Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 11, 2005
BASEBALL: 2005 AL West EWSL Report

Part Two of my 2005 EWSL review (Established Win Shares Levels are explained here, and the AL East EWSL report is here).

Remember again that EWSL, by rating only 23 players per team (whereas a typical team employs closer to 35 or 40 players in the course of a season), tends to understate by a few wins the wins a team can expect to compile. I'll run an adjustment for that when we get to the end of the AL, but for now the wins totals are mainly for comparison to the other teams.

Angels of California at a City That's Sort of But Not Quite a Suburb of Los Angeles and Includes Disneyland

RAW EWSL: 244.33 (81 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 268.67 (90 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 247.59 (83 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C30Ben Molina121211
1B31Darin Erstad111110
2B27Chone Figgins#131516
SS30Orlando Cabrera151513
3B24Dallas McPherson01212
RF29Vladimir Guerrero252522
CF40Steve Finley191916
LF33Garret Anderson202013
DH31Jeff DaVanon#9119
C230Jose Molina443
INF29Adam Kennedy141412
OF26Juan Rivera#91011
1328Robb Quinlan*489
SP132Bartolo Colon141413
SP230Jarrod Washburn101010
SP329Kelvim Escobar131311
SP426John Lackey9910
SP534Paul Byrd776
CL23Francisco Rodriguez111316
R233Brendan Donnelly885
R329Scot Shields11119
R427Kevin Gregg#445
R530Esteban Yan554

His name was Best, Best of the West . . . It remains to be seen how serious McPherson's back troubles are; that could put a big crimp in the Angels' power, depth and flexibility, particularly with Kennedy already hurt and Tim Salmon down for the count. Perhaps McPherson will be the new Glaus in more ways than one. . . It seems odd to me, given his great finish last year, that Rivera isn't being penciled in for a larger role on this team. . . The age adjustment's weakness can be seen in the projected improvement of K-Rod, although by Win Shares he actually should improve by virtue of having more save opportunities (it's close to impossible for him to improve his pitching, at least not without becoming Gagne).

Oakland A's

RAW EWSL: 208.5 (70 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 245.23 (82 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 236.18 (79 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C31Jason Kendall212118
1B35Scott Hatteberg161610
2B29Keith Ginter998
SS25Bobby Crosby*71318
3B27Eric Chavez222223
RF25Nick Swisher+11212
CF29Mark Kotsay191917
LF29Eric Byrnes#151816
DH31Erubiel Durazo171715
C233Adam Melhuse443
INF28Mark Ellis8810
OF28Bobby Kielty9910
1326Charles Thomas*5910
SP127Barry Zito161617
SP223Rich Harden81013
SP324Dan Haren#111
SP423Dan Meyer+004
SP524Joe Blanton+004
CL31Octavio Dotel121210
R230Kiko Calero#444
R327Justin Duchschurer#567
R435Ricardo Rincon553
R526Juan Cruz444

My gut tells me the A's will be a force to be reckoned with this season. But EWSL is much more sober about the rebuilding job the team needs to suffer through before the A's can be considered a bankable contender rather than a maybe-if-everything-breaks-right longshot. Do the math and you'll see that the bulk of the problem is that Oakland has handed over 3/5 of the starting rotation to guys with no major league track record of success. That may be an inspired move, but even so we could be talking "2002 Marlins," "1990 Braves" or "1968 Mets." Recall that Mark Mulder's ERA as a rookie was 5.44; Rich Harden's was 4.46. Even the Cox/Mazzone Braves can't boast a success rate with rookie (or, like Haren, still unproven) pitchers that's any better than a 50/50 proposition - think of Steve Avery (5.64 ERA), Tom Glavine (4.56), Jason Schmidt (5.70), Odalis Perez (6.00), and Bruce Chen (5.47). And except for Chen, those guys all went on to be good pitchers. The point here isn't that the A's won't have success with Haren, Meyer or Blanton, but that it's highly unlikely we'll see all three of them getting the job done in 2005, and more likely that two out of three will take more lumps than the A's can afford if they expect to win 90 games this season with a good-not-great offense (this isn't the 1999 Indians).

