I’ve been playing around with EditGrid this morning and I made a few graphs relating to the 2009 Giants WAR projections. There really isn’t any new information presented in these graphs, but they might help some to see just where the wins are actually coming from.
I like this pie chart because it shows — in my opinion — how much I think teams, fans, sportswriters, etc. can overrate the impact of a bullpen. I really like our improved bullpen, but in the big scheme of things, bullpens don’t add a lot of wins to a team. You tend to get the meat-and-potatoes from your position players — in part because they both create and prevent runs — and your starting pitching — because they throw more innings than your bullpen. If you want to spend on making your team better, you would get the most bang for your buck by improving your starting lineup and rotation. Of course, that assumes that you’ll be spending wisely. The Giants might have had the right idea with Barry Zito, but they missed the mark by miles.
Briefly looking at the wins added by the hitters/position players — this includes defense — we can see that Aaron Rowand is projected to add the most wins above replacement out of our group. For all those that groaned about the signing of Edgar Renteria, they could be groaning just to groan, he’ll add the 2nd most wins to the team among this group. In fact, only Renteria and Rowand are breaking the +2 wins threshold. Randy Winn almost breaks +2 wins with his projection. If I was a betting man, I would put down a bet on him to do so. Also, remember this is based on playing time — you can’t rack up WAR’s if you aren’t playing — so while Nate Schierholtz isn’t adding much to the overall team, it’s mostly because of playing time. Because of this, don’t get confused and believe that Dave Roberts is a better player, he’s just projected to get more playing time.
On to the starters group. Lincecum and Cain are really good. Johnson and Sanchez constitute a nice 1-2 punch, they both are projected to add +2 wins a piece to the team. Zito clocks in as our worst full-time starter and Noah Lowry is projected to chip in a quarter fraction of a win. If the Giants do decide to trade Sanchez, they would lose 2 wins off their team total. That assumes that they would replace him with exactly a replacement level starter — a starter with an ERA of 5.50.
Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt should be the go-to relievers for the team in 2009. Also, remember that the reliever WAR projections include a leverage index which will help boost the wins of certain relievers used in high leverage situations. Wilson and Affeldt are getting a partial boost to their WAR’s because of this. Sergio Romo should be a solid member of the bullpen in ’09 and Bob Howry offers some upside if he can bounceback after a poor 2008 season. Hinshaw, Yabu, and Taschner are the bottom tier of the bullpen and should be used accordingly. The ‘Other RP’ group is responsible for 80 innings of exactly replacement level relief, that’s why they have a score of zero.