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WAR value of rotation spots

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#1 gunnarthor

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 12:16 PM

Interesting article on WAR value per season in a rotation. The really interesting part was that, over the time of this study, less than 3 players per team even qualified (meaning reached 162 innings pitched) each season. But, for those that did, the break down, via WAR, of the spots in the rotation were basically 6/4/3/2/0.

The two takeaways I got were 1) true aces are really rare (Twins were lucky to have a few) and 2) durability is really underrated.

http://espn.go.com/b...in-terms-of-war

Anyhow, since 2000 Radke, Mays, and Santana have meet that threshold at least once.

#2 Beezer07

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 12:35 PM

I read that article as well and thought it was great. The most interesting part of it to me was how worthless the #5 starter is on basically every team, yet so much worry and hand-wringing goes into determining who's going to fill that spot.

#3 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 12:56 PM

Hughes is already up to 1.7 WAR for the season - he might finish a solid "2nd Starter" which is really saying something compared to the last few years...

#4 snepp

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 10:37 PM

I read that article as well and thought it was great. The most interesting part of it to me was how worthless the #5 starter is on basically every team, yet so much worry and hand-wringing goes into determining who's going to fill that spot.


Twins "#5" starters have accumulated around -3 WAR over the last two seasons.


I think that's worth a little hand-wringing.

#5 jorgenswest

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 11:20 PM

Is it cheaper or easier to build a rotation of 3/3/3/3/3 or 4/4/3/2/2? Would that rotation be as effective as 6/4/3/2/0? Can a solid 5th starter make up for lack of an ace?

#6 Sconnie

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:37 AM

Is it cheaper or easier to build a rotation of 3/3/3/3/3 or 4/4/3/2/2? Would that rotation be as effective as 6/4/3/2/0? Can a solid 5th starter make up for lack of an ace?

If you were to reduce the rotation to rid yourself of 0, what effect would going to 4 starters have on the rotation and bullpen effectiveness? What effect on the roster? I know Bert speaks fondly of the old days, but there are reasons players like him are in the HOF.

#7 Sconnie

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:43 AM

Twins "#5" starters have accumulated around -3 WAR over the last two seasons.


I think that's worth a little hand-wringing.

Very good point, just because they are "replacement level players" doesn't mean the team has the assets/ability to replace or more importantly improve on those players.

#8 gunnarthor

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:58 PM

Just looking at the Twins playoff teams and what they had, by the chart.

02 - one #3 (Reed), one #4 (Lohse), one #5 (Milton). Naturally, this group beat the 103 win A's. Radke and Mays both missed a good chunk of the season but started 3 of the playoff games.

03 - One #3 (Radke), two #4 (Lohse and Rogers). Santana didn't make the innings limit to make this list but was the best pitcher.

04 - One #1 (Santana), Two#2 (Radke - and his 5.8 WAR is nearly enough to be a #1 - and Silva), and one #5 (Lohse). Pretty good pitching but lost two extra inning games that post season.

06 - One #1 (Santana), one #4 (Radke), one #5 (Silva who was -1 WAR). Radke just made the innings cutoff but pitched with big shoulder injury. Liriano didn't meet the innings requirment but was damn good. Bonser had a solid 100 inning season and started game 2.

08 - (ok, it was the 163 game season but whatever). One #2 (Baker), one #4 (Blackburn). Slowey and Perkins both just miss the innings requirement.

09 - Two #3 (Baker and Blackburn). Good bullpen.

10 - Two #2 (Liriano and Pavano), one #4 (Baker). Slowey and Blackburn both just missed the innings limit.

#9 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 03:38 PM

Interesting article on WAR value per season in a rotation. The really interesting part was that, over the time of this study, less than 3 players per team even qualified (meaning reached 162 innings pitched) each season. But, for those that did, the break down, via WAR, of the spots in the rotation were basically 6/4/3/2/0.

The two takeaways I got were 1) true aces are really rare (Twins were lucky to have a few) and 2) durability is really underrated.

http://espn.go.com/b...in-terms-of-war

Anyhow, since 2000 Radke, Mays, and Santana have meet that threshold at least once.


Wouldn't pulling only qualified pitchers skew the data? I would expect the group of pitchers who did not qualify would not perform as well as those who qualified.

That is a total of 15 WAR. Last year only three teams achieved at least a sum of 15 WAR over 162 starts. The median team WAR from starters was 11.55. It seems like the value of the rotation spots should sum closer to the median.

#10 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 08:10 AM

Is it cheaper or easier to build a rotation of 3/3/3/3/3 or 4/4/3/2/2? Would that rotation be as effective as 6/4/3/2/0? Can a solid 5th starter make up for lack of an ace?


It would be cheaper to sign last years' 3 WAR starter than last years' 6 WAR starter, for sure. But even a 3 WAR starter is going to get paid quite a bit on the FA Market.

The other challenge to a 3/3/3/3/3 rotation is that you can sign as many pitchers as you can afford with 3 or higher WAR in the previous season and still end up with a rotation of guys that barely make it to replacement level.

It seems like the way to go is to minimize the Pelfreys and Ramon Ortizes and Sidney Ponsons of the world on your rotation. Avoiding those players that command a higher salary for past success than present ability. Let your farm provide the replacement level talent.

Risk and upside are not bad (see Hughes, Phil) and even misses (like last year's signing of Rich Harden) don't hurt as much as signing a guy on the wrong side of 30 for multiple years with little track record of durability or sustained success.