The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CAIRO 2012 v0.3 and Some Extremely Early and Completely Useless 2012 Projected Standings

I’m releasing CAIRO 2012 v 0.3 today which mainly fixes a problem with a handful of pitchers like Alexi Ogando and Ross Ohlendorf and moves players to new teams where applicable.  I figure it’d be a good time to run some projected standings even though they are too early to be of any real value.

DISCLAIMER: This is very limited in telling us much about how 2012 will play out for a large number of reasons.

1) There are still a lot of roster changes coming.  This may give us some sense of how the offseason has impacted teams to this point and it also shows us how things might look if nothing changed from now until April.  Which won’t happen.

2) It’s too early to construct meaningful rosters for a lot of teams, so these projections will favor the teams that have essentially completed their 2012 rosters.

3) In addition to that, projection systems are inherently limited.  They are designed to estimate a player’s true talent based on what they’ve done so far and also by factoring in things like age and how similar players have performed in the past.  They will generally be in the ballpark for the general population of MLB players, but they can miss significantly on individual players which can obviously affect certain teams more heavily than others.

Anyway, using the depth charts from the wonderful MLB Depth Charts and includng playing time from players on the 40 man roster who don’t necessarily figure to be part of the the opening day 25 man rosters to account for organizational depth and playing out next season 100,000 times, here’s how CAIRO v0.3 sees things as of December 13, 2011.  These were run with Aramis Ramirez as a Brewer, but I didn’t remove any of the non-tendered players from yesterday from their rosters.

Date 12/13/2011
Iterations 100000
American League
Yankees 94 68 862 740 59.0% 16.8% 75.9%
Red Sox 91 71 868 763 31.1% 26.1% 57.2%
Rays 85 77 717 654 9.5% 11.8% 21.4%
Blue Jays 75 87 773 817 0.3% 0.6% 0.9%
Orioles 68 94 741 853 0.0% 0.1% 0.1%
Tigers 89 73 780 703 54.3% 4.7% 59.0%
Indians 87 75 751 696 40.8% 5.9% 46.6%
White Sox 77 85 723 795 3.3% 1.5% 4.8%
Royals 73 89 684 760 1.6% 0.2% 1.8%
Twins 66 96 698 829 0.0% - -
Rangers 93 69 812 697 58.0% 13.7% 71.6%
Angels 90 72 720 640 39.5% 16.6% 56.1%
Mariners 77 85 653 668 2.3% 2.0% 4.2%
Athletics 71 91 636 686 0.3% 0.1% 0.4%
National League
Phillies 92 70 681 598 60.6% 10.5% 71.1%
Braves 87 75 711 662 24.9% 13.8% 38.7%
Marlins 81 81 716 695 8.2% 4.4% 12.6%
Nationals 80 82 665 668 4.9% 3.2% 8.1%
Mets 76 86 669 710 1.4% 1.6% 3.0%
Brewers 92 70 700 646 52.5% 14.3% 66.7%
Cardinals 90 72 708 648 36.8% 19.3% 56.2%
Reds 84 78 724 704 10.1% 10.8% 20.9%
Cubs 74 88 649 727 0.3% 1.1% 1.4%
Pirates 70 92 656 758 0.4% - 0.4%
Astros 60 102 569 759 0.0% - -
Giants 88 74 656 613 46.3% 6.4% 52.7%
Diamondbacks 86 76 647 613 31.2% 6.4% 37.6%
Padres 81 81 620 613 11.3% 4.6% 15.9%
Dodgers 79 83 624 644 7.9% 2.9% 10.8%
Rockies 76 86 726 776 3.4% 0.6% 4.0%

The most shocking thing here is the Astros projecting to win 62 games IMO.  I also am amused by the fact that the Marlins don’t really project any better than the Nationals despite all their largesse this offseason.

Also, be aware that I haven’t accounted for the stupid new second wild card thing yet, since I am not certain that it will be implemented for this upcoming season, and rremember that this is more for fun than utility and take it in the appropriate spirit.

--Posted at 11:22 am by SG / 44 Comments | - (0)


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The chart has the Astros with 60 wins.  Just a quibble.

60 seems more reasonable than 62.

I’m pretty sure we’ll re-sign Andruw, which may add a win to the projection. 

