I Predict: Eleventy Billion Wins!

If this doesn't set your innards a-tingle, then nothing will:

LINEUP

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, 4.2 WAR (as projected by the Fangraphs crowdsourcing project*)
  2. Carl Carwford, LF, 6.1 WAR
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, 5.9 WAR
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B, 6.6 WAR
  5. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, 6.0 WAR
  6. David Ortiz, DH, 2.4 WAR
  7. J.D. Drew, RF, 3.4 WAR
  8. Jed Lowrie, SS, 3.1 WAR
  9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, 1.7 WAR

BENCH

  1. Mike Cameron, OF, N/A
  2. Marco Scutaro, IF, 1.6 WAR
  3. Jason Varitek, C, N/A
  4. ???, IF/OF

ROTATION

  1. Jon Lester, 6.4 WAR
  2. Josh Beckett, 4.2 WAR
  3. Clay Buchholz, 3.9 WAR
  4. John Lackey, 3.8 WAR
  5. Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1.9 WAR

BULLPEN

  1. Jonathan Papelbon, 1.8 WAR
  2. Bobby Jenks, 1.2 WAR
  3. Daniel Bard, 1.3 WAR
  4. Dan Wheeler, N/A
  5. Matt Albers/Rich Hill/Andrew Miller
  6. Tim Wakefield, N/A
  7. Scott Atchison/Felix Doubront

Well done, Theo.

* I wouldn't put too much stock in those projections, for what it's worth. Although they look decent enough (but definitely optimistic across the board) individually, when you put them all together, they fall apart pretty quickly:

If we assume the bench and bottom half of the bullpen can scrape together four wins above replacement from those eight spots, that gives a total of 67.9 WAR. Fangraphs figures an all-replacement level team at 52-110, so adding 68 wins would give the 2011 Red Sox a 120-42 record.

Which, of course, is totally going to happen. Really, I'm not even sure why we're bothering to play any games next season, except it'll give us something to do for three hours every night.

26 comments… add one

  • glad to see you keep your sense of humor on this one paul…clearly the sox have some reasons to be optimistic, at least from a stat perspective, sort of…i guess your tongue in cheek look at this subtly recognizes that the game pedroia “wins above replacement” might be the same game that beckett “wins above replacement” thereby watering down the value of the stat in isolation…fun exercise nonetheless, and does point out the potential strength of the newly reconstructed sox…

    dc December 20, 2010, 1:25 am
  • “If this doesn’t set your innards a-tingle, then nothing will”.
    I guess nothing will.

    IronHorse (YF) December 20, 2010, 7:48 am
  • Jacoby Ellsbury a 4.2? Even in his two best seasons (2008 and 2009) he wasn’t at that level. That 4.2 puts him ahead of Torii Hunter, Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson, Shane Victorino, Vernon Wells and only slightly behind Josh Hamilton. Those are some optimistic numbers.
    I’d also dispute Lowrie, that’s high. Primarily because that makes him more productive than Jeter (2011 Fan Projections).
    I started to dispute Lackey, but I realized he posted a higher WAR last season. I don’t know how that’s possible,he just doesn’t impress me. But that’s just me.

    John - YF December 20, 2010, 8:43 am
  • Glad to see I’m not the only one who still has faith in Ellsbury’s ability to contribute at the MLB level. Can you imagine both him and Crawford at the top of the lineup? Odds are one of the two will get on base (.681 combined OBP), and then AGonz/Youk/Pedroia/Ortiz/Drew batting with them on base. THAT makes my innards tingle.
    Of course all of that changes if Ellsbury has another 2010 season.

    Atheose - SF December 20, 2010, 8:59 am
  • Agree with John; Lackey’s WAR (both from 2010 and projected 2011) shock me. Below-average OPS+, career-worst in WHIP, H/9, K/9 and K/BB.
    I’d love to pretend it’s an adjustment year, like Beckett’s 2006. But I have a sinking feeling that Lackey will struggle through the rest of his contract.

