Leaderboards vs. the projections: the pitchers

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Here’s part two of my look at the actual leaderboards versus my projected totals. I’ll be listing players with their season totals and then where I had them ranked and projected.

Wins
1. Justin Verlander: 24 (6th, 16)
2. Ian Kennedy: 21 (67th, 11)
2. Clayton Kershaw: 21 (10th, 15)
4. Roy Halladay: 19 (1st, 19)
4. CC Sabathia: 19 (2nd, 18)
6. Jered Weaver: 18 (19th, 14)
7. Yovani Gallardo: 17 (19th, 14)
7. Cliff Lee: 17 (3rd, 17)
9. Gio Gonzalez: 16 (31st, 13)
9. Zack Greinke: 16 (31st, 13)
9. Dan Haren: 16 (19th, 14)
9. Derek Holland: 16 (67th, 11)
9. Daniel Hudson: 16 (31st, 13)
9. Tim Hudson: 16 (10th, 15)
9. Ivan Nova: 16 (87th, 10)
9. James Shields: 16 (31st, 13)
9. C.J. Wilson: 16 (31st, 13)

I had five pitchers winning 17 games, including Halladay, Sabathia and Lee. The other two were Jon Lester, who finished with 15, and Tim Lincecum, who ended up with 13.

Kennedy was obviously the biggest miss. I had him as a solid fantasy starter because of a strong WHIP and strikeout rate. But I didn’t think he’d be so good and I didn’t expect the team around him (the Arizona bullpen in particular) to perform so well.

ERA
1. Clayton Kershaw: 2.28 (3rd, 2.97)
2. Roy Halladay: 2.35 (2nd, 2.84)
3. Cliff Lee: 2.40 (4th, 3.04)
4. Justin Verlander: 2.40 (23rd, 3.51)
5. Jered Weaver: 2.41 (21st, 3.49)
6. Ryan Vogelsong: 2.71 (no projection)
7. Tim Lincecum: 2.74 (5th, 3.09)
8. Cole Hamels: 2.79 (15th, 3.39)
9. James Shields: 2.82 (76th, 4.12)
10. Doug Fister: 2.83 (113th, 4.38)

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’m a bit more conservative with pitching projections; not since Pedro Martinez’s prime have I projected anyone to finish with an ERA in the low-2.00s.

I had Felix Hernandez atop my ERA leaderboard this year at 2.74, but he came up well short at 3.47 for the year. Two of the other guys in my top 10 got hurt (Josh Johnson and Brett Anderson), while Mat Latos, Tommy Hanson and Lester failed to make the cut here.

Strikeouts
1. Justin Verlander: 250 (6th, 202)
2. Clayton Kershaw: 248 (5th, 205)
3. Cliff Lee: 238 (28th, 178)
4. CC Sabathia: 230 (11th, 192)
5. James Shields: 225 (34th, 172)
6. Felix Hernandez: 222 (4th, 207)
7. Roy Halladay: 220 (7th, 197)
7. Tim Lincecum: 220 (1st, 232)
9. David Price: 218 (8th, 194)
10. Yovani Gallardo: 207 (2nd, 211)

Seven of the top 10 match up here. The exceptions are Jon Lester (211 projected, 182 actual), Jered Weaver (193 projected, 198 actual) and Jonathan Sanchez (193 projected, 102 actual in 101 1/3 IP). Of course, I had just six pitchers projected to fan 200 batters.  In actuality, 14 did.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”