Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 15, 2006
BASEBALL: 2005 EWSL Wrapup By Team

Continuing my look back at how Established Win Shares Levels (explained here) fared during the 2005 season. How did teams stack up against their pre-season EWSL? I'm raking the teams here by how their total Win Shares (i.e., their Wins x 3) exceeded their EWSL. Since I rank 23 players for EWSL before the season and a typical team goes through 30 guys a year, most teams will exceed their EWSL (in 2005, 27 of 30 teams did). But there are two ways to do so, and as you will see from the chart below, different teams took different routes. One route is to get more out of your top 23 players; the other is to bring in guys who weren't on my preseason radar screen.

The "EWSL" column shows each team's preseason age-adjusted EWSL for 23 players. "WS" is the number of Win Shares earned by those 23 players in 2005 (I used the WS totals from the Bill James Handbook, for simplicity of use); it includes Win Shares earned for other teams, so some teams get credit here they didn't actually receive on the field. "Team WS" is just Wins x 3. "Diff" is WS-EWSL. "Other"
is (Team WS)-(WS), thus catching the value of other contributors, minus the lost value of guys from the preseason EWSL roster who did their work for someone else. "Net" is (Team WS)-(EWSL), and the table is ranked by this value.

TeamEWSLWSTeam WSDiffOtherNet
White Sox236.61257297+20.3940+60.39
Blue Jays203.89202240-1.8938+36.11
Red Sox258.06264285+5.9421+26.94
Devil Rays175.71147201-28.7154+25.29

By and large, the fans of the teams at the bottom of the chart have the most cause for unhappiness, given how they failed to live up to the talent available to them. And note that the Giants' EWSL numbers already included both the age adjustments and my arbitrary pre-season slice of Barry Bonds' EWSL in half to adjust for his injury. Bonds' near-total wipeout was only the beginning of an epic collapse.

Available established major league talent isn't everything; teams like the Braves and A's and (though still with poor end results) the Devil Rays rebuilt on the fly, promoting youngsters to fill the shortfall of their preseason lineups. Of course, I had mentioned before the season that EWSL's projection of the Braves as a strong last-place team in a tight division, while reasonable on its face (the Braves' 203 Win Shares from the 23 guys I evaluated ended up being close to that of the Mets and Nationals but far behind Philly and Florida), was of limited usefulness because I didn't think they'd get through the season with Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi as their outfield corners.

The best flourishings of talent on hand were the Indians - by far - the Brewers and the Astros. For Houston, this was largely the result of the Pettitte-Clemens duo and Morgan Ensberg. For Milwaukee, it was Brady Clark and Chris Capuano. For Cleveland, it was the amazing season of Jhonny Peralta, plus Grady Sizemore, but it was really all up and down the lineup.

Red Sox fans may be surprised to see that they basically got what they bargained for from their projected lineup. And the Mets weren't far off. EWSL had pegged the Royals before the season as a staggeringly bad team, the worst in baseball, yet the guys I looked at still managed to significantly underachieve that dismal evaluation.

Players who most exceeded their EWSL: Jhonny Peralta 22.9, Chase Utley 17.8, Jason Bay 17.1, Morgan Ensberg 16.4, David Eckstein 16.4, Grady Sizemore 15.3, Brian Roberts 15.0, Chris Carpenter 14.5, Tony Clark 14.2, Andy Pettitte 14.0, Brady Clark 14.0, Craig Counsell 13.6, Manny Ramirez 13.3, Derrek Lee 13.1, David Ortiz 13.0, Jose Contreras 12.9, Felipe Lopez 12.8, Carlos Delgado 12.6, Ryan Dempster 12.6, Ken Griffey jr 12.0, Danny Haren 11.8, Jorge Cantu 11.6, Paul Konerko 11.5, Joe Mauer 11.5, Richie Sexson 11.3, Mark Ellis 11.2, Todd Jones 11.1, Chris Capuano 10.7, Kyle Farnsworth 10.6, Eric Chavez 10.4, David Wright 10.3, Bruce Chen 10.2, Cliff Floyd 10.1, Dustin Hermanson 10.1. Note that a few of these guys went way up mainly because they got closer jobs. A few, like Manny, did nothing more than defy the ravages of age.

Players who fell furthest off their EWSL: Barry Bonds -38.5*, Scott Rolen -24.4, Albert Pujols -19.4, Jim Thome -19.2, Rocco Baldelli -18.8, D'Angelo Jimenez -18.6, Cesar Izturis -17.1, Corey Patterson -16.8, Termel Sledge -16.7, Jeff Bagwell -15.4, Adrian Beltre -14.7, Marquis Grissom -14.3, Eric Gagne -14.2, Erubiel Durazo -13.7, Curt Schilling -13.2, Khalil Greene -12.8, Carlos Beltran -12.6, Mike Lowell -12.5, Sidney Ponson -12.0, Sammy Sosa -11.8, Craig Wilson -11.5, Keith Foulke -11.4, Russ Ortiz -11.1, Nomar Garciaparra -11.0, Koyie Hill -11.0, Bret Boone -10.7, Oliver Perez -10.3, Sean Burroughs -10.3, Kerry Wood -10.2, Frank Thomas -10.2, Steve Finley -10.0. Note that a few of this group are guys I just misprojected to play. Bonds is the dropoff from his total EWSL, not the halved one I used for the team calculation. Note also that a particular type of player was overprojected by EWSL: good glove men in their 20s without a consistent track record with the bat, like Jimenez, Izturis and Greene. They may have been overprojected by the age adjustment to make strides forward that were incompatible with their defense-heavy profiles; you don't improve that much with the glove each year in your mid-20s. Also, the age adjustment's enthusiasm for early-20s hitters failed to take account of how little room for improvement Pujols had left. And let's not discuss why Termel Sledge was listed as a player of significant value entering 2005.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:11 AM | Baseball 2006 • | Baseball Studies | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Crank, if I understand what you are saying, the Royals were better last year than they should have been? If that is the case, it is really scary. Having been a baseball fan for 35 years or so, last year rooting for the Royals was the most brutal baseball season I have experienced. That being said, I think it did display a light at the end of the tunnel. we are hoping for a much better season this year. A couple of breaks in the rotation and we could be around .500. Hope springs eternal.

Posted by: maddirishman at March 15, 2006 3:23 PM

Good stats! Respect.

Posted by: VIP at March 18, 2006 10:08 AM
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