Sunday, January 31, 2016

How Many Runs Will The Tigers Allow in 2016?

The Tigers are counting on recently acquired Jordan Zimmermann to bolster their rotation in 2016.
(Photo credit: H. Darr Beiser, USA Today Sports) 

Now that I have projected the Tigers runs scored total for 2016, the next step is to estimate how many runs they will give up.  Run prevention is more difficult to predict because pitcher's arms are so fragile and their performance so volatile, but I'll do my best.

The Tigers allowed 803 runs in 2015 which was the highest total in the American League by far.  In fact, they allowed 50 more runs than the Red Sox, the next worst run prevention team in the league.   

Pretty much everything went wrong with the Tigers staff last year.  Former ace Justin Verlander missed the first half of the season with a triceps injury.  Anibal Sanchez, one of the best pitchers in the league in 2013-2014 allowed a league-leading 29 home runs due in part to a shoulder ailment. Off-season acquisition Shane Greene started strong but quickly faded and it was later learned that he he had ulnar neuritis and a pseudoaneurysm.  Another new pitcher Alfredo Simon stayed healthy but was wildly inconsistent posting a 5.05 ERA overall.  Moreover, the bullpen was an unmitigated disaster. The only thing that went right was the dependable David Price and he was traded at the end of July.  

New General Manager Al Avila had his work cut out for him this winter and he responded by overhauling the staff.  He signed free agent starters Jordan Zimmerman and Mike Pelfrey and reliever Mark Lowe and added closer Francisco Rodriguez and southpaw Justin Wilson in trades.  The Tigers are also hoping for better health for Verlander and Sanchez and contributions from young pitchers obtained in last year's deadline deals - most notably Daniel Norris and later Matt Boyd and Michael Fulmer.  

For the projection, I first estimate the innings pitched in 2016 for their five expected starters and key bullpen pieces at the beginning of the season (Table 1).  In order to forecast runs allowed, I used three-year averages on three measures from 2013-2015 all adjusted for projected innings this year:
  • Runs Allowed.
  • Base Runs - estimate of what runs allowed should have been based on base runners, total bases and home runs.
For example, Justin Verlander allowed an average of 99 runs per 210 innings (his projected 2016 total) from 2013-2015.  He also had 95 Base Runs and 80 FIP Runs.  The average of the three numbers above (99, 95, 80) is 91.  Given his return to form at the end of last year, I expect Verlander to be a little better than his three-year average next year, I'm estimating 85 runs allowed.

I project the rest of the pitchers similarly moving them up or down from their three-year averages if I think they are going to get better or worse this year.  In particular, I'm guessing that a couple of starters will do worse than their three-year averages: (1) Right-hander Anibal Sanchez will be better than 2015, but will not be anywhere close to his 2013-2014 seasons due to his age (32) and injury history.  (2) Zimmerman will regress due to a switch to a league with a designated hitter.  I also expect reliever Alex Wilson will not repeat his 2015 season because he doesn't miss enough bats.  

My estimates of 755 runs scored and 663 allowed yields a differential of 92 runs or 9 wins above .500.  Thus, my early call for the season is a 90-72, which would be a whopping 16 wins better than last year  That may sound like a lot of wins to some, but that is the type of team they could have if they stay reasonably healthy.  

Of course, there is a lot of uncertainty with this team and while I have built in missed time for fragile players such as Victor Martinez, Jose Iglesias and Anibal Sanchez, there is always a chance of catastrophic injuries which could tank the season.  I'll check back again after things get sorted out more in spring training.  

Table 1: Projected Runs Allowed By Tigers Pitchers in 2016


Averages for 2013-2015*


Player
Proj IP
RA
BSR
FIP Runs
Comb
Proj R
Proj ERA
Verlander
210
99
95
80
91
85
3.64
Zimmermann
200
77
76
73
75
85
3.83
Sanchez
160
69
64
57
63
70
3.94
Pelfrey
150
89
85
70
81
80
4.80
Norris
140
75
68
73
72
70
4.50
Rodriguez
65
21
28
29
26
26
3.60
Lowe
60
28
28
24
27
27
3.75
J. Wilson
55
19
21
21
20
20
3.27
A. Wilson
55
19
18
20
19
25
4.09
Hardy
50
19
20
17
18
20
3.60
Rondon
30
10
10
16
12
12
3.60
VerHagen
35
17
16
12
15
15
3.86
Others
230



128
128
5.01
Totals
1440



647
663
4.12
*Average adjusted for projected innings in 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Stat Counter

Site Meter