Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: April's At the Rate They Are Going

One thing I used to do for readers when I was Biased Giants Fanatic on Scout/Yahoo was publish seasonal rates for players, just to follow along with how well players are doing.  Of course, many players are doing much more and much less than they will probably do over a full season, but I always found it fun to play this mental game when I was younger - like when Matt Williams was on pace to reach Babe Ruth's 60 homers when the strike ended that season - and so this is geared more towards people who are not that experienced in following baseball (which probably eliminates most of my readers, but I'm doing this anyway :^).  I guess a little nostalgia struck me, if people like it, I'll continue it.


ogc thoughts

First note is that these will be roughly seasonal, as there has already been 28 games by the end of April, but I'm multiplying everything by 6 to make it easy for me.  So the numbers will be slightly elevated, but at this time of the season, as I noted, there will be a lot of absurd projections, it is meant more as a fun thing and to see who might be due to a regression to mean (i.e. too high or too low).

Runs

Pence is on pace for 108 runs, leading the club.  Belt is at 90, Morse is at 84, and Posey and Pagan are tied at 72 runs each, while Hicks and Sandoval are tied at 66.

126 runs led the NL in 2013 (but 107 was good for 2nd).  101 runs would have gotten you 5th and 89 would be good for 10th.  So Pence and Belt are on pace to be among the leaders, and Morse is close.

Doubles

Pagan is in the lead here with a 42 doubles pace.  Crawford, Morse, and Pence are next with 36 doubles.  Sandoval is fifth at 24.

55 doubles led the NL in 2013 (but 44 was good for 2nd).  40 doubles would have gotten you 5th and 36 doubles would be good for 10th.  So Pagan, Crawford, Morse, and Pence are on pace to be among the leaders.

Triples

Pence and Crawford are tied for first with 12 triples pace.  Sandoval and Blanco are next with 6 triples.

11 triples led the NL and 6 would be good enough to tie for 9th.  Triples are such Black Swans that you can't really say a player is on pace for anything until you get to 3-4 months into the season

Homers

Belt is leading the pack with a 42 homer pace.  Posey and Morse are tied for second with 36 homers.  Hicks is fourth with 30 homers.  Then tied for 5th are Sandoval, Pagan, Pence, and Sanchez at 12 homers.  Many tied for 10th, but I'll note Bumgarner with a 6 homer pace.

36 homers tied for the lead in the NL (but 30 homers was good for 3rd).  27 would have gotten you tied for 4th and 25 would have tied for 9th.  Belt, Posey, Morse, and Hicks are on pace to be among the leaders.

RBI

Morse is leading the pack with 120 RBI.  Far back is someone you don't expect to be second, Pagan with 84 RBI, but it has been noted on KNBR that he likes to drive in runs too.  Given this factoid, a Giants fan might guess that our record was 11-17, the reverse of the actual record.  Posey and Belt are tied for third with 78 RBI.  Crawford and Sanchez are tied for 5th with 66.  Hicks and Pence are tied for 7th with 54.  And I'll note Bumgarner's 30 RBI pace, which, of course, like his home run rate, is not going to be sustained over a full season, but fun to note.

125 RBI was good for the lead in 2013 (but 109 was good for a tie for second).  100 would get you 5th, 88 10th.  Only Morse is on pace to be among the leaders.   Pagan is close but probably going to fall back some as we get deeper into the season.

SB

Pence leads the way with 30 SB pace, and Pagan is not that far behind with 24 SB pace.  The rest just have the one SB so far, thus Belt, Crawford, and Blanco are tied for third with a 6 SB pace.

46 SB was good for the lead in 2013, 37 would have gotten you 5th, 22 would have gotten you 10th (Pence was one of those).  Pence and Pagan are on pace to be one of the leaders.

Wins

Two unexpected guys are leading, Machi and Hudson with 24 win pace apiece.  Third is a tie at 12 wins for Bumgarner, Romo, and Petit.  And Linecum, Gutierrez, and Huff are at 6 wins.  Cain and Vogelsong did not have any wins by the end of April.

19 wins was good enough to tie for first, 16 wins good to tie for 3rd, and 14 wins tied for 10th.  Machi and Hudson are up there, with Bumgarner, Romo, and Petit right on the edge there.

Saves

Romo being the closer is the only one so far with saves, at a 42 saves pace.  That would have been good for 3rd last season, with the leader at 50 saves and second at 43 (third was tie with 38 saves, which is what Romo had last season).

Strikeouts

Bumgarner leads the staff with 222 strikeout pace.  Hudson is at 186 strikeouts, Lincecum at 162, Cain at 150, and Vogelsong at 102.  Petit is on a 120 strikeout pace, Gutierrez at 78.

