Re: The New 2006 Rotation
Harang- 3.77 (84)
Claussen- 4.56 (92)
Arroyo- 4.57 (92)
Williams- 5.08 (102)
Milton- 5.26 (106)
Assuming 200 IP for Harang and 180 IP for everyone else, a repeat of 2005 performance would produce a probable result of 476 Runs Allowed. That's a 4.66 rotation ERA, which would have ranked the rotation 14th in the NL in 2005, 12th in 2004, 13th in 2003, and would pretty much replicate the Reds' 2002 (4.69 ERA) 13th place finish.
Because we're talking about Defense-independent numbers, let's take a look at the Reds Defensive Efficiency for those seasons:
2002- .693 (MLB Rank- 17th)
2003- .690 (22nd)
2004- .690 (18th)
2005- .678 (28th)
Now, let's ask ourselves...did the 2006 Reds team get significantly better during the offseason? Well. Um. No. And that affects the probable actual ERA versus the the DIPS. Individual pitchers don't always end up with low DIPS percentages simply because of bad defense behind them, but in 2005 it was pretty consistent. The Reds SP's posted a 93% DIPS rate. The pen put up a 94% DIPS rate. That's bad and it means that we can expect that the defense-independent rotation ERA I posted earlier (4.66) projects to be about 6-7% worse. 4.66 x 1.06 = a probable result of 4.94.
Yeah, that's a 4.94 rotation ERA staring us square in the face. The good news (if there is any) is that we'd be looking at 536 Runs Allowed vs. 583 Runs Allowed including Unearned Runs if the pitchers manning the rotation produced exactly the same numbers as they did in 2005. That's a gain of 47 Runs.
The bad news is that if the 2006 Reds replicated their NL-leading Runs Scored numbers (doubtful), they'd need to pare 69 Runs from their RA total just to finish with a .500 record. The additional 22 Runs would have to come from a bullpen that is...well...not so much better.
The worse news is that the Reds most likely just dumped about 20 Runs offensively by replacing Pena with Hatteberg. They'll take another hit by giving Tony Womack Plate Appearances. Some of that can be made up if Kearns progresses offensively, but even if so also easily lost if other players regress (and there are candidates like Valentin and Aurilia).
And then there's the bullpen. Yeah. The bullpen. Still waiting for someone who can convince me that the bullpen is worth the amount of Runs the Reds need to actually contend for anything other than a .500 record.
"The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer
"The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”