Projected OPS+ numbers in the different spots of the batting order

OPS+ for the different places in the batting order (2008 based on 2007 OPS+ numbers)

2007 pr.2008 lineup

1 75 56* Gomez
2 86 117 Mauer
3 87 111 Cuddyer
4 95 121 Morneau
5 112 91* Young
6 104 109 Kubel
7 80 106 Harris
8 77 112 Lamb
9 100 56 Everett

*presumably Young and Gomez will increase their 2007 numbers.

Assuming that the starters will not start every game, there would be a 5-10% drop in those numbers due to AB by replacement players. Regardless, there is a huge difference between 2007 and 2008

supplement about pitching in 2007

Previously I discussed that the loss of Santana could be not as big as it seems in terms of his 2007 performance. Here is a list of all the 2007 starters with the record of games that the team won or lost when they were the starting pitchers

Slowey 7-4
Baker 13-11
Santana 16-16 *
Bonser 14-16
Garza 7-8 *
Silva 15-18 *
Ortiz 4-6 *
Ponson 2-5 *

The ones with asterisks are no longer with the team. In addition, the Diamondbacks were 16-17 in games that Livan Hernandez started (which would potentially put him under Santana in that list). The Twins were 10-4 in games Liriano started in 2006.

If we project 33 starts for 4 starters and 32 starts for the fifth, assuming that the team will perform similarly as last year, we'd have

Liriano 22-10
Slowey 21-12
Baker 18-15
Bonser 16-17
Hernandez 16-17

and total for the team 93-69. A bit of scrutiny about these assumptions and further refinement

  • Liriano most likely would not be in his 2006 form, so let's give him 75% of 2006

  • Hernandez is going from the NL to the AL, so let's give him 75% of 2007

  • Bonser, Baker have improved, so let's give them 115% of 2007

The refined results:

Slowey 21-12
Baker 21-12
Bonser 18-15
Liriano 17-15
Hernandez 12-21

resulting to a team record of 89-73 (which is identical to that of the calculation based on close games lost last year, a few posts earlier)

Interested edit:

The ESPN projections have the Twins with a record of 86-76 and project Bonser at only 8 wins. The Baseball think factory's Zips projection (you need to do some work to find Livan Hernandez's numbers), has the Twins with 92 wins...

Division watch

Chicago White Sox

It looks like Joe Crede will be the starting 3B and Juan Uribe the starting 2B, while Nick Swisher the starter in CF. There also are questions about the leadoff spot. Ozzie Guillen is being Ozzie Guillen. The pitching rotation is set (Vasquez, Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, Contreras and John Danks). They had 42 wins and 52 loses as a group last year. Swisher, Brian Anderson and Konerco are having great springs where AJ Pierzynski, Cabrera and Crede are struggling. T. Ohka has been the surprise on the mount allowing only one run in 10 innings where Floyd and Conteras allowed 9 and 10 runs in 11 and 14 innings respectively. Chicago is 9-12 this spring.

Cleveland Indians

The Sabathia circus is in full swing and will not stop before he is signed or traded. Meanwhile, the 25 men roster is practically set with questions only about the last utility spots. Masa Kobayashi is getting adjusted to life in the States and sweems to be a lock in the bullpen. The only rotation question is whether Byrd will get punished by MLB for HGH use. Sizemore, Ben Fransisco and Gutierrez are having great spings where Dellucci and Garko are struggling. On the mount, all starters other than Westbrook who has not given up a run in 8 innings are struggling with ERAs ranging from 5.00 for Sabathia to 8.31 for Lee. Cleveland is 9-11 this spring

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are having bullpen issues while Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney are out at least until mid season for Zumaya and a couple weeks for Rodney. Detroit's roster is closed to final, with bullpen being the major questionmark. Rodriguez, Polanco and Guillen are having great springs while Rentaria and Sheffield are struggling. Infield error watch: Cabrera 3, Rentaria 2, Sizemore 2. Rogers is having a great spring on the rotation, while Bonderman and Verlander are struggling. Todd Jones has a 14.85 ERAand T. Byrdak 10.00. Between the 2 of them they gave up 23 runs in 15.2 innings. Detroit is 11-10 this spring

Kansas City Royals

The Royals' rotation is all but set with John Bale, Brett Tomko, Jorge De La Rosa and Luke Hochevar fighting for the last spot. J. Guillen's upcoming suspension means that the Royals need to find a replacement RF for the beginning of the season. All in all the team is in flux. Butler, Callaspo, Huber and Teahen are having great springs whereas Berroa and German are struggling. The pitching has been very inconsistent this spring with only Meche (2.70 ERA in 10 innings) and Hochevar (2.25 ERA in 8 innings) being the bright points. The Royals are 10-10 this spring.


