To win the central
ESPN's sweetland had an article about how much WAR is needed to win the Central. They concluded 38 and did a model for the Royals. I don't like WAR but it's a neat exercise. For the Twins to get there we'd need:
C- Mauer 5.0
1B Morneau 2.5
2B Carroll 2.5
3B Plouffe 3.0
SS Floriman 0.0
RF Parmelee 2.0
CF Hicks 2.5
LF Willingham 3.0
DH Doumit 2.0
Bench 1-4 -.5
Total 22 WAR. That's sorta doable, Twins position players had that last year. Hicks should be worth 2WAR on defense/base running alone. Expects improvement from Parmelee and Plouffe but what the heck. Expects solid seasons from the core guys but no monster years. It's not entirely unreasonable and they do have some depth to cover a little bit.
Pitchers would need 16 WAR. They were -3.3 last year. I have no idea how they can get to that level.
Worley 3.5 (assumes best year)
Diamond 2.5 (no slump)
Correa 0.0 (isn't a black hole)
Hendriks 1.0 (sorta best case hope)
Gibson 2.0 (between starter/bullpen)
Other starters -3.0 (kind of a best case hope over about 40 starts)
Perkins 1.5 (similar to last year)
Burton 1.5 (similar to last year)
Fein 1.5 (similar to last year, with more playing time)
others 0.0 (being kind)
That's 9.5 WAR and extremely kind. I doubt anyone other than Worley and Diamond make even 18 starts. Last year, Pavano, Marquis, Blackburn, Duensing and Hendriks combined for nearly -7.0 WAR in 64 starts. That will probably happen again but let's hope not.
I think Gibson will be ok. I hope he starts in the pen and gets moved to the rotation midway through the season. Hendriks hasn't really shown that he can be anything but he's young so we'll give him more time. May or Meyer could have huge seasons in the minors and come up but that's unlikely.
If they don't get anymore solid starters, I don't see anyway this could happen. They need better pitchers to cover those 64 starts. Correa can't do it and we just spent 10m on him. Hendriks and Gibson are too young to cover much of it.
It is absolutely doable, even with a replacement level performance from Correia. It makes the signing all the more perplexing, because it only reduces the Twins flexibility to make a midseason acquisition if things do go right.
I agree with the reservations about using WAR, and also that it is fun to do. I come at it slightly differently, and with focus on free-agent signings: to challenge for a World Series title, you should aim for 50 WAR. If you have a $100M budget more or less, that would be $2M per win. However, the way the Collective Bargaining Agreement works, a lot of your talent can be at near-minimum if you manage things right and have a bit of luck. A team like the Twins can have 10-15 players making minimum or almost - call that $10M in aggregate for 15 players, who can contribute half of your WAR if your youngsters are good. That leaves $90M for 10 players at market prices who will contribute the other 25 WAR, or just under $4M per win. This puts a clear focus on what a "team-friendly" contract like for Span and Willingham gives you, and even puts Mauer's huge contract in a much more positive light if he really can contribute 5+ WAR. It also explains why good-but-not-great pitchers who might give you 3.0 WAR are getting above $10M per year.
WAR or not, it seems to me that the Tigers, Royals and even the White Sox will be hard to beat, unless the Twins can get at least one really good starter.
Why don't you like WAR?
I am worried about Parmelee's defense bringing his value down. He is really going to have to hit to be of positive value
I HATE WAR. But I'm not going to sink the thread (again) by debating it here.
Originally Posted by clutterheart
I will say this about the AL Central - as positive as I've been about the Revere and Span trades, you do have to look at the Indians getting Bauer and the Royals getting Shields and recognize that the other teams in the Central have still done more to improve their SP in an immediate sense, and that is frustrating. Of course, the Royals trade was terrible, so I wouldn't have wanted the Twins to make that move.
But when I heard the Indians flipped Choo, a struggling one-year rental with a DUI last year, for Trevor Bauer, I cringed at the thought that the Twins could have made that type of move with Morneau (or Willingham, I guess). Bauer is 21 and about as lights out as they come in the minors. Sure, he didn't look awesome this year, but Justin Verlander wasn't pitching effectively in the majors at that age either. Sigh.
I think a lot of people take it as gospel without knowing it's limitations. Player A had a 3.3 WAR last year so he's better than player B who had a 2.9. That annoys the crap out of me. It's defensive calculations are troublesome and not consistent. Defensive stats for shortstops are far better than for catcher. But WAR is tricked by defensive shifts, too. I think it undervalues durability, both in games played and innings pitched. Differences between fWAR and bWAR are annoying. Jack Morris, for example, is a borderline HOFer by fWAR but not even close by bWAR. The calculations keep changing and probably aren't done yet. Torii Hunter, for example, used to be a solid 2ish WAR guy while with the Twins. Lots of poeple ripped on the Angels for signing him, and suggested the Twins were wrong to think he was a good defensive CFer. Then bWAR modified their formula, Hunter gained 11 WAR over a 8 year period and lo and behold, he's always been a good player.
Originally Posted by clutterheart
But I really don't want to make this a WAR discussion, either. It's a fun stat, esp for projects like this one.
to get to your 38 WAR we would need more production from the offense, bc we aren't getting any from the rotation. Mourneau and Willingham could have better seasons but don't count on it. If we sign a starter and he pitches 30 starts at +2 WAR that's a gain of over 4 WAR because he't taking starts away from the "other starters"
BTW: WAR isn't perfect, but for this let's just assume that it is and these stats are actually how much value the players provide over the season.
I find it depressing the Clevelands got Bauer...he is a better prospect than any the Twins got.