Friday, February 08, 2013

How Many Runs will Tigers Pitchers Allow in 2013?

Now that I have projected the Tigers runs scored total for 2013, the next step is to estimate how many runs they will give up.  Run prevention is more difficult to project because pitcher's arms are so fragile and their performance so volatile, but I'll do my best.

The Tigers allowed 670 runs in 2012, the fifth lowest total in the American League.  They benefitted from good pitching as they were second best in the league with 3.63 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), but were held back by poor fielding (-27 on Defensive Runs Saved or DRS).  The addition of right fielder Torii Hunter and full seasons from starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante should help them lower their runs allowed in 2013.

As I did with runs scored, I first estimated runs allowed by individual pitchers (with defense factored in).  The  projected innings pitched for their six current starters and key bullpen pieces are in Table 1 below.  We are still not sure how the the fifth starter situation will work out, so I split the job between right-hander Rick Porcello and southpaw Drew Smyly.  I don't think there is any good way to estimate what young Bruce Rondon will do, so I lumped him with the "others". 

In order to forecast runs allowed in 2013, I used three-year averages on three measures from 2010-2012 (all adjusted for projected innings in 2013):
  • Runs Allowed.
  • FIP Runs - estimated by FIP/ERA x Runs Allowed (not quite right but good enough for this exercise)
For example, ace Justin Verlander allowed an average of 79 runs per 230 innings (his projected 2013 total) from 2010-2012.  His also had 75 Base Runs which is an estimation of what his runs allowed should have been based on base runners, total bases and home runs.  Additionally, he had 83 FIP Runs which is what his runs allowed should have been based on FIP Runs.

The average of the three numbers above (79, 75, 83) is 79.  Since I expect more of the same from Verlander, I'm guessing 79 runs allowed in 2013.  Yes, the defense should be better this year than last year, but will probably still be a little below average which is what they were during the three-year period (-7 DRS per year).

I projected the rest of the pitchers similarly moving them up or down slightly from their three-year averages if I thought they were ready to get better or worse.  I'm guessing Max Scherzer will improve slightly based on his strong second half last year.  On the other hand, I think Sanchez will allow a few more runs with a full-year in the American League.  In the bullpen, I expect that Phil Coke will allow fewer runs since he'll be strictly a reliever (his 2011 starts upped his three-year average).  Finally, I don't think Al Alburquerque can keep up the amazing pace of his young career and don't know if he can stay healthy either.

Including 120 runs allowed in 200 innings for the "others" (just under 5.00 ERA), the aggregate is 648.  That's 22 runs lower than last year which seems reasonable given the improvements.  It could get even better if Rondon lives up to his potential.  Then again, there is always a big risk of injuries on any pitching staff, something I have not factored in very much.

My estimates of 800 runs scored and 648 allowed yields a differential of 152 or 15 wins above .500.  Thus, my early call for the season is a 96-66 record. I'll check back again after things get sorted out more in spring training. 

Table 1: Projected Runs Allowed for Tigers Pitching Staff in 2013

                       Pitcher

Proj. IP
Three-year Average 2010-2012*

RA
BSR
FIPRuns
Comb.
 Proj RA
Verlander
230
78
75
83
79
79
Scherzer
180
83
86
79
83
80
Fister
180
77
70
75
74
74
Sanchez
180
82
79
77
79
84
Porcello
100
58
54
50
54
54
Smyly
100
49
49
47
48
48
Coke
65
35
33
29
32
29
Benoit
65
21
21
25
22
22
Dotel
60
27
18
23
23
23
Alburquerque
40
8
8
11
9
14
Below
40
23
18
23
21
21
Others
200
---
---
---
---
120
Total
1,440




648

*Adjusted for projected innings in 2013


1 comment:

  1. Wow, projecting to 96 - 56 is great. With a few good breaks, good health especially in the starting rotation, the success of some question marks in the bullpen, surprises from a Peralta, Dirks, Avila, or the 25th man and this team has the potential to be a 100+ wins. I've been excited every since the signing of Hunter.

    ReplyDelete

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