Why do I think that the Twins can win this year? Part II 2007 retrospect: The Santana factor

Johan Santana last year won 15 and lost 13 games. Would he be missed this year?

Here is a list of the 2007 games in which the Twins won when Santana was the starting pitcher

4/2 BAL 7-4
4/8 @CHW 3-1 *
4/19 @SEA 6-5
5/5 BOS 2-1 *
5/22 @TEX 7-1
5/28 CWS 10-4
6/19 @NYM 9-0
6/24 @FLA 7-4
6/29 @DET 11-1
7/4 @NYY 6-2
7/14 @OAK 5-3
7/28 @CLE 3-2 *
8/8 @KCR 11-4
8/19 TEX 1-0*
8/24 @BAL 7-4
9/9 @CHW 5-2

So only in 4 of these wins (25% noted with asterisks above), the team scored fewer than 5 runs. In all 16 games the Twins won when Santana started, the team allowed an average of 2.38 runs per game

Let's look at the teams wins in games that Bonser, Baker and Slowey started in 2007.

4/3 BAL 3-2 Bonser *
4/21 @KCR 7-5 Bonser
4/26 KCR 1-0 Bonser *
5/8 CHW 7-4 Bonser
5/13 DET 16-4 Bonser
5/19 @MIL 8-1 Bonser *
5/23 @TEX 5-3 Bonser
5/29 CHW 9-2 Bonser
6/10 WSN 6-3 Bonser
7/15 OAK 4-3 Bonser *
8/23 @BAL 5-2 Bonser
9/10 @KCR 4-2 Bonser *
9/27 @BOS 5-4 BOnser

5/19 @MIL 5-2 Baker
5/25 TOR 4-3 Baker *
5/30 CHW 7-6 Baker
6/20 @NYM 6-2 Baker
6/26 TOR 2-1 Baker *
7/6 @CHW 20-14 Baker
7/12 OAK 6-2 Baker
7/30 KCR 3-1 Baker *
8/5 CLE 1-0 Baker *
8/26 @BAL 11-3 Baker
8/15 @SEA 6-1 Baker
8/31 KCR 5-0 Baker
9/11 @KCR 6-3 Baker

6/1 @OAK 3-2 Slowey*
6/12 ATL 7-3 Slowey
6/17 MIL 10-9 Slowey
6/30 @DET 8-5 Slowey
9/17 TEX 5-4 Slowey
6/6 @LAA 8-5 Slowey
9/23 CHW 7-1 Slowey

From the team's 13 wins in games that Bonser started, in 5 (38.4%) the team scored fewer that 5 runs. The team allowed an average of 2.69 runs per game, in games the Twins won with Bonser as the starting pitcher

From the team's 13 wins in games that Baker started, in 4 (30.8%) the team scored fewer that 5 runs. The team allowed an average of 2.77 runs per game (if we disregard the 7/6 game, the number drops to a very impressive 1.83), in games the Twins won with Baker as the starting pitcher

From the team's 7 wins in games that Slowey started, in 1 (14.3%) the team scored fewer that 5 runs. The team allowed an average of 4.14 runs per game, in games the Twins won with Slowey as the starting pitcher

Thus, arguably Baker and Bonser could potentially offset the loss of Santana, comparatively to 2007.

