FanPost

2012 WAR Projection - 90 wins???

A lot has been written about the Nats' pursuit of Buehrle, Oswalt, Darvis, Cespedes, et al. Clearly they want to improve from 80 wins last year. From what I've read/observed in recent years, 88-90 wins would put them in contention for the playoffs. They have improved by 10 wins each of the last two years so it's pushing it to achieve that again. Obviously, the more wins you have, the harder it is to improve by 10.

Many will be very disappointed if they go into next year without a significant addition to the roster. I think we all would love to see a high OBP, strong fielding CF added. But, what if they do nothing and go into next year as currently built?

I pulled WAR values from Fangraphs. Here are the basic assumptions I made. I just listed the guys who played the most at each position for position players. Bench players contribute almost nothing to WAR and it doesn't take much to think they will have as good or better a bench. For starting pitchers, I listed the five with the most starts and then the likely 5 to do that next year. I also assumed the bullpen would repeat. They were good and added a number of wins last year so that's a significant assumption but I think a reasonable one. No one had a year that was a big outlier for them and everyone who contributed wins is returning. For next year's projected WAR, I used either Fangraph's projection or a slightly lower number than their career norms (this applied mostly to Zimm, Werth and LaRoche).

As you'll see in the table, I'm projecting they add 12 wins by standing pat. I know that won't happen. Some of the guys I'm projecting will get injured and their replacements will likely be lower than what I project. And some of these guys will fail to meet my projections. But, even accounting for a 50% overstatement, this team stands to improve by 8 wins without adding anyone. While I could have been more conservative, I also could have been rosier. I could have counted on WAR contribution from Harper (I don't expect much WAR from a 19 year old, that would be gravy), a new SP or a new CF.

The big improvement areas in my analysis are:

1. By LaRoche returning and Morse taking innings from Nix in LF, LaRoche's bat basically replaces Nix's.

2. Zimm and Werth return to close to their recent levels prior to '11.

3. Strasburg performs about as expected and Wang puts up a year close to his Sept performance.

That's not a pie in the sky list of assumptions. This team, as built could contend for the playoffs...there I said it.

Pos.

2011 Player

‘11 WAR

‘12 proj.

Diff v '11

2012 Adjustment/Explanation

c

Ramos

3.1

3.1

0

Repeats '11

1b

Morse

3.4

2.5

-0.9

back to LaRoche, assume his recent norms

2b

Espinosa

3.5

3.5

0

Repeats '11

ss

Desmond

1.4

1.4

0

Repeats '11

3b

Zimmerman

2.5

6

3.5

Returns to recent norms

lf

Nix

0.6

3.4

2.8

Morse at 2011 level

cf

Ankiel

1.4

1.4

0

Assume no improvement

rf

Werth

2.5

5

2.5

Returns to recent norms







SP






1

Hernandez

1.9

5

3.1

Strasburg @ Fangraphs projection

2

Zimmermann

3.4

3.4

0

Repeats '11

3

Lannan

1.3

1.3

0

Repeats '11

4

Marquis

1.6

2.8

1.2

Wang - James says FIP = 3.8 so WAR 2.8

5

Gorzelanny

0.7

0.7

0

Detwiler - assume same as Gorzy







Pen




0

Repeats '11





12.2

Total

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