A 2012 projection with our roster as it is now, and how it may look

I've been sitting around thinking about whether or not I should feel optimistic about the team going into next year. A large part of me feels that the team didn't miss the playoffs last year because of injuries, that there was some underlying issue that may or may not have been addressed yet, but I've also argued around here that I think good players play regardless of the scenario, that ultimately when they get up to bat it's just them up there, so it is possible that the Red Sox September was one gigantic naturally occurring slump by a bunch of our players. If that's the case, all things equal, we may never witness that again.

Using the roster as it looks right now, what can we expect?

The easiest way to project a team's winning percentage is knowing the runs scored and the runs allowed and plugging them in to get a Pythagorean winning percentage, which is a pretty fair calculation. Ideally I would use fangraph's fan projections, however Bill James seems to have gotten his projections out for everyone and the fans have slacked on some of the more unknown players. It'll be pretty basic, I'm going to add up the projected runs scored for each player currently on the roster, scale that number up to 6375 PAs (the rough average number of PAs the team has had in the last few years) and then do the same with runs allowed by all our pitchers scaled to a typical amount of innings pitched, 1450. With pitching, I'll run a couple scenarios, the first with just the pitchers we have now scaled and the second with a couple possible additions plugged in to see how it changes, with the scaling I don't think it will change much though. I'm also sticking Bard back in the bullpen, so there! Miller ends up in the pen here as a swingman with Aceves, but hopefully he just ends up in AAA never to be seen again.

First off, the projected roster!

C - Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B - Adrian Gonzalez
2B - Dustin Pedroia
SS - Marco Scutaro
3B - Kevin Youkilis
LF - Carl Crawford
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury
RF - Josh Reddick
DH - David Ortiz
OF - Darnell McDonald
OF/IF - Mike Aviles
IF - Nick Punto
C - Kelly Shoppach

SP - Jon Lester
SP - Josh Beckett
SP - Clay Buchholz
SP - ???
SP - ???

RP - Daniel Bard
RP - Mark Melancon
RP - Matt Albers
RP - Alfredo Aceves
RP - Scott Atchinson
RP - Andrew Miller
RP - Franklin Morales

Now with the projected runs scored:

Salty: 44 Rs / 349 PAs
Gonzo: 93 Rs / 684 PAs
Pedey: 95 Rs / 642 PAs
Scoot: 80 Rs/ 642 PAs
Youk: 87 Rs/ 576 PAs
Crawford: 93 Rs/ 646 PAs
Ellsbury: 102 Rs / 634 PAs
Reddick: 66 Rs / 493 PAs
Papi: 86 Rs / 623 PAs
Filet: 43 Rs / 347 PAs
Aviles: 41 Rs/ 333 PAs
Punto: 34 Rs/ 341 PAs
Shoppach: 28 Rs / 237 PAs

That comes to a total of 892 runs over 6547 PAs. OK, so by scale up I totally meant scale down, my apologies. The projected number of runs scored with these players is 869. Which for comparison's sake is 6 less than last season. Of course, from the very nature of projections, they do consider averages, so last season does have an impact on the next season's guess.

On to pitching. It's important to note that I don't buy the even/odd year Beckett fluctuation, it's noise, the ease of which the year can be divided by 2 really has no impact on whether or not he's going to pitch well, it just appears that way, once again, noise.

Lester: 77 Rs / 192 IP
Beckett: 75 Rs / 186 IP
Buchholz: 75 Rs /191 IP

Bard: 18 Rs / 70 IP
Melancon: 32 Rs / 75 IP
Albers: 33 Rs / 65 IP
Aceves: 45 Rs /118 IP
Atch: 13 Rs/ 38 IP
Miller: 42 Rs / 70 IP
Morales: 25 Rs / 51 IP

That's a total of 435 Earned Runs allowed over 1056 IP. This scales up to 597 Earned Runs allowed over the projected 1450 innings pitched. Unearned runs need to be factored in to get the total number of runs allowed, this number is about 8%, bringing the runs allowed number up to 645, or about 35 less runs than last season.

Since the calculator on my work computer here is a little basic I'll use the following Pythagorean expectation formula: rs^2/(rs^2 + ra^2). Plugging 869 runs scored and 645 into runs allowed, clicking some buttons and the expected winning percentage is... .644 or a record of 104-58.

Of course that assumes that the two starters we end up using in the 4 and 5 spots are equal to the weights that Buchholz (that's a lot of projected IP from Mr. James!) Beckett and Lester create when leaving the two other spots blank.

Now, we may get 1 starter of that level, but I doubt two. So in my next scenario I'm going to DFA the ??? twins and with the money left in the budget sign Kuroda and Saunders which I feel is the upper limit of what we could do, probably costing us somewhere in the $13-$17M range before tax.

Kuroda: 80 Rs / 204 IP
Saunders: 99 Rs / 212 IP

This takes us to 610 ERs allowed over 1472 IP. Scaling that down to 1450 IP gets us 601 ERs, plus the unearned run factor of 1.08 is 649 total runs allowed, only 4 more than before. Plugging that into the Pythag expectation we get... .642 or again the record of 104-58.

Aww heck, I'll do one more, this time with bargain bin options, we "steal" Livian Hernandez away from the Natinals by offering him a little more money, say $1.5M and get Rich Harden as well, for probably the same amount.

Harden: 54 Rs /121 IP
Hernandez: 74 Rs /148 IP

Those numbers would place us at 563 ERs in 1325 IP. Scaled that goes up to 616 ERs, which is factored up to 665 total runs allowed. The projected record would be... a .631 winning percentage or 102-60.

I do find it a little hard to believe that Harden and Hernandez would only be worth 2 less wins than Kuroda and Saunders.

This of course is all very rough, I recall doing similar work last season and projecting 110 wins. We obviously didn't get that many, but I did take some pride watching them play to that sort of level in June and July, it may be cherry picking but without that stupid April start or our disastrous September (a span of about 40 games) the other 120 were really something.

The roster won't look anything like this by the end of the year either. Obviously we don't know who those other two starters are for sure, one may very well be Bard and the other Miller and we'll have Soria closing if there are anything to today's rumors. Potential impact players like Ryan Lavarnway or Ryan Kalish could boost our run scored numbers quite a bit and someone like Jose Iglesias may lower them a tinge, but negating some of that with his defense.

Maybe I'm a little more optimistic for the 2012 season now.

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