Does this iteration assume Ortiz re-signs with the Sox?

The Rangers still probably have a roster move or two up their sleeves, though I’ve read recently that they’re pinched financially.

Yeah, since Ortiz accepted arbitration he is on the Red Sox.  And this assumes Bard as closer, not starter.

I’m kind of surprised that the Angels aren’t even with the Rangers.  I would think Pujols and stealing Wilson from them would have made up the difference and made them slight favorites.

With all the caveats noted, I’m still impressed that the Yankees are projected as the best team in the league right now.  Where Yu ends up will have some impact, as will other signings/trades going forward.  But they’re in a good place, and I think reinforces that they don’t NEED to make any (major) moves this year.  Post-season is still a crapshoot, regardless of how many high-level starters you have.  Though, I do like having weighted dice…

[6] I would echo these sentiments, though I’m still left with a gnawing feeling of insecurity about the rotation after CC, even assuming CAIRO accounts for potential backsliding.

[7] Sure, I wouldn’t be opposed to an upgrade.  I also believe they have enough in the minors that at least one of the AAA pitchers (which includes Noesi) will step up and be a valid big-league pitcher.  Possibly someone we have very low expectations for like Mitchell, even.  I also feel confident in Hughes.  Maybe not getting back to the #1/#2 level, but at least a solid #3. 

I just don’t feel that a team projected as this strong, needs to take risks, is all.  A team like maybe the Reds (for example), if they have the resources ($$‘s or players) and want to make some noise this year, may need to make a few risky moves to solidify their spot.

At first, I was pretty surprised that the Yankees project to be the best team in baseball. Then I remembered this is CAIRO.

[5] 2 of the best players in baseball can’t make up for losing Mathis.

[8] I’m reserving judgment on Hughes.  I just can’t tell whether last year’s troubles are also his future or whether and how much he’s better than that.  I kinda think we lucked out with Calzone and Freddy Mussina last year and think the conservative approach is not to expect those results to be replicated.  But I agree that we don’t need to take unreasonable or excessive risks since we can probably compete till the Beez are ready. 

It helps us that the Sox are seriously hamstrung financially by Ortiz accepting arbitration and a few other burdens they have to carry on their books for the next year.  Those burdens are getting a lot of play up here in the Boston press, though I don’t think we’ve duly appreciated them.  I don’t expect the Sox to blow past the luxury tax limit either, because Scarecrow and company have also invested heavily in their British soccer toys.  I wonder if TWN’s limited financial flexibility figures into the Yankees’ calculations re acquisitions and spending at all.

I just don’t feel that a team projected as this strong, needs to take risks, is all.

I suppose the opposing argument would be that a team that projects to be this good shouldn’t take any chances going with mediocrity or uncertainty in the rotation, but should make sure to have experienced depth in all departments in order to win now. That would mean that they should do something like sign Kuroda (who is established and short term) and not bid on Yu and Centipedes (who are risky and expensive).

I am not sure where I would align myself in that debate. But I would agree that it probably isn’t logical to spend a lot of money on risky moves if you are this good. But deep in my gut I really want them to take a gamble on Yu or Centipedes, mostly because it would add some intrigue and novelty.

[9] You mean Johnny Mathis, the closeted gay singer and baseball catcher?

That would mean that they should do something like sign Kuroda (who is established and short term)

Is Kuroda a lock to perform well in the AL East? Haven’t looked at his stats and don’t even really know what he throws.

[13] The upshot of the RAB analysis of Kuroda is that he would be an upgrade to the rotation, even taking the rigors of pitching in the AL East into account.  He would also only require a short-term commitment that would not explode the Yankees’ apparent plans for getting under the luxury threshold by 2014.

Rolando Brackman signs with the Reds.

12: chances are (was that a song about J Edgar?)

[10] Fangraphs pointed out that Hughes’ numbers outside of his first 3 disasters were merely mediocre/bad. I’m not hoping for early 2010 Hughes, but I think he can certainly be serviceable.


[10 & 17] Re Hughes…looking at BBRef, if we ignore his injury time and his first 3 starts back (where pretty much everyone feels he was rushed), starting on July 27th he threw 49 innings (just under 6 per start) and had a 3.86 ERA.  WHIP respectable 1.24, BB/9 a solid 2.76.  K/9 lacking a bit at 6.24, but not horrible.  Or basically, for about a quarter-season (of IP), he looks like a solid #3. 

