Thursday, May 31, 2007

2007 NL Central Predictions

Well, better late than never. Here's some projections that I worked out during the first week of the season. Given the way the season is developing, I wish I could change it, but where's the fun in that?

I crunched a few numbers and came up with a bit of rough forecasting for the 2007 season. For each NL Central team, I took a stab at calculating out the individual performance of each player, the subsequent aggregate team production, and their respective W/L records using the Bill James Pythagorean Theorem.

It'll be fun for me to see how close it is, but at the very least, it'll give you something to hold against me in September. ;)

Without further ado, here's how I see the NL Central playing out in 2007:

1) Houston Astros - 84-78 .519 W%

I've got the Astros scoring 758 Runs, which is an increase of 23 over 2006. Carlos Lee paying dividends. And, I've got them Allowing 730 Runs, which is 11 more runs than 2006. I thought it would be higher due to the loss of Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, but Pettitte wasn't great in 2006 and they also suffered through Wandy Rodriguez and Taylor Bucholz, both of whom were awful.

2) Cincinnati Reds - 82-80 .509 W%

I've got the Reds scoring 766 Runs, which is an increase of 17 over 2006. The Reds lost Aurilia, but added Hamilton and are unlikely to see a complete team-wide offensive collapse in the second half like they did in 2006. And, I have them allowing 753 Runs, which is a decrease of 48 Runs. The addition of Lohse and the arrival of Homer helps them out in the pitching department. As does the removal of Claussen (6.19), Elizardo (5.37), and Dave Williams (7.20) from the mix. In the projection, I gave Milton only 130 innings. If he is allowed to pitch closer to 200, then obviously they'll be giving up more runs. Also, if they don't bring up Homer in the second half or if he imitates a gas can, then the pitching won't be quite so good.

Also, the improved defense of adding A-Gon and moving Griffey to rightfield helps.

3) Milwaukee Brewers - 79-83 .488 W%

I've got the Brewers scoring 740 Runs, which is an improvement of 10 runs over 2006. I've got Weeks and Hardy taking a step forward, but Bill Hall taking a step backward.

I've got the Brewers allowing 755 Runs, which is a decrease of 78 Runs. That's a mighty hefty improvement, but having Sheets back at full strength is a big improvement. Also, a step forward from Dave Bush and another solid year from Capuano.

4) Chicago Cubs - 79-83 .488 W%

I've got the Cubbies scoring 758 Runs, which is a 42 run improvement. That's the benefit of adding Alfonso Soriano and a full season of Derrek Lee.

As for the pitching/defense, I've got them giving up 778 Runs, which is a 56 run decrease over 2006. The Cubs add a bit more stability to the rotation, as Rich Hill should continue to be a very good starting pitcher. And, Lilly and Marquis should be adequate at the back of the rotation.

However, I see the Cubs defense as taking a hit with the loss of Juan Pierre and the addition of Izturis over Ronny Cedeno.

The big money spent should help, but not get them to the promise land.

5) St. Louis Cardinals - 78-84 .481 W%

I've got the Cards pegged for 750 Runs, which would be a decrease of 31 Runs over 2006. I think Edmonds (especially) and Rolen are slowing down, which hurts the offense despite an impressive expected showing from Chris Duncan. And, of course, Pujols is always Pujols. But, Yadier Molina and Preston Wilson don't help matters.

As for the pitching, I've got the Cards giving up 779 Runs, which would be an increase of 17 runs over 2006. Due to his elbow problems, I've got Carpenter only working 150 innings in 2007, which really brings down the staff. I really like Wainwright and Reyes, but 2007 may not be a great year for either.

If Carpenter doesn't come back at all, then it'll be a long year for the birds. At this point, they rely too much on Rolen and Edmonds.

6) Pittsburgh Pirates - 71-91 .438 W%

I've got the Pirates scoring 713 Runs in 2007, which is a 22 Run increase over 2006. The addition of Adam LaRoche should help, even though he won't be what he was in 2006.

As for the pitching, I've got the Pirates allowing 805 Runs, which is an increase of 8 runs over 2006. I like Ian Snell a lot, but after that there isn't much to get excited about. The bullpen isn't quite as solid without Mike Gonzalez.

And, the Pirates should suffer quite a bit from shabby defense. They were poor in 2006 and shouldn't be much better in 2007.

Well, there you have it. Take it with a grain of salt, but that's how I've got it pegged for 2007. Of course, big trades, painful injuries, or just the unpredictability/luck of the game could make this wildly off-base.

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