dodger Stadium ZIP code 90090 > Maidens, VA ZIP code 23012.

Franklin Stubbs said...

Had to read that twice. Now I get it!

Hideo Nomo said...

We might be good by 23012.

Steve Sax said...