I got some skepticism yesterday when I said I thought the Braves rotation would be lousy this year. So, I ran the numbers again. I was using Fangraphs’ WAR and looked at the last three years.
Hudson was a 3.7 last year but in '10 he was 2.7 and in '09 he was .7, he's risky. I’ll put him down for 3.5 because I think he’s healthy but he could easily be a 2.5 or worse based on recent history.
Hanson is also risky. A stellar 4.3 in '10 but only 1.8 last year on limited innings and 2.6 in '09, same reason. Two out of three years smells like a pattern to me so I'm predicting 2.5 for him.
Jurrjens - great year in '09 w/ 3.9 but 1.2 and 1.5 the last two years. Not convinced he regains that '09 form so I'm predicting 1.5 until he proves me wrong.
Minor - he was 1.4 last year in limited big league innings. But, going through the league a second time is a lot different. Jury's out on him. He could put up 3 or better if he holds up. Or the league could get some reads on him and he could 1.5 or so. I'm predicting 2.
We don't really know who their 5th starter is but a lot of teams in that situation right now so I've been just comparing the top 4.
So, my prediction for their top 4 is 9.5 which stinks.
The fact is their rotation stank last year which I don’t think many people realize. Those top four guys put up a combined WAR of 8.4 last year, that’s awful. Halladay did that by himself (well 8.2 but close enough).
Here’s the thing, to get to a WAR of 15 out of their top four (like us and the Marlins seem reasonably likely to do) they need Hudson, Hanson and Jurrjens to all match their career years and for Minor to pan out to a 3. That is a lot to hope for. If Hudson, Hanson, Jurrjens all put up their average WAR from the last three years and Minor repeats his 1.4, that only gets them to a 9 which is awful. If the first 3 matched their worst year of the last three and Minor only does a WAR of 1, that gets them to 4.7! That sounds like an Nats rotation from the bad old days.
So, they’ll need career years out of their top 3 and a breakthrough year from Minor to get to 15. Therefore, they don’t worry me that much. I’m much more concerned about the Marlins.