March 31, 2009

Project-a-tron: The rest of the starting rotation

The projections

Heilman (as starter)28252.131.384.190.3

Before any comments, you gotta love the strikeout staff that the Cubs have assembled.

Dempster's numbers are obviously going to regress to the mean after last year's stellar performance. Even the most optimistic of Cubs fans have to admit that he won't put up those kinds of numbers again. The fact that he was able to pitch so many effective innings last year is a good sign of his conditioning, and the likely drop in numbers will be more indicative of his true talent than some sort of late-age Verducci Effect. Strangely enough, Dempster's ZiPS projection has him with an ERA of 4.08 but a BABIP of .254, without any other big variations in his other stats. Wierd.

Lilly had a much better season than his aggregate stats let on - he was just shelled in April (6.46 ERA at the end of the month), but he managed to shave about 2 and a half runs off his ERA over the rest of the season. Really Lilly's problem is that if he doesn't have it (or there's a strong wind blowing out), he gets hit hard, and if he does have his stuff, he's an incredibly effective pitcher. For a long time he has struck me as the kind of guy who has a good true talent level but with a very high variance in his performances when compared to other pitchers - If I have some time I might make a blog post about it someday.

I originally had Marshall pegged for 130 innings or so, but I think he can pitch for more. 170 innings might be stretching it, but since he'll be the team's defacto 4th starter he should see a lot of action. I'm still having a hard time getting over my perception of him from 2006 - which was that he was a guy who got hit very hard his second and third time through the order and would fade down the stretch as the league figured him out. But, I think that most of these problems stemmed from the fact that he was too young and pressed into service too soon. Marshall has grown as a pitcher and should do a fine job of delivering league average innings for a few years, though I don't see much potential in him to do much more than that.

Heilman seems like the most likely candidate at this point to soak up the extra Marshall/Harden innings. If Samardzija does end up going to Iowa he might end up filling this slot instead, which would not be so good - if Heilman excells as a bullpen guy this would make this more likely to happen as well.


Ben said...

Cubs tickets arrived today. Bleachers in April = brrr.