I’m inclined to think that’s more who Hughes is now, when healthy.  The health is a question mark, as he’s really only had 2 seasons with solid health (2009 and 2010), one of them mostly out of the bullpen, the other with fatigue issues in the 2nd half.  The other side of course is with some better dedication in the off-season, and a normal ST, he could improve on that - mostly the K/9 - to get back up to #2 or better territory.  One of the reasons I think he should get a full season - if he gets hurt again then maybe the bullpen is his future.  But if he’s “only” a #3 - though many will be disappointed - he should be in the rotation for years to come.

The upshot of the RAB analysis of Kuroda is that he would be an upgrade to the rotation

Yeah, I don’t think he is a lock to be a 3.20 ERA guy or anything. But he is a very safe bet to be somewhere in the 3.75 to 4.50 range, and that just would give them someone who isn’t likely to blow up and destroy a season. His K/9 is consistently above 7, his bb/9 consistently just above 2. His GB% took a dip last year, which is a bit of a concern, but all his other peripherals were flat, so the GBs might just be a blip.

The only real risk the Yanks have is that the mystery men under-perform and they end up sending out replacement level guys 3 or 4 times a week, and a guy like Kuroda is insurance against that. I would think it would be pound foolish for them to not add anyone and not at least make an effort to sign Kuroda. Even at his worst, he is a virtual lock to be better than whoever ends up being their number 5 and 6 starters, and it is possible he would be there number two starter.

[11] Sure, good arguments too.  The counter being if you build too much veteran depth, then the kids don’t get a chance and you end up in the same position again next year.  So…I don’t mind if they get in on Kuroda, or make a modest trade proposal for Danks.  Players that help now but don’t do too much blocking.  What I’d REALLY like is for them to be willing to eat $25M or so of Burnett’s contract and dump him, and THEN go get someone like Kuroda.  You get probably like a 1 win upgrade, still have Hughes and Nova in the rotation, and still have the Noesis and Phelpses of the world one step away.  But that doesn’t look likely to happen so…

Is Johnny Mathis still in the closet?

Aren’t the Astros in the AL West this year?

Who can tell me the hidden connection between the above two questions?

[22] Johnny Mathis’s heavy use of Astroglide?

Reports suggest Sweet Lou will be in the YES booth a few times next season.  Here’s hoping he’s taking Flahertys spots.

[21] Yeah, I really like that idea too. Go in with CC, Nova, Freddy, Hughes, and Kuroda. Have the kids take any starts needed outside of that. Pretty reliably steady rotation outside of not knowing what you get from Hughes.

I see no reason for them to keep Burnett. He has no upside left. Just eat the money needed to move him and be done with it.

Edit - They got what they wanted from Burnett already anyways, the 2009 WS.

Tho JM was gay he was the make out music of choice, along with The Platters,  for heteros of a certain age.

I would love it if they ate some of the Burnett money and dumped him, too, and I agree, it would be the best plan both long and short term IF they were getting someone else like Kuroda or Darvish or Danks. But the truth is they don’t have the depth to dump Burnett at this point. I know it seems like he is awful, but as has been noted many times before, the Yankees will definitely have a good number of starts pitched by someone worse than Burnett this year (I know it is hard to believe, but it is true), so they are not in a position to dump him.


[27] But they would only find out if they are in a position to dump him if one of the kids stepped in and showed they are ready, which they are less likely to get a chance to do if Burnett is getting 32 starts.

very limited in telling us much about how 2012 will play out for a large number of reasons

3 is a large number ?

Anyway, even though these are early from a projection standpoint, at least it can still be used for it’s predictive value.

Also, isn’t Igawa’s spot open now ? AJ could totally rewrite the SWB record books, and the franchise would shed it’s reputation for being unable to develop AAA pitching.

joe saunders was non tendered. I’d rather have him that Freddy Garcia I think.

3 is a large number ?

Well, the Yankees have 2 years left on Burnett’s contract.  And 3 is larger than 2.

