Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 16, 2005
BASEBALL: 2005 AL Central EWSL Report

Part Three of my 2005 EWSL review (Established Win Shares Levels are explained here, the AL East EWSL report is here, and the AL West EWSL report is here). Again, recall that the 23-man rosters used here will slightly depress the team win total.

Minnesota Twins

RAW EWSL: 189.5 (63 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 203.00 (68 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 225.69 (75 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C22Joe Mauer*3611
1B24Justin Morneau*51012
2B25Luis Rivas8810
SS25Jason Bartlett+0012
3B26Michael Cuddyer666
RF30Jacque Jones161615
CF29Torii Hunter161614
LF31Shannon Stewart161613
DH28Lew Ford#121517
C234Mike Redmond554
INF27Eric Munson#788
OF26Michael Restovich+116
1329Matt LeCroy776
SP126Johan Santana212122
SP232Brad Radke151513
SP326Carlos Silva101010
SP426Kyle Lohse999
SP529Joe Mays111
CL30Joe Nathan121211
R223Jesse Crain*245
R329JC Romero776
R426Juan Rincon9910
R542Terry Mulholland443

Yes, the team with the most youth-driven upside in the division is also the the three-time defending champs, as the Twins continually reinvent themselves. As with last year's Rangers, EWSL is almost certainly lowballing Mauer and Morneau by rating them on partial season totals, although in Mauer's case that could yet be all the Twins get if his knees won't hold up to catching every day. Obviously, getting more than 1 WS worth of production out of Joe Mays would be a big plus as well, but EWSL reminds us that this would require him to exceed what he's been able to give the Twins in recent years.

Juan Castro and a couple of other non-hitters are in the infield mix, with some sources giving the 33-year-old Castro the inside track at shortstop. I'm treating Restovich as a rookie since he's never had 60 at bats in a season.

Chicago White Sox

RAW EWSL: 215.5 (72 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 228.77 (76 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 205.71 (69 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C28AJ Pierzynski171720
1B29Paul Konerko141412
2B30Tadahito Iguchi+0012
SS25Juan Uribe141419
3B27Joe Crede101010
RF31Jermaine Dye998
CF27Aaron Rowand141414
LF29Scott Podsednik#151816
DH37Frank Thomas161613
C228Ben Davis667
INF27Willie Harris666
OF34Carl Everett111110
1329Ross Gload*487
SP126Mark Buehrle171718
SP229Freddy Garcia131311
SP325Jon Garland101014
SP439Orlando Hernandez665
SP533Jose Contreras564
CL36Shingo Takatsu*6119
R230Damaso Marte111110
R330Luis Vizcaino554
R432Dustin Hermanson444
R531Cliff Politte443

The White Sox' primary problem, with the decline of Frank Thomas into an injury-prone .270 hitter, is a lack of star power - this is a fairly well-balanced roster, but teams with Mark Buehrle or Juan Uribe or Scott Podsednik as their best player do not win championships. Of course, like the rest of the division, these guys are built to take on the Twins, not the Yankees.

You tell me which one you would call the White Sox' third starter - but at least Garland is young and still could show the improvement EWSL projects . . . Willie Harris probably won't be the odd man out for too long, since he can play second and the outfield.

Cleveland Indians

RAW EWSL: 174.33 (58 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 189.47 (63 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 195.32 (65 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C26Victor Martinez#111314
1B28Ben Broussard111113
2B30Ron Belliard131312
SS23Jhonny Peralta#122
3B32Aaron Boone111110
RF22Grady Sizemore*359
CF25Coco Crisp#101216
LF31Casey Blake#121512
DH28Travis Hafner#131518
C227Josh Bard#444
INF35Jose Hernandez10107
OF35Juan Gonzalez664
1327Jody Gerut#101212
SP124CC Sabathia131316
SP230Kevin Millwood998
SP327Jake Westbrook111111
SP426Cliff Lee556
SP529Scott Elarton333
CL36Bob Wickman221
R231Bobby Howry333
R328David Riske778
R435Arthur Rhodes443
R530Rafael Betancourt455

The Indians are rated pretty weakly here, but that's a consequence of holes in the pitching staff and at shortstop (you could add 3 or 4 wins to the total by rating Alex Cora instead of Peralta). The outfield and middle infield mixes still look fluid, and also include Cora and Brandon Phillips on the infield side. The bullpen has a titular closer in Wickman, but I wouldn't bet on him holding the job, given his age, injuries, conditioning, recent performance and an abundance of qualified alternatives.

