The 5th Spot / A Follow Up

Time for Jumbo to climb back into the Cubbie saddle with a quick hitter follow-up to Lionel's excellent breakdown of the battle for the Cubs 5th SP slot in the coming season. Apologies for ganking the above logo from the fabulous MarshallFans.com. What can I say? I just love the fact that their site exists. But looking at this...their logo looks rather suspiciously like the TD logo doesn't it? Hmm...

Baseball Prospectus recently released its PECOTA projections for the upcoming season. The numbers give full projections for nearly all major league players and, using these numbers, allows it to shoot out a projected win total for MLB teams. Before we get to the inspiration for the post-just know that BP projects the Cubs to not only win the NL Central for the third straight year, they predict 97 wins, a 7 game edge on MIL and 11 each on HOU and STL. Not to mention the 97 projected wins is 1st in the NL (PHI w/ 92 is 2nd) and tied for 2nd best in MLB behind LAA's 100 and tied with TAM (wow-they project Tampa to pull the double?).

As for the pitching...BP agrees with Lionel's breakdown. Of course they do, stats are no match for the sheer time spent analyzing this stuff that Lionel puts in. BP sees Sean Marshall as the runaway to make the majority of starts out of the 5 spot this year. BP sees Marshall taking the hill to open 22 games this season and throw 120 innings, essentially a full load. Next is Aaron Heilman who BP gives 10 spot starts and 55 IPs, and then Angel Guzman and Mitch Atkins 9 starts a piece and 50 IPs in '09. Since you know we love the VORP here at TD, I should throw in that BP throws a 17.6 VORP to Marshall, a 5.4 to Heilman, 8.6 for Guzman, and a lowly -2.6 to Atkins (as in some random "replacement player" signed off the street would fare better).

As for Lionel's other 5th starter candidates-let's see what BP projects for them:
Jeff ND, Setup: 60 IP, 0 GS, 6.29 ERA, -4.2 VORP; No starts? ERA well North of 6? Negative VORP? Samardzija could be in for a rough sophomore effort, and probably a trip back to Iowa, if these predictions pan out.

Chad Gaudin, Long Relief: 70 IP, o GS, 4.14 ERA, 12.5 VORP. I'd like to see Gaudin get a chance at starting a few games this year. We'll see. All in all, pretty solid numbers here.

Kevin Hart, Middle Relief: 60 IP, 0 GS, 5.38 ERA, 1.4 VORP. Could prove to be a very big year for Hart. Kid either needs to put up, or get out. (Just like Art's prom dates...in reverse)


While we're here-why not throw out the numbers for the 4 primary starters? Some fairly decent news and, in the case of Rich Harden, one very promising projection. If he can just stay healthy...look out.
1. Carlos Zambrano: 190 IP, 29 GS, 4.12 ERA, 157 K, 28.1 VORP
2. Ted Lilly: 170 IP, 30 GS, 4.26 ERA, 147 K, 24.6 VORP
3. Ryan Dempster: 165 IP, 29 GS, 4.10 ERA, 140 K, 24.5 VORP
4. Rich Harden: 150 IP, 26 GS, 3.04 ERA, 193 K, 41.9 VORP

I know it's "only" 26 games started and not 30...but who wouldn't take these numbers?

Next time out I'll run through some of BP's projected numbers for the Cubs sticks.



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