Unlike the likes of BJ Upton, I'm rating Nick Swisher as an entirely non-established rookie, since he only got 60 major league at bats last season. He should be expected to break in well, since he's a little old for a rookie. . . like Rivera, I had expected when the A's traded for Charles Thomas that they had bigger plans for him than being a bench player (if the A's succeed in trading Byrnes, that would open up a job for Thomas and/or Dan Johnson in left).

Seattle Mariners

RAW EWSL: 218.83 (73 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 236.33 (79 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 213.26 (71 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C26Miguel Olivo555
1B30Richie Sexson141413
2B36Bret Boone191916
SS32Pokey Reese554
3B26Adrian Beltre262628
RF31Ichiro Suzuki252522
CF24Jeremy Reed+21212
LF31Randy Winn202017
DH33Raul Ibanez141410
C236Dan Wilson887
INF32Scott Speizio998
OF29Bucky Jacobsen+244
1327Willie Bloomquist333
SP126Joel Pineiro101010
SP242Jamie Moyer121210
SP332Ryan Franklin10109
SP426Gil Meche555
SP529Bobby Madritsch*487
CL34Eddie Guardado11119
R228JJ Putz*122
R327Julio Mateo444
R436Shigetoshi Hasegawa776
R535Ron Villone553

Jamie Moyer, who's 42, couldn't break eggs with his fastball, and probably less than a 50/50 shot to still be pitching when he's 43, led the Mariners pitching staff in strikeouts last season, with 125. The staff is deep but not terribly impressive.

I rated Reed as a rookie, since he had just 58 at bats last season, although he certainly made the most of them (3 WS). He'll have an uphill battle to hit for average at SafeCo, but as Ichiro has shown, it can be done (not that the park hasn't taken a big bite out of Ichiro).

Texas Rangers

RAW EWSL: 189.67 (63 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 197.47 (66 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 205.05 (68 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C29Rod Barajas665
1B25Mark Teixera#172028
2B29Alfonso Soriano222219
SS28Michael Young212125
3B24Hank Blalock191923
RF29Richard Hidalgo131312
CF24Layne Nix568
LF27Kevin Mench111111
DH31David Dellucci886
C225Gerald Laird#111
INF30Mark DeRosa444
OF30Gary Matthews jr.888
1335Greg Colbrunn221
SP140Kenny Rogers131311
SP229Ryan Drese998
SP326Chris Young*111
SP427Ricardo Rodriguez222
SP535Pedro Astacio111
CL30Francisco Cordero131312
R225Frank Francisco*368
R327Joaquin Benoit444
R434Ron Mahay665
R532Chan Ho Park333

In case you hadn't noticed, EWSL doesn't like teams with a shortage of established, accomplished pitchers. The Rangers, with only two starting pitchers with as many as 3 EWSL and a few more weak resumes in the bullpen, fit that bill perfectly. Teixera seems like the most likely bet to lead the league in homers, although the race should be tight with guys like A-Rod, Manny, Beltre, Sexson, Vlad and maybe somebody like Chavez busting out a big year (there's also the off chance of a Sosa revival).

Analyzing the Ranger pitching staff is a little dicey - it's hard to say at this point, at least from where I sit, who the rotation will be after Rogers, Drese and most likely Young. I'm actually skeptical that Park will make the Opening Day roster. On the other hand, the Rangers still have upside: it's easier for a team with established sluggers to suddenly get some unexpected pitching success than the other way around.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:20 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

One thing that Rangers does have is one hella of a pitching coach in Orel Hershiser who managed to whipped their staff to above and beyond their potential (except Park, but Ranger overpaid him).

I still remember fondly Hershiser's magical 1988 season.

Posted by: BigFire at March 11, 2005 10:20 AM

Ben Molina 11 EWSL? Your prediction is laughable.

Posted by: kk at March 24, 2005 6:24 AM
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