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2009 Pitching Projections

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So we've already done a tentative review of the offensive side of things.  While I'm still fairly conservative for some of our pitchers, the guys involved and the state of the bullpen mean I have to make a few more random estimates compared to the hitters.

The Starting Five

Name

W-L

ERA

IP

G

GS

BB

K

WHIP

WPA

Francisco Liriano

14-9

3.81

175

29

29

58

191

1.31

3.04

Scott Baker

12-8

3.96

196

32

32

45

139

1.23

2.87

Kevin Slowey

13-9

3.87

174

30

30

34

134

1.27

1.31

Nick Blackburn

10-11

4.26

202

32

32

37

99

1.46

0.44

Glen Perkins

8-11

5.03

143

27

27

48

85

1.52

0.03

Right.  So the first thing I'm tackling here is WPA.  Mostly this is an experiment for me, to see exactlyl how well I understand (or, more accurately, DON'T understand how it works).  I'm only taking it on for starters though, so don't let your pants get too tight.

I've listed the starters in order of how strong I expect each of them to be.  In '09 I do expect Francisco Liriano to regain some of his Ace status, as long as he can stay healthy, and I also believe that Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey can deliver performances that are easily something more than just adequate.  Nick Blackburn earns a spot as a reliable and steady number four, while Glen Perkins will likely struggle with some inconsistency if 2008 was any clue to his future.

As usual, I also haven't adjusted for likely injuries.  I've assumed that other guys will make a spot start from time to time, but there are only 12 more starts to go around.  Wins, losses and ERA, as arbitrary as they are, are still numbers widely used in projections...so I've suffered them here, in my first ever yearly predictions for the pitching staff.

Onto the bullpen...which should be interesting...

Name

W-L

ERA

IP

G

GS

S

BB

K

WHIP

Boof Bonser

6-7

3.87

94

51

4

1

29

74

1.31

Craig Breslow

4-2

3.25

55

54

0

1

20

42

1.28

Jesse Crain

3-2

3.64

62

68

0

2

23

48

1.33

Brian Duensing

1-1

4.41

19

8

0

0

8

15

1.44

Matt Guerrier

3-5

4.08

67

70

0

1

23

44

1.42

Philip Humber

4-5

4.62

73

49

5

0

26

47

1.47

Bobby Korecky

1-3

4.23

28

23

0

0

11

16

1.50

Jose Mijares

1-2

3.87

38

39

0

3

7

29

1.31

Joe Nathan

2-2

2.41

68

67

0

35

17

71

1.03

Anthony Swarzak

1-2

4.07

29

7

3

0

9

21

1.39

Believe it or not, those win totals add up to 162 games...which, I'm not joking, was a complete accident.  Sadly, if the totals are accurate, the Twins will finish somewhere around 83-79.  Possible, sure, but I'm still rooting for 90.  I'm an optimist.

I think the most unrealistic thing is that I don't project anyone to be positively horrific.  By the same token, apart from Joe Nathan there aren't any bullpen arms to be afraid of if you're an opposing hitter.  A good bounce-back year by Boof Bonser, some reliable performances from Craig Breslow and Jesse Crain, but almost everyone else falls somewhere in the middle of the road.

If the pitching staff were to perform at this level on the whole, a good offense should be able to provide enough support to win more than 83 games.  Right now I'm not convinced the Twins have this offense, in spite of all the young talent on the roster.  But we still have plenty of time to speculate over that.

Fee free to debate the numbers at your leisure.  Tomorrow we have another "Who Am I?" on the docket, as well as an exploration of how to manage the situation in the outfield.