    Atheose - SF December 20, 2010, 9:07 am
  • I don’t worry about Lackey too much. He’s just one of those guys, and to be honest, he’s not getting paid as an ace: He’s a number three pitcher on this team, and sometimes, number four, and he is overpaid to do that, but that’s what happens when you play in this division.
    Also, Lackey had a much better second half than first half. There were months he was brilliant, then give up 10 in two innings. His struggles were not consistent at all.
    I don’t worry about him.

    Brad December 20, 2010, 9:12 am
  • I’m going to have to disagree with you regarding Lackey. His ERA stayed pretty constant all season, and his splits are about the same too:
    All 2010: 4.40 ERA, 49 avg game score
    1st Half: 4.46, 47
    2nd Half: 4.34, 52
    Slightly better 2nd half, but certainly not “much” better. He also pitched against playoff teams 7 times in the 1st half, and only 4 times in the 2nd half.

    Atheose - SF December 20, 2010, 10:06 am
  • I’m not sure where you got that split data, Ath, but Lackey had a 4.76 ERA at the All-Star break and an .816 OPS against, 5.4 K/9 and an average game score of 46. He had eight quality starts (by game score) in 18 appearances. From that point on, he posted a 3.97 ERA, allowed a .705 OPS, posted a 7.8 K/9 and had an average game score of 54. He had 10 quality starts in 15 appearances.
    If you extrapolated Lackey’s first- and second-half performances to 162 games, here’s what he would have posted:
    1st: 214 IP, 256 H, 129 K, 87 BB, .291 BAA, .816 OPS, .331 BABIP, 1.60 WHIP, 4.78 ERA
    2nd: 232 IP, 223 H, 200 K, 59 BB, .253 BAA, .705 OPS, .307 BABIP, 1.22 WHIP, 3.97 ERA
    Ellsbury’s best season featured a 3.9 WAR, followed by a 2.7 then last year. So 4.2 isn’t out of the question, given that he’s just 27 and entering his peak. I do wonder if he will have any trouble adjusting to playing every day for the first time in basically a year, and I would hedge a projection for that reason closer to 3 WAR than 4, particularly since Ellsbury hasn’t really shown any of the amazing defense that bolstered his 2008 WAR.
    I’d also bump Youkilis down. He was on pace for 6 WAR last season, and I don’t think it’s wise to project an increase in performance for someone his age. But then he’s been defying the expectations for a long time, and he hasn’t shown any signs of decline — or even just leveling off — yet.

    Paul SF December 20, 2010, 10:36 am
  • I looked at his gamelogs and split it by month, since that’s a more even split than using the ASB; April/May/June vs July/August/September.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=lackejo01&t=p&year=2010

    Atheose - SF December 20, 2010, 10:58 am
  • If he earned a 2.7 last year than sure it’s possible.
    On a separate note, I wouldn’t start the season with Ellsbury in the lead off spot (yes, I know Tito already said that’s where he wants him). The kid is coming off an injury plagued season, let him get back and acclimated lower in the lineup. It would only be natural to press in the lead off spot. Now if he tears it up during the 1st month than by all means throw him up there, but let him get back to basics first.
    Also, Salty’s WAR is very generous. That’s only slightly below where Suzuki is predicted to be and a point higher than where Mr. League Average Jason Kendall ended up for 2010. Sure this kid has promise, but let’s see it first.
    All in fun, just my observations.

    John - YF December 20, 2010, 11:52 am
  • I looked at his gamelogs and split it by month, since that’s a more even split than using the ASB;
    Ah, I see. In this case, it obscures what appears to be real improvement in Lackey’s performance. The only real difference in the splits is that on July 10, Lackey had his second-worst start of the season, which pushed his ERA up to the aforementioned 4.76 after he had worked it down to 4.40.
    In fact, from June 6 on, Lackey posted a 4.14 ERA with 7.1 K/9. He was truly terrible over his first 11 starts (4.95 ERA), decent in his next seven (4.53 ERA), then very good in his final 15. Even those final 15 can be broken into a very good nine starts (4.29 ERA) followed by an outstanding final six starts (3.46 ERA). There’s some cherry picking going on there, obviously, but it sure seems like Lackey was getting more and more comfortable as the season went along.

