The Texas Rangers won 96 games last year, and using WAR they should've won 97. They were a very good team, nearly world champions. Nearly. Ok, one more time. Nearrrrrly. Anyway, we just signed their best pitcher, and it seems to me they won't be a better team than last year. I won't be doing any calculations for their team though, maybe later on once their offseason looks as complete as ours. I don't know if the SABR people would be completely approving of this, but I went ahead and tried to do some math based on last year's performance. It's...exciting.
Jeff Mathis: -0.3
Bobby Wilson: -0.1
Hank Conger: 0.3
Chris Ianetta: 2.6
Obviously this is a huge upgrade, and one we've waited a long time for. Chris Ianetta being the primary catcher is a 3 WAR upgrade, and without the Mathis infatuation to block Conger, we should expect to see his WAR total (which was acquired in less than 200 PAs) to rise as well. We'll call this move a +3.5 WAR gain.
Mark Trumbo: 2.1
Albert Pujols: 5.4
You may have heard we signed some first baseman to come in to the already crowded corners of the Angels. He also happens to be the best player of the last (maybe not next, but that's ok) 10 years. In a down year, Albert still managed to throw down MVP type numbers, he finished 5th in the voting, and provided 5.4 WAR to the World Champion Cardinals. It's very reasonable to expect a little bounceback from Albert, though given the last 2 years watching the Angels' offense it's hard to imagine a player improving on a .299/.366/.541 line. We should expect 6 WAR from him, a 4 WAR upgrade from first base last year.
Tyler Chatwood: -0.6
CJ Wilson: 5.0
Oh yeah, we also signed the biggest free agent pitcher from this offseason, and for a reasonable contract! The Ianetta trade meant trading away Chatwood, who at 21 would no doubt continued to have improved and perhaps provided above replacement level value to a spot in the rotation where it's not often seen. Instead, we've acquired another ace. And yes, I'm comfortable calling him that because he'd be the ace of half the teams in the MLB. Anyway, even though CJ is probably our #3 (awesome), he's replacing Chatwood's presence, which means a conservative WAR upgrade estimate of +5. NIiiice.
Jerome Williams: 0.1
Joel Pineiro: -1.6
Pineiro sucked last year. Williams probably can't sustain what he did, but I'm hopeful. If Williams bombs we have Richards and even Bell to fill in. +1 WAR here.
Latroy Hawkins: 1.0
Fernando Rodney: -0.3
I really liked this signing since it will allow Walden to try to master the closing role, while providing an experienced reliever who as at least shown in the past he can close games. Thank god Fraudney is gone. +1 WAR here too.
The rest of the team is a little harder to project forward. The 2011 Angels for the most part performed as I thought they would. Vernon actually was as I had expected, but next year he can only go up (right? RIGHT???), and if he continues to be abysmal, Mike Trout is waiting in the wings. And so is Mark Trumbo now too. He's still on the roster and his bat hasn't disappeared entirely, despite Albert being the 1B.
Bobby Abreu: 1.3
Vernon Wells: -0.3 (it felt so much worse, but he also inexplicably managed 25 HRs along with his groundouts to third and popups to second)
The DH spot and Vernon and to a very minor extent Torii's role on the team are harder to project. We just don't know how Mike will play Trumbo, Vernon, Torii, and Bobby (assuming they're all here and Trout is in AAA). That's approximately 1500 ABs for Vernon, Bobby and Trumbo given an OF spot and the DH, along with the occasional rest for Torii. Say an equal split of 500 ABs for each player, and Vernon facing much less RH pitching than last year (.187/.213/.356), then we could see a contribution of 1.5 WAR for Trumbo (slightly less playing time), 1.0 WAR for Vernon, and 1.0 WAR for Bobby. Compared to the WAR for those 3 combined last year, that's an upgrade of 1.5 WAR.
These "projections" are based entirely off of last year's performances for each player. I tried to be as reasonable as I could in looking to this next year. The rest of the team had performances within a reasonable range of expectations, but say due to injuries and regression (and maybe no Mike Trout), we lop off 4 WAR from what we have here to make a reasonable prediction.
86 wins last year, and a projected 88 wins via WAR (this surprised me, but 47 baseline + 27 batting + 14 pitching)
+12 (16 minus the 4 for injuries and whatnot)
By my calculations, we're looking at a team projected to win 100 games via WAR in 2011+changes. And I think 2013 can only get better.
What do you think of this projection?
Works for me (79 votes)
Better than Fangraphs (and their irrational hate towards the Angels) (35 votes)
Crap (28 votes)
Are you kidding? 158-4. (45 votes)
187 total votes