Projecting 2012: Reds Rotation vs. Cardinals Rotation

Continuing with the projections for the 2012 season, today’s report looks at the starting rotations for the Reds and Cardinals. The following projections can be found at FanGraphs. I’m using Bill James’ 2012 projections for this exercise. First, the projections, then some notes:

“ACE”

Johnny Cueto

  • K/9 – 7.09; BB/9 – 2.82; ERA – 3.77; FIP – 4.02

Adam Wainwright

  • K/9 – 7.49; BB/9 – 2.28; ERA – 3.27; FIP – 3.24

Differential (ERA): 0.5, Cardinals advantage

#2 Starter

Mat Latos

  • K/9 – 8.79; BB/9 – 2.73; ERA – 2.99; FIP – 3.11

Chris Carpenter

  • K/9 – 7.04; BB/9 – 2.17; ERA – 3.25; FIP – 3.25

Differential (ERA): 0.26, Reds advantage

#3 Starter

Homer Bailey

  • K/9 – 7.43; BB/9 – 2.60; ERA – 3.96; FIP – 3.88

Jaime Garcia

  • K/9 – 7.38; BB/9 – 2.70; ERA – 3.64; FIP – 3.47

Differential (ERA): 0.32, Cardinals advantage

#4 Starter

Mike Leake

  • K/9 – 6.22; BB/9 – 2.33; ERA – 4.04; FIP – 4.47

Kyle Lohse

  • K/9 – 5.45; BB/9 – 2.28; ERA – 4.02; FIP – 4.09

Differential (ERA): 0.02, Cardinals advantage

#5 Starter

Bronson Arroyo

  • K/9 – 5.70; BB/9 – 2.22; ERA – 4.00; FIP – 4.68

Jake Westbrook

  • K/9 – 5.16; BB/9 – 3.39; ERA – 4.33; FIP – 4.35

Differential (ERA): 0.33, Reds advantage

Total Differential (ERA): 0.25, Cardinals advantage

Summary: The Cardinals project to have an advantage at 3 of the 5 spots in the rotation, and a slight advantage overall. Obviously, several factors can/will change all of this. MLB teams rarely (never) make it through an entire season using only 5 starting pitchers. In the end, the health of each rotation will determine the overall advantage.

My Take: I was surprised by how closely these rotations project for the 2012 season. The addition of Latos goes a long way in bridging the gap between the two rotations. I don’t take issue with any of James’ projections here. However, it will be interesting to see how Wainwright recovers from major surgery. When he’s right, he’s a top 5 pitcher in the NL, but as we all know, Tommy John surgery can have have a lingering impact on performance.

X-Factors: Two pitchers could dramatically change the overall dynamics of these rotations. For the Cardinals, Roy Oswalt would offer a significant upgrade over Jake Westbrook. As of now, Oswalt is not signed, and the Cardinals look like they are among the finalists in the Oswalt sweepstakes. For the Reds, Aroldis Chapman could offer an upgrade similar to that of Oswalt. Should Chapman transition to the role of starting pitcher effectively, he will be pitching in this rotation. The big question is: who would he replace? The easy answer is Arroyo, but due to his large salary that seems unlikely. Nonetheless, Chapman and Oswalt represent the wildcards for 2012. Here’s what James expects from them this season:

Roy Oswalt

  • K/9 – 7.00; BB/9 – 2.26; ERA – 3.47; FIP – 3.52

Aroldis Chapman

  • K/9 – 12.17; BB/9 – 6.17; ERA – 3.33; FIP – 3.51

Next post – Projecting 2012: Reds Bench vs. Cardinals Bench

I appreciate any feedback.

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