PBR - I recently reviewed the 2013 Bill James predictions for the Phillies offense, so here is a look at the projections for the pitching staff. Again, the James predictions are often considered overly optimistic. Once other projection packages are released I'll do a comparison and release the Review's '13 projections.
For purposes of this post I've just included the starting rotation.
Projected figures are in italics.
Cliff Lee (15-10, 7.75 K/9, 1.11 WHIP, 3.17 ERA)
Lee struggled at times last season and fell victim to the home run, putting up his highest HR/FB ratio (11.8%) since 2004. He did, however, crack the 200 strikeout plateau for the second consecutive season and put together a 1.46 ERA over his last seven starts. One of Lee's biggest issues last season was offensive run support, finishing 10th in the majors with 3.6 runs scored per game - partially explaining why he collected just six wins.
James expects Lee to put up similar numbers from a year ago, except he projects a drop in home runs allowed and an increase in offensive run support to get him to 15 wins. The ERA and WHIP projections both seem reasonable.
Cole Hamels (14-10, 8.52 K/9, 1.12 WHIP, 3.23 ERA)
James believes Hamels will regress a tad this season and fall short of putting up numbers similar to 2012. The 3.23 ERA would be the highest for Hamels since 2009 and a his 4.06 K/BB ratio would be his lowest since 2010.
Roy Halladay (15-11, 7.4 K/9, 1.14 WHIP, 3.21 ERA)
Admittedly, Halladay is difficult to project moving forward. His velocity was down last season and he battled shoulder issues, so he struggled mightily - his 2.5 WAR was his lowest since 2000. The James model predicts he throws 230 innings this season but falls short of 200 strikeouts with his lowest K/9 since 2007. The 1.14 WHIP would be an improvement over last season's 1.22 and would fall closer to career average of 1.17.
I guess my biggest question is the projection of 230 innings pitched. Halladay tossed 233 innings in 2011 but also tossed eight complete games that season, I can't see that happening in '13.
Vance Worley (5-7, 7.25 K/9, 1.38 WHIP, 3.50 ERA)
James projects Worley to make just 20 starts in 2013 and his improvements over last season to be marginal, except a decent drop in WHIP from 1.51 to 1.38.
Kyle Kendrick (8-12, 4.75 K/9, 1.36 WHIP, 4.25 ERA)
Every group has to have a "loser" of some sort and of the five Phillies starters it appears James sees Kendrick as just that. Fresh off his best season in the majors, James sees Kendrick regressing to his career averages. Kendrick had a BABIP of .278 last season, but James projects a .291 mark which can explain his expectations for a higher ERA and less wins.
James also projects a drop in total strikeouts, from 116 last year to 95 in '13. This drop, coupled with the increased number of innings pitched (159.1 in '12 vs. 180 projected in '13) explains Kendrick's drop in wins.
If nothing else, I'm at least intrigued by James' projections. I can see the Lee projection as plausible, especially considering the poor run support he received last season. I agree somewhat with Halladay's improvement, but I seriously doubt he will pitch 230 innings and toss eight complete games again.
What is your opinion on the James projection model? If you had to pick a number and disagree with it, what would it be?