Saturday, 20 February 2010

Looking Forward to: the 2010 Nationals Lineup

I visited Rotoworld today and looked at their depth chart for the Washington Nationals. So, we all want to know, how good is that lineup?

Of course, we all know there are several decent projections systems available. These take three or four years worth of a player's statistics, weight them, average them out, and then adjust for things like age and park to make a guess as to what the player will do during the next season. Out of every seven projections, about five will be reasonably accurate. Projections tend to underestimate good players, and overestimate bad ones. En masse, you're hoping things even up. There's BPro's 'deadly accurate' PECOTA, there's ZiPS at Baseball Think Factory, there's CAIRO at Replacement Level Yankee Weblog. We can use these to take a stab at just how many runs the 2010 Nationals' lineup will produce. In this case, I'm going to work with the CHONE projections, rather than do the proper thing and average them all out. (I'm lazy/busy — take your pick.)

First, though, let's set some parameters here. Using basic Runs Created per 27 outs (as opposed to one of the Tech versions), let's see the average for each position in the 2009 National League:
C          2.7
1b 4.1
2b 3.2
3b 3.2
ss 3.1
lf 3.5
cf 3.4
rf 3.4
Avg 3.3

Now, using the same formula, and the CHONE projections, let's see how Rotoworld's starters compare:
Pudge      1.7
Dunn 3.5
Kennedy 2.0
Zimmerman 4.0
Guzman 2.5
Willingham 2.8
Morgan 1.9
Dukes 2.3
Avg 2.6

The word for it is 'ugh'. The Nationals only beat the average at one position. Worse, they are markedly below average everywhere else.

But, as Charlie Slowes puts it, 'You never know'. Maybe the 2010 Nationals can defy statistical tendencies, and beat enough of those projections that the team can seem respectable.


Brent said...


I think you may have a mistake in your formula. Looking at the column in the Chone spreadsheet labeled "R150," which I believe stands for runs above/below average per 150 games, I see the following totals:

Pudge -26
Dunn 19
Kennedy -12
Zimmerman 24
Guzman -13
Willingham 11
Morgan -9
Dukes 11

Total 5

That is, the Nationals lineup projects to be just about average, with four players above average and four below.

Paul Brewer said...

Thanks, Brent.

I'm confident that the Nationals' RC/27s are correct. It's more likely my 2009 averages are wrong. CHONE might use multiple seasons to calculate its positional averages, which would make a small difference, but not on the order of what you suggest.

I'll have a look at some point and report back.