Why do I think that the Twins can win this year? Part I 2007 retrospect:

Why do I think that the Twins can win this year?
Let's look at some games they lost last year:

Games that could have been won if Ponson and Ortiz were not starting (7):

4/20 (Ponson) @KCR 11-7 (Punto 3B, Redmond DH, Tyner LF starting)
4/15 (Ponson) KCR 4-3 (Rodriguez 3B, Tyner LF starting)
5/3 (Ortiz) @TBD 4-6 (Punto 3B, Tyner RF, Cirillo DH starting)
5/6 (Ponson) BOS 4-3 (Tyner RF, Cirillo DH, Rodriguez 3B starting)
5/15 (Ortiz) CLE 15-7 (G. Jones DH, Punto 3B starting, Cirillo, Tyner and Rodriguez pinch hitting; this is not a close game but Ortiz gave up 6, Perkins 3 and Crain 6 runs)
5/20 (Ortiz) @MIL 6-5 ((Punto 3B, Ford LF, Heitz C starting)
5/26 (Ortiz) Tor 9-8 (Cirillo 3B, Punto SS starting)

Cames that injured or inadequate relievers lost (8):

4/29 (Crain) @Det 4-3 (Punto 3B, Redmond DH, Rodriguez 2b starting)
8/1 (Rincon) KCR 5-3 (Tyner RF, Punto PH)
8/28 (Cali) @CLE 6-5 (Punto 2B, Tyner LF)
9/4 (DePaula) CLE 7-5 (White LF, Heitz C, Rodriguez 3B)
9/7 (DePaula) @CHW 11-10 (Tyner LF, G. Jones DH, Heintz C, Punto 2B)
9/8 (Cali) @CHW 8-7 (Tyner LF, Rodriguez 2B, Morales C, Punto SS)
9/26 (Blackburn) @Det 9-4 (White DH, Rodriguez 3B, Punto SS)
9/29 (Blackburn) @Bos 6-4 (Tyner LF, White DH, Rodriguez 2B)

1-2 run games lost starting Tyner, R. White, Cirillo, Punto, Rodriguez etc..., not mentioned above (26):

4/13 TBD 4-2 (Punto 3B, Rabe LF and Rodriguez DH)
4/22 @KCR 3-1 (Punto 3B, Rabe LF, Redmond DH)
4/24 CLE 5-3 (Tyner DH, Punto 3b)
4/29 DET 4-3 (Punto 3B, Redmond DH, Rodriguez 2B)
5/2 @TBD 4-3 (Punto 3B, Cirillo DH, Tyner RF)
5/4 BOS 2-0 (Punto 3B, Rabe RF)
5/17 CLE 2-0 (G. Jones DH, Punto 3B)
6/2 @ OAK 1-0 (Cirillo DH, Punto 3B)
6/3 @ OAK 4-2 (Punto 3B, Tyner DH)
6/9 WAS 3-1 (Punto 3B, Tyner DH)
6/22 @FLA 5-4 (Cirillo 3B, Ford LF)
6/27 TOR 5-4 (Punto 3B, Ford RF)
7/1 @DET 1-0 (Punto 3B, Tyner DH)
7/7 @CHW 3-1 (Cirillo DH, Punto 3B, Ford LF)
7/17 DET 1-0 (Cirillo DH, Tyner LF, Punto 3B)
7/18 DET 3-2 (Cirillo DH, Ford LF, Punto 3B)
7/19 DET 4-3 (G. Jones RF, Punto 3B, Tyner CF)
7/23 @TOR 6-4 (White DH, Tyner RF, Punto 3B)
8/9 @KCR 1-0 (White DH, Rodriguez 3B)
8/11 @LAA 4-3 (Punto 3B, White LF)
8/13 @SEA 4-3 (Punto 3B, Tyner DH, White LF)
8/29 @CLE 4-3 (White DH, Tyner LF, Punto 3B)
9/14 DET 4-2 (White LF, Punto 3B)
9/15 DET 4-3 (G. JOnes DH, Rodriguez 2B, Punto 3B)
9/16 DET 6-4 (Tyner LF, Heintz C, Rodriguez 2B, Punto SS)
9/21 CWS 6-4 (LeCroy DH, Ford LF, Punto 3B)

Total games 26+8+7=41...

Let's very conservatively assume that the Twins this year will win 1/4 of these games, due to upgrades in batting, the rotation and bullpen. That would be 10 games, giving them a record of 89-73 and easily making the playoffs, esp. given that most of these wins are on division rivals. The Twins' 2007 Record against division rivals was:

vs CHW 9-9
vs CLE 4-14
vs DET 6-12
vs KCR 9-9