I’d also suggest to those hoping the Yankees dump Burnett, it’s not happening.  Not until they know for sure they have 2 or 3 better options than him for the rotation, which we frankly just don’t know yet.

joe saunders was non tendered. I’d rather have him that Freddy Garcia I think.

I think if you account for park and league when comparing them you’d rather have Garcia. 

FWIW, CAIRO thinks Saunders would put up a 5.01 RA, 4.49 ERA, 4.91 FIP as a Yankee.  Garcia’s at 4.55 RA, 4.28 ERA and 4.28 FIP.

Not until they know for sure they have 2 or 3 better options than him for the rotation, which we frankly just don’t know yet.

In my mind, anyone with a pulse is a better option than Burnett. I believe they have at least 2 or 3 guys with a pulse.

[32] Yeah, Saunders was mediocre at best in the AL west. He’s simply not very good. My AZ fan friend hates him.

A.J. for Johan?

[35] Interesting. Would the Mets do it?

Saves them almost $20M. For a team looking to take out a loan…

[35] I like it. If healthy, even with less velocity after the shoulder surgery, I would assume Johan would still be effective. If he isn’t healthy and misses time, the kids get to pitch. Both of those situations are less infuriating than waiting for AJ to implode every start. Not to mention, Johan is off thoe books before the suddenly important 2014.

Burnett wasn’t nearly bad enough in 2010 to cut him loose.  His peripherals were virtually all in line with his career norms, EXCEPT for a crazy-high HR rate.  Seventeen percent of his FBs left the yard.  AJ’s xFIP was only 3.86. 

I’m not saying he’s still a number 2, but he’s a decent bet to provide some reasonable value at the back of the rotation.  For the Yankees to just send him packing and eat $50 million would be unreasonable both on financial and baseball grounds.

Cuttin Burnett’s now is non-sensical.

He’s still a 1-1.5 WAR pitcher.  The fact that he’s massively overpaid, shouldn’t detract from the fact that if we didn’t have him, we would be looking to sign someone like him.

Both of those situations are less infuriating than waiting for AJ to implode every start

Quit your belly-aching. The median implosion point is in the second inning. That’s good because it gives us 7 to recover, right ?

Actually, the infuriating part is when AJ telegraphs the implosion, everyone knows it’s coming, but he squirms out of it, and there’s this guy sitting in my chair, drinking my hooch, screaming at my TV “Pull him !! Don’t wait ! Pull him now, Dickhead !!”

And Girardi leaves him in for 4 more runs. It’s like he’s not even listening.

Burnett wasn’t nearly bad enough in 2010 to cut him loose.

You probably meant to mention the 2011 season, unless you’re repressing the memory. AJ has led the league in wild pitches 2 of the 3 years he’s been a Yankee. And you can’t blame this one on Posada.

Home runs and wild pitches have a way of turning wins into losses.

[41] Should be 2011.  Thanks for the correction.

It’s not cutting Burnett. It’s betting that over the next 2 seasons Johan and the kids that pitch for Johan when he is injured will be 3 wins or more better than A.J.

I don’t think AJ is a 1-1.5 win pitcher any more.  That’s more like his best-case, IMHO.  Also, it wouldn’t be as bad if he were a 1-1.5 win pitcher (being paid like a 3-4 win pitcher) in the last year of his contract.  But this may be the last chance to also get out of next year as well as this year.

For those of us wanting to get rid of Burnett (FYI I’m not on board with a Burnett for Johan swap), the plan (which will fail but should be pursued) is…

Edit: At least, I think most of us believe in some part of the plan below.

1) Find if other teams value Burnett as a 1-1.5 WAR player.  IOW, for a yearly salary of about $7M.
2) Eat the rest of the $$‘s, and get the best player you can in return.  That could be a AA lefty reliever, or a low-A middle-IF with some promise.  Or a low-A mascot.
3) *Either* turn the savings into 1 year of a better pitcher (Kuroda), OR open competition between Noesi, Phelps, Betances, and Mitchell (they’re the players on the 40-man) for 5th spot.

Now for next year, $7M is saved in actual $$‘s, at least that (if not more) is saved for luxury tax, AND a rotation spot is opened for one of the big FA.  Also, you either get the solid #2/#3 type (Kuroda) ppl want for 2012, or the kids get an extended look to see who takes Freddy’s spot in the rotation next year.

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