This Post is not About Adam Jones

January 11, 2008

I promise, besides the title and this sentence I am typing right now, Adam Jones will not appear in this post. Instead, I’ll take a brief sojourn into what adding Carlos Silva likely means for our 2008 outlook.

To start, we expect Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista to return in 2008. The other four guys to get a start last season were Ryan Feierabend, Cha Seung Baek, Jeff Weaver and Horacio Ramirez. All told, they combined for 367.3 innings and 280 runs allowed. Holy batting practice batman, that’s horrendous. How horrendous? It’s 6.86 runs allowed per 9! Replacement level is usually determined to be something around 6 flat, which would have saved us 35 runs all by itself.

Carlos Silva’s last four runs allowed marks are 4.43, 3.97, 6.49 and 4.41. Boy 2006 sure sticks out huh? To get a quick and dirty projection for Silva for 2008, let’s just gaze at a few ways of using these numbers:

1) Straight average of past four seasons: 4.83 RA

2) 50-30-20 weighting over last 3 years: 4.95 RA

3) High and low regressed: 4.69 RA

Based on these, I’d be comfortable penning Silva for a 4.8 RA mark in 2008, were he to be pitching in MIN again. But he’s not, he’s changing parks, and importantly for Silva, changing defenses. Lets examine the park first. Using this article from Greg Rybarczyk we can see that one quirk that will help Silva is that SafeCo is a lot less friendly to yielding homeruns into the right-centerfield gap than the Metrodome.

And, from BBTF, we have these factors from 2003-5:

Team	         R   	 H   	 2B      HR      BB      SO

Minnesota	 1.06 	 1.02 	 1.04 	 0.98 	 0.96 	 1.12

Seattle	 	 0.90 	 0.92 	 0.90 	 0.94 	 1.04 	 1.06 

These show SafeCo as about 15% tougher run scoring environment over the period in question. Now, that doesn’t mean we want to apply a 15% reduction across the board. For one thing, other park factors, notably those at Baseball-Reference, show that scoring is roughly equal in MIN compared to SEA over the past three years. Since SEA’s defense is worse than MIN, (though the Mariners are getting better in that regard with the replacement of Jose Guillen by Ada–err, some new guy), lets just call park and defense a wash for the time being.

Carlos Silva is durable, averaging 193 innings a year over the past four seasons. Lucky for us, that’s about exactly half of the amount of innings taken up by the fearsome (to us) foursome. Let’s translate some of these into runs over a season to get an idea of how much we are improving.

2007: 6.86 RA * 193 innings = 147 runs allowed

Silva 2006: 6.49 RA * 193 innings = 139 runs allowed

Silva Med: 4.80 RA * 193 innings = 103 runs allowed

Silva 2007: 4.41 RA * 193 innings = 95 runs allowed

So we’re looking at around a 40-50 run improvement if Silva stays healthy and manages not to repeat 2006.

For what it’s worth, if we nabbed Erik Bedard and he took over the remaining 175 innings left from the Hindenburg-like foursome above, and notched a (conservative estimate) 4.0 runs allowed mark, he would net us another 55 runs. If he did something insane like repeating 2007, it would jump to 70 runs.