Gonzalez, of course, is ailing again, which is why it's futile to list him as the starter.

Before you give up on Sabathia, recall that he's two years younger than Ben Sheets, who just finally had his big breakthrough last year.

Detroit Tigers

RAW EWSL: 193.83 (65 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 198.57 (66 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 185.72 (62 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C33Ivan Rodriguez212114
1B27Carlos Pena111111
2B23Omar Infante8810
SS29Carlos Guillen181816
3B28Brandon Inge9910
RF31Magglio Ordonez161614
CF28Craig Monroe#91113
LF33Rondell White12128
DH31Dmitri Young121210
C232Vance Wilson665
INF32Ramon Martinez776
OF34Bobby Higginson111110
1325Nook Logan234
SP122Jeremy Bonderman#5610
SP227Mike Maroth889
SP327Nate Robertson#445
SP431Jason Johnson776
SP524Wil Ledezma#233
CL35Troy Percival885
R231Ugueth Urbina998
R329Kyle Farnsworth443
R433Jamie Walker664
R525Franklyn German000

The Tigers, like an undersea mountain, look like they are about to peak without ever breaking sea level. This should be around a .500 team, especially if Bonderman has the big breakout season a lot of people are expecting from him. They're also reportedly trying to deal Urbina for something of more immediate use than a second closer.

EWSL docks the Tigers one win for cutting Alex Sanchez, which tentatively replaces him on the roster with Nook Logan. While the move may turn out to be for the best - Sanchez wasn't really helping the cause, given his poor defense and atrocious percentage base thieving - it definitely makes the Tigers lineup, in which Logan and Chris Monroe are battling for the center field job, a little less of a proven commodity.

Kansas City Royals

RAW EWSL: 126.2 (42 Wins)
Adj EWSL: 145.77 (49 Wins)
Age Adj EWSL: 154.73 (52 Wins)

PosAgePlayerRaw EWSLAdj EWSLAge-Adj EWSL
C24John Buck*245
1B27Ken Harvey#688
2B33Tony Graffanino775
SS27Angel Berroa#111213
3B23Mark Teahen+0012
RF29Terrence Long998
CF25David DeJesus*5912
LF37Matt Stairs11119
DH31Mike Sweeney151513
C231Eli Marrero10108
INF28Calvin Pickering*245
OF32Aaron Guiel554
1331Chris Truby111
SP121Zack Greinke*61112
SP223Jimmy Gobble#456
SP332Jose Lima665
SP433Brian Anderson664
SP527Runelvys Hernandez333
CL26Jeremy Affeldt777
R228DJ Carrasco#344
R328Mike MacDougal#344
R429Nate Field#232
R534Scott Sullivan443

Gack. The Royals promise to make the mediocre teams that constitute the middle class of the AL Central look a whole lot better. What a dismal team, even compared to the hopes with which they entered 2004. 52 wins is not a fair projection, but then, EWSL recognizes that a lot of things have to go right for the first time just to get this team to 100 losses.

Then there's nearly the team's sole cause for optimism, Zack Greinke, who Jay Jaffe and Studes have identified as a guy who could take a step back this year because he was lucky on balls in play in 2004. I wouldn't go shining that Cy Young Award the Baseball Prospectus guys are hinting at just yet.

EWSL underrates John Buck, who gets credit for 4 Win Shares for 2004 based on about a half-season's worth of games; he should actually project out to about 10 or 12 EWSL, not 5 (a similar analysis could apply to Greinke). On the other hand, it seems strange after all these years to be rating Calvin Pickering as just a second-year player. . . I penciled in Teahen as the starting 3B when Chris Truby went down this week with a broken wrist. The Royals may say they don't intend to rush Teahen, but without Truby there isn't even another credible alternative at third, so why keep Teahen waiting? When you add in the rookie adjustment, EWSL actually adds four wins to the Royals' total when you swap an everyday rookie Teahen for scrub outfielder Abraham Nunez.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:30 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

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Posted by: Adam at March 16, 2005 3:50 PM

Holy Cross just beats Notre Dame and the AL Central still gets top billing???? Where's the love?

Posted by: Patrick at March 16, 2005 11:06 PM
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