Earlier in the week I posted my wins above replacement projections for the Tigers 2009 lineup. Today I turn my attention to the men on the mound.
For the projections I used the Marcel 2009 FIP projection for pitcher ERA (available at Fangraphs). In terms of innings pitched, I used some judgment. I penciled in Justin Verlander for 200 innings, and every other slot in the rotation for 180. Feel free to disagree with this, I won’t mind. But I think we can agree that the success of the team will largely hinge on the staff’s ability to stay healthy.
You’ll notice that the 5th spot in the rotation doesn’t have a name assigned to it. I anticipate it will be some combination of Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, and Zach Miner. As for the 4.77 FIP I chose, that belongs to Willis and it was the worst of the 3 which is why I chose it – to be a little conservative.
At least in terms of the projections for the rotation, it is fairly encouraging. While the Tigers lack a dominant top of the rotation, the projections show a balanced rotation that is fairly strong at the bottom. (I know, it felt strange to type that as well and I don’t entirely believe it myself)
With the bullpen situation not the least bit settled, things could change here substantially. At this point Fernando Rodney and Bobby Seay are the only knowns. Given the uncertainty everywhere else I considered the rest of the pen to be replacement level.
With the 24.9 WAR projected from the lineup, and the 16.1 WAR from the pitching staff, the Tigers on paper look to be about and 84 win team. That actually sounds a little too good and a little too optimistic to me. But if it holds that may be enough to keep the Tigers in the divisional hunt.
I’ll continue to update the spreadsheet as more become known about the roster make-up throughout spring training and the offseason.
For more on WAR the following resources may be helpful to you: