Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Cleveland Indians WAR Spreadsheet

Thanks to the hard-working Sky Kalkman over at Beyond the Boxscore, here's a spreadsheet of the Indians 2009 predicted Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

Some notes:
  • For hitting and pitching, I used the CHONE projections. On Sky's suggestion, I also used the quick-and-dirty formula (OBP*1.75 + SLG)/3 to approximate wOBA.

  • I included Luis Valbuena on offense to get closer to the "recommended" number of outs. As you can see, I'm still short. I'm not doing this as an endorsement of Valbuena over Barfield; CHONE has nearly identical plate appearances and wOBA for the two, making them interchangeable for the purposes of this exercise. I did leave out Andy Marte, since the popular assumption is that his time in Cleveland is short.

  • While my spreadsheet falls short of the recommended outs on offense, adding players (and therefore outs) actually increases offensive WAR in most cases. So, take this as a low-end projection.

  • Baserunning numbers are from Baseball Prospectus's EqBRR. I just used the 2008 numbers, so obviously there's room for improvement there.

  • For fielding, I used UZR from Fangraphs. I took a straight average of each player's UZR from 2006-2008 (when available). Obviously, a weighted average probably would have been better.

  • I also ignored position when taking UZR. This is mostly because I'm convinced the Indians will try some experimenting on the infield to get it right. But at the same time, I didn't want to guess how many innings each player would log at each position.

  • For the rotation, I started with the four known quantities - Lee, Carmona, Pavano (who will hopefully top that inning projection), and Reyes. Then I started filling in the best available players based on the CHONES until I got to the recommended inning count.

  • For the relievers, I followed the current depth chart until I got to the recommended number of innings. But that doesn't necessarily mean I endorse that depth chart.

What does this all mean? If I filled in the spreadsheet correctly, the Indians project to a 90 win team. That's right on the cusp of the playoffs, which is exactly where the Indians want to be.