Irrational exuberance? Take a peek at the Sox fan website SoSH and you’ll find a lot of talk about the brilliant win total prospects for the Boston starters next year. Let me be the first to say that Boston has a spectacular starting staff, and a vastly improved bullpen from the opening of last year. But suggestions that the Sox will have 3 or more 20-game winners, or a starting staff of 5 pitchers that, alone, total more than 100 wins, seems highly unlikely. First, the level of play throughout the AL East has improved, and with the unbalanced schedule, that’s going to cut into win totals. The entire staff, which was already fragile, has aged. And let’s look at the track record. Over the last 3 years, here are the average win totals for Boston’s top 4 starters (this may surprise you):

Martinez: 10.3
Schilling: 17.6
Lowe: 19 (2 years only)
Wakefield: 10.3

Of course, win totals do not always accurately reflect how well a pitcher has pitched (see Pedro’s record last year). But that’s only more reason to look dubiously on some of these win projections.

3 comments… add one
  • Um, what SoSH thread did you visit? If I chose correctly, I went to SoSH and visited the “Pitchers W-L records (Predictions)” thread and found nothing like what you describe. Most fans describe situations in which the Red Sox pitchers all tally double-digit win totals, with Pedro, Schilling, and Lowe mostly between 16-22 (certainly optimistic but not ridiculous if the guys are healthy) and Wakefield and Kim in the 10-15 region (on it’s face, also not ridiculous). Most posters tally about 70-75 wins for the starting 5. One lunatic poster has each guy with over 20, which is ludicrous. Mostly, the thread seems pretty optimistic considering your accurate portrayal of the division and the schedule, but you do a poor job of representing that thread. There simply is not a “lot of talk” about the brilliance of the win totals. And, there are simply not multiple posters with predictions of all 5 starters with more than 20 wins – in fact, that poster is criticized immediately for his/her prognostication. Additionally, there are two or three posts that are clearly tongue-in-cheek about win totals, including one in which all pitchers are given records of 32-0, which I will assume you didn’t take seriously.
    You also fail to note that Schilling suffered from a non-pitching injury last year, one which likely won’t affect his win total if he makes 33 starts this season – his running average over the last four years, excluding the one odd season is over 20.
    Lastly, if you look at Pedro’s last 6 years, and exclude his one season in which he was significantly hurt, his win total average is over 17 – that’s a more accurate reading of his potential than what you represent.
    So, this fan will offer his thoughts, without presuming catastrophic injuries (though of course these may occur…)
    Pedro 15 (to hedge a little)
    Schilling 19
    Lowe 17
    Wakefield 11
    Kim 12
    Total: 73
    I would think my numbers aren’t that irrational, nor do they differ much from many of the posters at SoSH. Again, I think you do a very poor job of representing that thread.

    SF February 12, 2004, 11:28 am
  • Pardon me if I misrepresented SoSH as a whole, but there are in fact numerous posts that suggest multiple 20 win seasons. But in any case, I’d say SF’s factoring out of the injury years to Pedro and Schilling is extremely problematic. Player’s get injured–on field and off. If you want to be realistic about their potential totals, you have to look at the averages, and you can’t knock out the figures that you don’t like.

    YF February 12, 2004, 11:38 am
  • I didn’t exempt my predictions from injuries – I downgraded Pedro to 15 (not a stretch, I don’t think), Schilling to 19 (a lesser total than in his healthy seasons), taking into account potential in-season minor injuries. I won’t predict catastrophes, since they are, by definition, “sudden calamities”, and I am not in the business of predicting those, at least not until the seventh inning of playoff ballgames.
    As for SoSH, I just think you misrepresented that thread independently – I wasn’t trying to imply that you impugned the entire site.

    SF February 12, 2004, 11:43 am

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