Friday, February 22, 2013

How the Jays and Red Sox Stack Up?

As Rick said in his latest post, “It takes 25 guys to get to the World Series.” In 2012 the Jays needed everybody and anybody they could find last season. But, over all, it did not work and was pretty miserable. This is a new year. Many pundits out there are saying that the Red Sox should be in contention this season. The Yanks are weak and the Rays are unimproved and the Orioles are still a cypher. More on those later.

 I want to compare the Red Sox to the Jays last season. With all the many staffing changes, what is different for this upcoming campaign? I am only going to compare the starters and how they might affect this season and how they performed last season. For this comparison I am using only WHIP and ERA+ for the pitching staff. WHIP is comparable to OBP for a hitter. It indicates how a pitcher keeps hitters off the field. ERA+ is the pitchers earned runs adjusted for each park and averaged for all pitchers to 100. This is one of the best ways to compare pitchers from different leagues and parks. I feel that these are the best numbers with which to compare overall performance.

Here is the formula: ERA+= 100*(2- ERA/lgERA). The 2012 campaign for both the Jays and Red Sox was miserable. The actual numbers for pitching are as follows. The Jays had a WHIP of 1.39 and an ERA+ of 92. The Red Sox 1.371 and 92. So over all, just as the season played out, both teams were below the league average and were virtually tied at the end of the season. These numbers include all the adjustments that were made to compensate for all injuries the Jays sustained. For 2013, the Red Sox have four All-Stars on their five-man rotation: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Daubront, John Lackey, and Ryan Dempster. Only Daubrant has not yet been an All-Star.

Comparing last year’s numbers, this rotation had a WHIP of 1.40 and ERA+ of just 86.2. The Jays have four All-Stars: RA Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Rickey Romero. The number two starter, Brandon Morrow, has yet be to chosen. The Jays with this new improved rotation had a WHIP of 1.264 and ERA+ of 113.6. The Jays have upped their game from 92 to 113.6. The Red Sox on the other hand have gone down to 86.2. They lowered their ERA+ for the 2013 season. One season does not make a career. The MLB career records for the 2013 starters might be of some encouragement. The Red Sox have a WHIP of 1.30 and ERA+ of 105. The new improved Jays are 1.30 and 113.

So the Jays have got it here and should be much better over the year with this starting rotation. Much has been said already about the ages of some of the starters. It should be noted that the total MLB career years for both the 2013 Jays and Red Sox is 41 years each. The CL – closer – comparison is interesting. Casey Janssen had a whopping WHIP of .086 and ERA+ of 168. The new CL for the Red Sox, Joel Hanrahan had a WHIP of 1.274 and ERA+ of 138. Both good, but Janssen certainly wins this one.

The Jays, as everyone has figured, should be the class of the field and especially in the AL East. Pitching beats hitting, I hope. On the other side of the plate, I am using BA, OBP and OPS+ to compare both teams. I think that OPS+ is best as an overall indicator. It accounts, like the ERA+, for variation in ball parks and plays up a batter’s “contact, power and patience” as noted by Fan Graphs.

Here is the formula: OPS+= 100*(OBP/LgOBP+SLG/LgSLG-1) Again, the stats are from 2012 for the new 2013 rosters for each team.

The 2012 stats for each team are as follows: The numbers for the Red Sox position starters was BA - 263.6, OBP - 338, and OPS+ - 109.2. For the Jays it was BA - 265.6, OBP - 322.3 and OPS+ at 111.88. Only the OBP is slightly higher for the Red Sox. Not much of a difference. Comparing the MLB career years, the Red Sox are at BA - 265.4, OBP - 342,6 and OPS+ - 111.3. The Jays are at BA - 260, OBP - 329.2 and OPS+ -109.2. The MLB years of service are for the Red Sox 69 and 60 for the Jays. The Jays have a younger team and maybe the Red Sox, with the older team will have deterioration in their skills. Every year that is said of the Yankees. The Red Sox have five All-Stars and the Jays have three. The Jays have more consistency in OPS+ from the likes of Encarnacion, Bautista and Reyes. The Red Sox have it with Pedroia, Napoli and Ortiz. Unfortunately, I think the Red Sox have a slight edge in position players and the Jays certainly the big edge in pitching staff. I hope to be proved wrong with the position players. I think there is a very good chance I will be.

As stated at the beginning, I have chosen to view the starters only. It will take all 25 and more to get through to a playoff position. The odds favor the Jays because of pitching. The “ifs” to the up coming season are almost too numerous to enumerate, but here goes.

  • Will Melkey Cabrera be okay off the ’roids and be even half as productive as last year?
  • Will Josh Johnson be able to fully adjust his mechanics?
  • Will Janssen be able to start the season strong after shoulder surgery?
  • Is Ricky mentally ready to be fifth on this rotation and ease his anxiety?
  • Will Brett Lawrie settle down with Mark DeRosa as a guide?
  • Will anyone be able to help Colby Rasmus to settle on a consistent way to approach the plate?
  • Can Adam Lind live up to expectations?
  • Can someone persuade Ontario to allow pit bulls?
  • Will the Astros throw everyone under the bus? 

Stay tuned. It will be a great year for the Jays.

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