232 strikeouts lead the NL in 2013 (222 good for second).  5th was 209 and 10th was 193 (Lincecum).  Bumgarner looks on pace to be among the leaders (he was 7th last season with 199) and it is doubtful that Hudson will continue at and better that rate.

WAR

WAR per baseball-reference.com, 8+ is a MVP season, 5+ is a All-Star season, and they note 2+ is a starter.  I would note that under the methodology, 2.0 WAR is considered to be what an average player can produce and that 0 is defined to be replacement level, so anyone at 0 or negative should theoretically be easily replaceable with someone from the minors.  I'm going down to the average level here to show the players who have been performing.

Pence leads the way with a 7.2 WAR pace, with a good portion of that because of his defense.  Hicks is second at 6.6 WAR, a pace he's unlikely to continue, but wow, that's great so far.  Posey is third  at 6.0 WAR.  Hudson and Pagan are tied for third with 5.4 WAR.  Morse is at 4.2 WAR (in spite of his poor defense) while Machi is at 3.6 WAR (doubtful a reliever continue at this pace).  Crawford is at 3.0 WAR.  Affeldt is at 2.4 WAR.  Sandoval despite his struggles is at 1.8 WAR because of his stellar defense so far.  Casilla, Lopez, Petit, and Romo are also all at 1.8 WAR too.

Top WAR last season was 8.9 WAR and good for 10th was 6.1 WAR, so there are a number of guys who are on pace to be among the leaders, Pence, Hicks, Posey.  Doubtful that Hicks will continue, but nice run so far, ride that as long as it takes.  If he continues, Scutaro's back might keep him out all season until September, where he could be a utility guy for us down the stretch.

Amazingly, all the other starting pitchers are negative when considering just pitching, with Bumgarner at 0.0 WAR because of his hitting so far.  Altogether, including batting, they are at a -0.6 WAR pace.  All the other relievers are either around 0.0 or slightly above, and collectively at 13.8 WAR seasonal pace.

The bench has not been doing well at all so far.  Arias is already at a -4.2 WAR pace equally because of poor offensive and defense.  Blanco is at -1.2 also equally.  Adrianza is at -0.6 because of his offense.  Perez is at -1.8 WAR because of his offense, his good defense covered some of his offensive struggles.  And Sanchez is only at 0.0, mainly because of his defense making up for some offensive deficiencies.  That's a -7.8 WAR seasonal pace.  For the starters, they are at a 37.2 WAR pace.

Altogether that works out to a 43.2 WAR seasonal pace.  That works out to a 90.8 Win season (based on a .294 replacement level or 47.6 wins), while Pythagorean has them playing over their performance, as they should have been 16-12, and not 17-11, which still works out to a 93 win seasonal pace.   At their current pace, they would have a 98 win season.

Overall Thoughts

As noted, there are the statistical anomalies like Machi's 24 win pace or Hicks at a 30 homer pace, but the usual suspects of Pence, Posey, Belt, Morse, Hudson, Romo shows up as well.  I would note Sanchez's high standing in RBI on the team despite being around a half time player.  The good news is that most of the players are not playing over their heads except for homers, where there is no way all those players are going to be at 30 or more homers.  Morse's RBI pace is the only one where he's not likely to continue at that pace.

The main areas of disappointment so far have been the starting pitching and the bench.  The starting pitching was struggling to find itself during the month of April.  Only Hudson is over 0.0 WAR, and strongly so.  Bumgarner and Cain need to bring things up a lot and they have been showing some improvement late in the month.   Not that Lincecum and Vogelsong are off the hook, they also need to bring up their game, but back of rotation guys are expected to be not producing that great nor that consistently good during the season, but the top of the rotation is.

The bench has been mostly a disappointment, but I guess because they do not see a lot of action, that make them more prone to wild swings in performance.  Still, nobody is performing well, all are not doing that well so far.  Sanchez at least has been producing when in RBI situations, and he had that great walk-off 3-run homer.  Adrianza needs to bring up his game defensively if he expects to stick, particularly with Noonan and Panik doing so well in AAA.  Arias has been horrible both offensively and defensively, he is not justifying the contract he got over the off-season.  However, he had been extremely productive in 2012-13, enough so that he could probably start for some teams at 3B, as a cheap option (2.3 WAR seasonal rate is above average), so he should hopefully regress back to that level at some point.  Perez has not done much except defensively again, plus was sent down for a while.  Blanco has also been a disappointment, below prior levels of production, so he should also improve as the season wears on as well.  So that should be a boost to WAR later in the season, from both Arias and Blanco, as they get more playing time.

By the various measures of win percentage, the Giants are performing somewhere in the 90-98 win range.  That is roughly the range that I had set my expectations for this season, and so far, so good.


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