The 2008 Mariners through ZiPS

DMZ · February 5, 2008 at 1:36 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Let me warn you ahead of time: if you don’t like projections, and you don’t like sims like Diamond Mind, this is not going to be your post. And it’s long.

pony tea party. Mariner Fanfest wishes it could be this awesome. (Tea Party!” photo by dreamcicle19772006 and used under the Creative Commons license.)

Dave sent me an email about the new 2008 ZiPS projections and being the geek I am, I loaded it up and went a-simulating: traded Bedard for Jones/Sherill/etc, set up the M’s likely lineup (last year’s with Wilkerson in right, no platooning), worked out the bullpen roles and went at it. Now mind you, all the other teams had the default bad to the point of almost-randomness profiles (except the Orioles, for who I plugged the rotation and activated Jones/Sherill). So the M’s operated at a huge advantage.

Dave warned me about what would happen and the results still shocked me.

The first season the M’s went 70-92 to finish 21 games behind the Angels and last in the AL West. They scored 733 runs and gave up 802.

I did some more work. Threw Horacio Ramirez off the team (as the team will likely do at some point), cleaned up some of the roles, brought Reed up to play a decent 4th OF and defensive replacement…

81-81, 3rd, 9 games back of the Angels, 750/804
69-93, last, 681-783
77-85, third, 717-809
72-90, last, 668-764
69-93, third, 690-810
64-98, last, 733-842
70-92, third, 754-763

… and on and on. Again, this is with the M’s as the only team in baseball with a roster set up with reasonable roles and a rational bullpen. When I do this normally, teams with that advantage play way, way over their heads. At least as ZiPS is concerned, this is not a good team.

Batista and Silva get shelled over and over. The defense is porous. A huge chunk of the lineup stinks against lefties. It’s ugly. It’s really ugly.

If you’re curious, my final M’s lineup, in which I tried to do some good around the margins while being realistic about who’s playing where, was:
Hitters (14)
DH-0: Vidro
C-R: Johjima
1B-R: Sexson
2B-R: Lopez
SS-R: Betancourt
3B-R: Beltre
LF-L: Ibanez
CF-L: Ichiro!
RF-L: Wilkerson
Bench: C-R Burke, OF-L Reed, OF-R Balentien, IF-R Morse, WB-R Bloomquist

The corner outfielders need legs and right-handed backups, so Reed/Balentien are up. I gave Balentien some of Ibanez’s playing time v. LHP. I tilt towards more hitters, obviously, but that’s a whole other discussion. Really, any left-handed pitcher, you might be better playing the backups and… um, I’m already proving I’m way too into this kind of thing, so I’ll stop there.

Pitchers (11)
SP-L Bedard
SP-R Felix
SP-L Washburn
SP-R Silva
SP-R Batista

RP-R Baek
RP-R Green
RP-R Morrow
RP-L O’Flaherty
RP-R Putz
RP-L Rowland-Smith

It’s a pick-em in the bullpen. The projection wasn’t sweet on anyone, so it didn’t matter if I had Huber/Lowe out there. The last two relievers in the bullpen got rocked every year. I took Baek/RRS for long relief with two starters getting rocked regularly, but you could change that mix if you wanted.

awwwwwwwwwwwwww it's a baby pony

(“Sack O’Taters” photo by ninjapoodles, used under the Creative Commons license.)

Anyway, I could spend a lot more time on this, but I’ll spare you. The short version is having gone through this exercise, I’m worried my last estimates of the team’s strength were high.

But USSM is your home for Mariners-related pessimism, so what do we know.


55 Responses to “The 2008 Mariners through ZiPS”

  1. Taylor H on February 5th, 2008 8:47 pm

    Makes you wonder if a singles-hitting, NOT-strikeout-pitching, poor-defensively team can win 88 games… two years in a row.

    Also, is Jeff Nye also Lookout Landing Jeff? They both seem to like Willie B and his noble steed (actually a pony).

  2. Jeff Nye on February 5th, 2008 9:02 pm

    No, I am not that Jeff. I am better looking.

  3. galaxieboi on February 5th, 2008 10:59 pm

    I’ve finished 3 seasons of ’08 DMB with the M’s sans the Bedard trade.

    Still not real pretty. Derek knows this game a lot better than I, but I tried to use the same staff and bench he did. I picked up whatever clues (Balentien subs some of Raul’s vsL ABs) when I could. Anywho, I’ve got a lot to learn but here they are.

    67-95 612/795 26 Games back of LAA last in OPS
    75-87 649/741 22 3rd last in OPS
    69-93 688/770 22 4th 26th in OPS

    Consistently Adam has hit .260-.275 with a OBP 40-50 point higher than that with decent power. Felix had one bad year (the first) and two really good years. Pretty much every other starter has been average or a lot, lot worse.

    Drawing walks was this team’s problem last year. And it probably will this year too.

    Like I said, take it for what it’s worth. You need to run hundreds of these things to make them worth anything. I’ll do some more later.

  4. Scooter4 on February 6th, 2008 10:54 pm

    As if not trading Jones would turn this all around?

  5. Graham on February 7th, 2008 2:32 am

    As if not trading Jones would turn this all around?

    Way to hilariously miss the point.

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