The Royals crappy record and seemingly improved play inspired me to put together a couple tables to try to figure out how competitive they are heading into 2012. My methods were rough by any standards, so I'll just post the tables, explain my feeble methods and duck. The many shortcomings will be obvious. It was just a fun exercise to get a vague sense of where the Royals stand, so feel free to blast away at any of my numbers. I won't take it personally.
|Name||wOBA||Projected wOBA||wRAA||Projected wRAA||Age||Age-Adjusted wOBA||Projected PA's||Age-Adjusted wRAA||Projected WAR|
|Name||K/9||BB/9||K/BB||HR/9||IP||SIERA||ER Above Average|
If you take the age-adjusted offensive numbers with those pitching numbers, you come up with a team that should win about 84.9 games. For fun, if you replace Bruce Chen with Edwin Jackson, you get 86.9 wins.
First, I locked the roster at what it was pre-Salvador, and I assumed Gordon and Hosmer would get 600 PA's. I gave Melky, Frenchy, Gia, Escobar and Moustakas 550 PA's. I gave Navarro and Cain 300 PA's, and I gave Brayan Pena 600 PA's because I didn't have a better projection to assign those PA's to. For each offensive player, I took their ZiPS 2011 rest-of-season projected wOBA and converted that to batting runs above average according to the allotted PA's. (Cain's projection wasn't available, so I gave him a slightly below average projection which is roughly in line with his pre-season projections.) I also calculated a projected 2012 wOBA which is just the 2011 figure plus .002 points for every year of age that a player is below 27. Those numbers are shown in the column labeled 'Age-Adjusted wOBA'. Finally, I converted those age-adjusted wOBA's to batting runs above average.
I've also included WAR totals which is just batting runs above average plus a replacement adjustment plus a positional adjustment. This is the same WAR calculation Fangraphs uses, except I've left out UZR and baserunning because half the team is rookies, and there's no good way to project those numbers with so little data. The Royals are currently +10 runs above average between team UZR and team baserunning, but I'm not counting on 40 outfield assists next year. I think assuming average UZR and baserunning is reasonable. Leaving these out of the WAR calculations makes Escobar look a little worse and Melky and probably Gia look a little better, but it shouldn't screw up the team win% much at all.
For the pitchers, I assumed each of the 5 current starters will pitch 200 innings and each of 7 relievers will pitch 65 innings. That comes out very close to the number of innings in a 162 game season. The bullpen members were kept constant with the exception of Adcock getting the boot. Adcock lovers, complain your hearts out. Then I took each pitchers 2011 SIERA and assumed their 2012 ERA's would be equal to their 2011 SIERA. No regression. No age-adjustment. Then I converted those ERA's to runs above average (more runs above average ==> better pitching) based on the league average ERA of 3.783.
This projection is probably a bit more rosy than reality will be. Reality involves injuries and bench players getting PA's, and that will put some drag in the overall numbers. On the other hand, the offensive numbers don't look terribly optimistic to me overall. For example, I know I'm hoping for more than a .341 wOBA from Hosmer next year.
Even if you knock off a couple wins for injuries and bench players, the nearly 88 win projection with Edwin Jackson suggests that this team has a shot next year. If the young guys like Hosmer, Giavotella and Moustakas outplay their seemingly conservative projections, the team looks even better.