Late last week I played around with a WAR spread sheet and projected the 2011 rotation while comparing it to the 2010 rotation. I was pleased by the results since they weren’t as ugly as we may’ve expected. Consider it riding that relatively high feeling, but I’m going to get a bit more bold. I’m going to take all those random fifth starter candidates–Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Hector Noesi, Andrew Brackman, and David Phelps and project their performance in a different way.
I’m going to keep their CAIRO projected FIPs the same, but I’m going to tinker with the innings. Instead of changing the projected performance, I’m going to change the duration of that performance. I’ll take whatever FIP that CAIRO gives me and “extrapolate” it out to the same number of innings the Yankees got out of their “fifth” starter last year. I designate fifth starter as the guy with the fifth highest innings pitched total. In 2010, that was Andy Pettitte and his 129 innings. Performance wise, Pettitte obviously wasn’t the fifth best starter, but we’re just talking innings here. I call this post the “best case scenario” because if the Yankees get 129 innings out of any of these guy’s, it’d be damn near miraculous.
Actual Projection: 4.69 FIP in 72 IP = 0.7 WAR
Extrapolated Projection: 4.69 FIP in 129 IP = 1.3 WAR
Actual: 5.04 FIP/116 IP/0.8 WAR
Extrapolated: 5.04 FIP/129 IP/0.8 WAR
Actual: 4.90 FIP/31 IP/0.2 WAR
Extrapolated: 4.90 FIP/129 IP/1.0 WAR
Bartolo Colon (No CAIRO projection for Colon, using Marcel instead):
Actual: 4.60 FIP/66 IP/0.7 WAR
Extrapolated: 4.60 FIP/129 IP/1.4 WAR
Actual: 4.91 FIP/81 IP/0.6 WAR
Extrapolated: 4.91 FIP/129 IP/1.0 WAR
Actual: 5.26 FIP/63 IP/0.3 WAR
Extrapolated: 5.26 FIP/129 IP/0.6 WAR
Actual: 5.05 FIP/94 IP/0.6 WAR
Extrapolated: 5.05 FIP/129 IP/0.8 WAR
Based on these ridiculously rough calculations, the best we’re probably looking at from the Yankee (nominal) fifth starter is anywhere from 0.6 WAR (Brackman) to 1.4 WAR (Colon, which is probably the most out there of these projections). Considering what the Yankees got out of their fifth starter(s) last year in terms of performance, I would sign up for that. Javier Vazquez was under replacement level by fWAR (-0.2) in 2010 so anything would be an improvement. I’m not confident in saying that any one of these guys will necessarily reach the arbitrary 129 IP mark, but if it happens, I’ll be dancing.