Fearless prognostication for the 2009 season

I had all the numbers but waited until the injury situation with Joe Mauer has been clarified a bit, before I published them. The collective stereo (from the Twin Cities and Ft. Myers) relief sigh when his test results were announced today was audible all the way up the Atlantic coast: his discomfort is due to back inflammation and not due to kidney set back. This means that Joe has a high likelihood to play for a good part of next season.

Back to the predictions: Last year, using 3 different methods (projected team wins based on a particular starter’s starts from 2007, projected individual starting pitcher record and potential changes on close game outcome based on roster changes), I calculated, amidst great ridicule, that the 2008 Twins will win 89 games and predicted that they will win the AL Central Division with and 89-73 record. The fact that I was close (but, unfortunately, no cigar) makes me a bit confident about my methodology.

This year, I have a couple of new calculations to add to the previous ones. Also, I am dropping the close game calculation, because, simply the roster has not changed that much from last year to warrant closer look. What I am basing my prediction will be by looking at:
  1. Projected wins based on projected team OPS (as I looked at the subject this post-season, it became apparent that OPS is the single best measurement that correlates with these Gardenhire Twins winning, leading to the development of a predictive formula of wins based on team OPS)

  2. Projected wins based on projected wins above replacement for the Twins’ players

  3. Projected team wins based on projected starter win-loss record (I used that last year)

  4. Projected team wins based on the team’s record on a particular starting pitcher starts in 2008 (I used that last year)

There we go:

This spreadsheet contains the data for #1 and #2 above

I am using 2 OPS projections (Bill James’ and Phil Mackey’s) and average them to arrive to wins. I am using the CHONE projections for WAR and set the replacement squad wins to 48, which is the average of what a replacement Twins’ team in the Gardenhire era (2002-2008) would win. Please ask questions in the comments area about the different columns, if you have any; as explaining it on a narrative will make this post the size and readability of Magna Carta.

The bottom line is: Using the OPS-based calculations, the 2009 Twins are predicted to win 89.5 (+/-3) games and using the WAR-based calculations, they are predicted to win 89.5 games. These methods seem to agree; but, again, these are new this year.

For #3 above, here are my projected wins by starter for 2009:

Perkins 2
Blackburn 12
Slowey 21
Liriano 17
Baker 15

Bullpen 25 (average of last 4 years)

Total: 92 wins.

Also, if you look at the Twins’ record in games individual starters started in 2008 and projected for 2009 (#4) using 33 starts for Liriano, Baker, Slowey and Blackburn and 30 for Perkins, the number projects to 92 wins.

Four methods:

#1 89.5 +/-3
#2 89.5
#3 92
#4 92

The average is 91, but I will be conservative and predict that the Twins will win 90 games (and the AL Central division) ; however it is not out of the realm of possibility that they can win up to 92. If Mauer was lost for the season, using the OPS method, the Twins’ predicted wins drop to 86.5 (-3), which makes me feel is a good reason to lower the pitching-based expectations to mitigate for Mauer’s potential lack of play.


Anonymous said...


The wins predictions for pitchers this year have to make one wonder just how good the Twins rotation will be for the next few years.



thrylos98 said...


I think that 3 of them will be very good, with Slowey leading the pack. Blackburn will be adequate. The trick is to get Slowey and Liriano signed long term. Maybe after this season. Blackburn will be more than adequate and there are other arms coming up, esp. some folks who are flying under the radar like Dan Osterbrock. I feel very good about the Twins' pitchers

Anonymous said...


What do you think of Humber? Does he look like he will be decent working long relief out of the pen?



thrylos98 said...


I think that he might or might not make the trip up north. At this point, Jones is ways ahead of him for the last pen spot (if they get only 11.) I hope that the Twins do not repeat the Bass mistake from last year and get the best pitchers up north, instead the ones who do not have any options. They might want to work a trade for Humber if he does not pan out...