Forecasting Jake Peavy For 2010

Sure, I've got a 30 page appellate brief due Monday, but baseball season, which is clearly more important, is only 3 days away and it's never too early to preempt the hopes and dreams and moronic arguments of White Sox fans everywhere. All I've heard this offseason is "Jake Peavy this" and "Jake Peavy that" (oh, and Ozzie Guillen ranting about the importance of letting everyone on the team run wild...).

Are White Sox fans entitled to feel so good about Jake Peavy, owner of a career ERA of 3.26 and K/9 of 9.02? Let's run the numbers

His split stats are not very encouraging. Peavy has a career Home ERA of 2.82 and Away ERA of 3.79. The latter is still good, but it's not exactly the creme de la creme "top ace material" Peavy's been billed as (unless you consider Carlos Zambrano a comparable "ace").

At age 29, Peavy is still very young though he is quite seasoned in the majors. He has a career xFIP of 3.58 and has averaged about 180.2 IP each of the last seven years. Using these as a baseline from which to do a quick 2010 forecast, we must first account for league adjustments, courtesy of data from The Hardball Times. A move from the NL to AL, on average, causes a 0.57 K/9 decrease and a 0.41 ERA increase. This put's Peavy's xERA for 2010 at 3.99 and K/9 rate at 8.45. Over 180.2 IP, this gives up a raw runs allowed total of 80.

Next, we need to account for park factors. According to Baseball Reference's multi-year park factor data, US Cellular Field has inflated run scoring by 4%. Accounting for the park change, Peavy's runs allowed total increases to 83.3 per 180.2 IP.

Finally, we need to account for defense. CHONE sees a defensive team composed of Konerko-Beckham-Teahen-Pierzynski-Pierre-Quentin-Rios-Ramirez as being cumulatively worth -10 Fielding Runs "Above" Replacement (FRAR) per 150 games played. Sure, back ups play too, but let's just pretend for the sake of simplicity that they do not factor in (especially since only a handful of White Sox utility men are projected to be not negative). Over 162 games played, this FRAR extrapolates to -11. The average baseball team played 1442 innings of defense last season and using this number as the baseline for White Sox defensive innings in 2010 (because extra inning games are impossible to predict), the Sox seem poised to forfeit .0076 runs per inning of defensive play. Per 180.2 innings, that is 1.37 runs forfeited due to poor defense (though the White Sox, to their credit, do project to have the best defensive DH in baseball by running Andruw Jones and Omar Visquel in a platoon).

All this factored in, Peavy is predicted to give up 84.67 runs per 180.2 IP with an 8.45 K/9 to boot. This amounts to a 4.22 ERA with 170 Ks to boot.

Plus-4 ERA, under 200 Ks for Peavy in 2010? Even if he pitches 200 innings, I'd say so. Put it on the board?


The 'Bright' One said...

I'm not sure what jake peavy and chase field have to do with each other. I think you're still hoping brandon webb throws a ball this year

David "MVP" Eckstein said...

Oops. this is what happens when you write blog posts as a "writing break" from writing a brief while pulling an all nighter. Meant to say Petco...

Sexy Rexy said...

I'll absolutely put it on the board that Peavy has a sub-4.00 ERA.

Rios, Pierre, Konerko, Beckham, and A-Ram will all have not negative defense- (only Teahen and Quentin will- and Quentin will only play 100 games so that added 60 games of Jones will means a positive outfield)

Obviously Peavy will nowhere be close to the "ace" he was in San Diego, but he'll still be very good and probably the team's best pitcher (assuming he can actually pitch 30+ games).

If you want to reasonably project Peavy, then a 3.85 ERA is closer to correct (although I can see a 170 K season but I personally think that's a little low).

As bad as Danks, Floyd, and Buerhle have been- there are nowhere close to a 4.22 ERA

You can disagree with my argument all you want about the defense or whatever- but a 4.22 is absolutely WAY too high

Peavy is still a damn good pitcher- you don't change the way you pitch and try to get guys out just by moving leagues and teams. He still has the ability to strike guys out and get outs- the league change just makes it harder. But a 4.22 ERA! Seriously!? That's just ridiculous.

Yes, I like the White Sox and I want Peavy to succeed. But I'm also realistic. I don't expect "ace" numbers, but I do expect better-than-Zambrano numbers and I think the numbers everyone thinks via Peavy's ADP are the numbers Peavy will end up with(which means people expect a high 3.00 ERA and about 170-180 Ks).

The same "Sox fans" you have talked to are probably the same ones that believe Jim Thome was awful on the team because of his sub .245 batting average and their opinion doesn't count anyway. Rational Sox fans don't expect a low to sub 3.00 ERA and 200+ strikeouts- but he absolutely is an upgrade to the team and makes the ChiSox much more competitive in the league and gives them great pitching depth- which is why Sox fans are excited.