Updating the Milwaukee Brewers' Win Projections

Right Field BleachersCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2009

About a month ago, when I first started writing here, I made a series of posts projecting how the Brewers players stack up according to Wins Above Replacement. I strongly recommend that you take a look at these posts again to get a handle on my methods, although I will glaze over them again so I can fit this all in one post.

Here’s the original series: Hitters, Pitchers.

First, let’s look at hitters. The run values are all based on wOBA. For more on how that works, read the link.

Rivera ,MikeC1500.33101000.43012.502.680.
Kendall, JasonC5500.3388-16.26-1.63-0.051012.58.469.821.831.777.984.6
Nelson ,Brad1B500.34330.390.040.18-8-12.5-0.62-0.89-
Fielder, Prince1B6500.3840229.9634.85-8-12.5-8-11.61-1.962.8913.019
Weeks, Rickie2B6000.343947.30.732.44-92.5-8.312.14-0.621.838.232.3
Hall, Bill3B5000.33338-1.74-0.171.25-12.5-0.771.790.11.366.14.93
Lamb, Mike3B2000.32136-1.74-0.170.4-122.5-3.690.71-
Hardy, J.J.SS6250.344108.150.822.617.50.966.70.773.3715.154.5
Braun, RyanLF6250.3838529.892.994.772-7.51.92-6.7-0.484.319.343.05
Cameron, MikeCF5750.3338420.21.8432.52.652.050.472.3110.4110
Hart, CoreyRF6000.353938.350.832.552-7.51.85-6.43-0.462.099.412.4
Gwynn, TonyOF1500.31104-3-0.30.13-6-2.5-1.38-0.54-0.19-0.06-0.290.4
Duffy, ChrisOF1500.31104-3-0.30.139-2.52.08-0.540.
Totals-5849-372560.36.0321.53  -5.880.23-0.5620.9794.3442.83

The additions here from last time are Duffy and Lamb, but you’ll notice that a few things have changed a bit. 

For one, I’ve changed the runs/win from 10.5 to 10. I was reading some things by some people that are more educated for me and it turns out that 10 is the correct number here (based on pythagorean records).

I’ve also adjusted plate appearances to what I feel are more realistic ideas. Either way, here we have 21 wins above replacement. Setting a replacement N.L. team at 51 wins (this is based on empirical observation of actual replacement players), we have 72 wins with just the position players.

Now, the pitchers. I’ve made more of a change with the pitchers, changing to finding Wins Above Replacement using something called a “Dynamic Runs Estimator.”

The basic principle behind this is that saving runs becomes less important as the runs pile on. This makes intuitive sense—the difference between saving the first run is much more important than saving the 8th run in a game.  

Another way of looking at this is that the difference between a 2.00 ERA pitcher and a 3.00 ERA pitcher is much larger than the difference between a 5.00 ERA pitcher and a 6.00 ERA pitcher. If anybody is interested, I can post the formula in the comments later. Here are the pitchers:

NameIPERAHRKBBFIPWin%LeverageWARValueActual Salary
Gallardo, Yovani1603.6514.18141.7756.713.670.5813.6716.50.45
Capuano, Chris1604.518.23121.5248.614.190.5212.611.710.4
Parra, Manny1604.4416.12139.2867.914.070.531313.50.5
Bush, Dave1694.3123118454.40.4912.3210.444
Suppan, Jeff1694.852198634.80.4510.421.8812.5
Replacement Starter45.675.7---5.70.3710  

Hoffman, Trevor533.74643174.040.531.80.783.496
Villanueva, Carlos964.031382344.340.51.10.472.110.5
McClung, Seth894.35970444.450.491.10.311.381.2
Swindle, RJ492.7944582.940.671.11.245.580.4
Stetter, Mitch384.03433184.280.510.850.170.750.4
Julio, Jorge464.4544224.160.520.850.261.170.95
DiFelice, Mike354.37528124.520.480.750.060.270.4
Dillard, Tim324.22423124.540.480.750.050.230.4
Coffey, Todd434.81633164.630.470.
Riske, David534.25739234.780.450.6-0.02-0.094.25
Replacement Reliever347.334.72---4.720.46



The “win%” that you see here is exactly what it sounds like—it’s what the team’s winning percentage would be with a league average offense and that pitcher pitching every inning of every game.

A replacement level SP has a .370 win% and a replacement level RP has a .460 win%. Here we see that our pitchers are worth 15.35 wins. So this means with a replacement level offense, the Brewers would win about 66 games. Just think, in 2004, our whole team was only worth 16 wins above replacement.

Now we can get to the interesting stuff. Our total wins above replacement comes out to 35.32.  So with our baseline set at 51 wins, we are expected to win 86.32 games, for a winning percentage of .538.  

I don’t expect that these projections are spot on - they can’t be, we’re not going to some how win .32 of a game along the line - so we can use a tool called a binomial distribution to see the probabilities of winning certain amounts of games.  Here I have graphed the probabilities of winning at least a certain amount of games (the red lines represent 75% and 25% chances).

Brewer Win Probabilities

Brewer Win Probabilities

I’ll keep updating this as the offseason goes, so keep your eyes open!