PECOTA trashes Angels

If manager Mike Scioscia needed any ammo to fire up his troops, it was grooved like a Doc Gooden fastball at the belt by stat maven Nate Silver in his PECOTA ratings for Baseball Prospectus.

Silver, it turns out, doesn’t think much of the Halos — specifically, what he sees as an aging offense creating more headaches for Angels pitchers than rival managers. PECOTA has the Angels finishing 16 games off their MLB-best 2008 pace with a mere 84 wins, barely managing to prevail in what it envisions as a weak AL West.

I can understand some anticipated slippage with Mark Teixeira and Garret Anderson departing; those are two high-quality offensive players. But Bobby Abreu has been a fairly consistent 100/100 man (runs. RBIs), and he should fit nicely between Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero in Scioscia’s projected top third. Of course, a big spring by Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar or Maicer Izturis could convince Scioscia to plant Abreu in the No. 3 hole, with Guerrero fourth and Torii Hunter fifth.

The rest of the lineup is deep and potentially much more explosive than PECOTA imagines. Mike Napoli has the tools to go 30/100 with enough at-bats, joining Guerrero on a surgically-repaired knee, and Hunter, Kendry Morales, Juan Rivera all are capable of exceeding 20 homers with 80 to 100 RBIs. If Hunter bats fourth, behind Vlad, he could surpass his career high of 107 RBIs from 2007.

Call me an incurable optimist, but this shapes up as a pretty fair attack — and it has a nice blend of youth and experience, top to bottom.

It was last year at this time that a lot of snipers were relegating the Angels to second place in the AL West behind Seattle, with its new ace,  Erik Bedard. Scioscia, I’m sure, got some clubhouse mileage out of that. I’m sure PECOTA and its views might surface in one of his pre-game chats with the players before too long.     

6 Comments

I think it’s all about the injuries, or, we hope, the lack thereof. Team depth has a bit to do with it too.

In general, I agree with Lyle’s assessment, assuming the starters play they will score a LOT of runs (I think more than last year).

However, we haven’t even started the year and Napoli is already tagged for DHville. That in itself isn’t the end of the world, but (for example) it would keep them from having Bobby, Tori, Vlade, Juan, and Nap in the line up at the same time.Take one out, and they are a little less potent. I don’t buy the minus 15 game nonsense UNLESS they have to play a lot of games without a full deck on hand.

If Howie can’t stay healthy, if Nap can’t catch, if Kendry hasn’t figured it out, if Matthews never recovers fully, if Figgie gets hurt again . . . even with the great depth they have, they could be anemic . . .

Let’s hope the sick heal, the young (esp. wood, mathis, and kendry) learn fast . . . and they really get going!

It seems like the Angels often outperform the statheads. If not in runs allowed and scored, they certainly outperform in the won/loss column. Is that true? And if so, why?

I like your offensive projections but can’t help but think they are too optimistic.

“Call me an incurable optimist, but this shapes up as a pretty fair attack — and it has a nice blend of youth and experience, top to bottom.”
I agree. Thanks for your insightful reporting. Keep up the great work.
~Matt
http://bloggingboutbaseball.mlblogs.com/

I am going to play the devil’s advocate here for a moment; ask anyone who knows me and I am the biggest Angel fan on the planet, but I believe that PECOTA is going to be right on their analysis. I don’t believe we are going to pitch to the level we pitched last year and the offense has definitely been downgraded. Call it a “recession” year or whatever you want to call it, but I think there is alot of wishful thinking going on in the Angels’ clubhouse. We all are hoping people stay healthy, we all are hoping the kids FINALLY live up to their potential, and we all are hoping that we hit like we did in 2002. But, and it’s a big BUT, the jury is still out and let’s hope they prove me wrong!

Well I have to say you are all right. We have to stay healthy, we have to hit, we have to pitch. Let me refresh your memories on a few things. Last year, like Lyle said, we were pegged to finish second in our division, the Tigers were supposed to be this big powerhouse after signing Miquel Cabrera, both of our big stud pitchers didnt start the season due to injury. Last year for most of the season each starter was batting 30-50 points below their normal batting average, and yet with all of this we had a 100 win season. The year we won the World Series we were pegged to come in last having no star power, no home run threat. We started that season having lost 30 games by the end of May and it was looking very bad. June hit and we couldnt be stopped. With no stars, a wild card entrant into the post season, and given no chance on earth to win the Series against Barry Bonds and his crew, we surpassed all the critics and the nay sayers. What Im trying to say is that there is a reason why we play the game and that is why this game is so much fun. Sciosia is so good as a manager that he knows how to take a bunch of individuals and make a team out of them. Lasorda did it, Torre did it, Bill Rigney, the Angels first manager, did it. So let hope that Mr. Angel (Sciosia) can do it again, and let’s PLAY BALL!……..

I think the problem is we are relying very heavily on some guys who haven’t produced full time yet – Morales, Wood, even Kendrick.

And as the playoffs last year showed us, if guys don’t get on in front of the big guys, nothing will happen.

I hope PECOTA is wrong but I can see how it would be right.

Tom
http://tomsballpark.mlblogs.com/

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