    Paul SF December 20, 2010, 12:18 pm
  • Good point Paul; I didn’t look very hard at the stats, just some top-level skimming. I also must admit I missed his last 5-6 starts because I was getting ready for my wedding.
    Hopefully Lackey can continue that into 2011.

    Atheose - SF December 20, 2010, 12:41 pm
  • Awesome, when are you getting married?

    Paul SF December 20, 2010, 1:54 pm
  • I got married Oct 2, the day the Sox honored Lowell at Fenway. They also beat the Yankees that night.
    It’s a good thing the Sox were essentially out of the race by mid-September because I couldn’t have watched it if I wanted to. Got to laugh at the Rays on my honeymoon though.

    Atheose - SF December 20, 2010, 1:57 pm
  • Oh cool. Well, belated congratulatons!

    Paul SF December 20, 2010, 1:58 pm
  • Thanks! The toughest part was getting married in a world where the Yankees were the Champions. Shoulda delayed it by a few weeks!

    Atheose - SF December 20, 2010, 2:02 pm
  • If he earned a 2.7 last year than sure it’s possible.
    I think he had a 2.7 in 2008 per Paul’s comment.

    SF December 20, 2010, 2:37 pm
  • Ath, nice choice of day – your anniversary is my birthday. Shared with Groucho Marx and Charlie Brown.

    SF December 20, 2010, 2:38 pm
  • 2008 was 3.9
    2009 was 2.7
    2010 was -0.2
    Now it’s really up to you which season was his best but in 2009 he stole 70 bases and got on base a career high 35% of the time and he hit .301 and scored nearly 100 runs. To me that’s his best season, with that said how much better than that can we expect in 2011? There was some serious progression from 2008 to 2009 including his lowest K rate and highest walk rate but after playing in just a handful of games last year how can he be expected to beat his best score? I get the overall point though Ellsbury has skills, there’s room for growth etc.

    John - YF December 20, 2010, 2:47 pm
  • Thanks! The toughest part was getting married in a world where the Yankees were the Champions. Shoulda delayed it by a few weeks!
    Sept. 27th, 2007.
    Yep.

    Brad December 20, 2010, 3:03 pm
  • Ellsbury showed significant improvement throughout the 2009 season (higher walk rates, better contact, etc.), which had me very optimistic about how he would do in 2010. Of course, he did noting in ’10. So now there’s a big question mark. I think we’re basically on the same page. I could see him breaking out for a 4-WAR season, but I’d say he’ll be around 3.

    Paul SF December 20, 2010, 3:13 pm
  • I could see him breaking out for a 4-WAR season, but I’d say he’ll be around 3.
    Count me in as the guy who hopes he does it for some other team. I’d rather McDonald have the spot than him. I’ll concede whatever numbers he puts up.

    Brad December 20, 2010, 3:22 pm
  • Nice SF. I actually do remember seeing that on facebook, now that I think about it.
    Wait, so Brad does that mean you were on your honeymoon while the Sox were playing playoff games? How’d that go?

    Atheose - SF December 20, 2010, 4:58 pm
  • Wait, so Brad does that mean you were on your honeymoon while the Sox were playing playoff games? How’d that go?
    Not a chance. Since we live in Connecticut, we decided that there was no reason to leave in September, so we took our honeymoon for two weeks in January. We got on a plane in negative degrees and snowy, and got off a plane in 90deg and sunny!

    Brad December 21, 2010, 8:17 am
  • Plus, in the matter of a year, I had bought a diamond, a house, a new truck and a new dog. I was kinda hurting for honeymoon funds at the time.

    Brad December 21, 2010, 8:18 am
  • “…Plus, in the matter of a year, I had bought a diamond, a house, a new truck and a new dog. I was kinda hurting for honeymoon funds at the time….”
    put that to music and you’ve got a country song… ;)

    dc December 22, 2010, 12:47 am

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