Indians' Pitchers First Half 'On Pace' Projections

With the mathematically inaccurate “first half” of the Indians’ 2012 season now behind us, it’s time to indulge in one of the most overly simplistic statistical analyses in baseball: “on pace” projections. On Wednesday we took a look at what Cleveland’s position players are on pace to do, so today we turn our attention to each pitcher on the Tribe’s active roster.

Expecting a player to continue at the exact same level of production without any positive or negative regression won’t get you very far, but nonetheless it’s fun to see the results. The numbers that below are simply the major pitching counting stats multiplied by 162 and then divided by 85 (like I said, the “first half” is an inaccurate term). Though I find them fun, I once again would like to make it clear that I do not endorse these numbers as serious projections for players’ final stats.

Starting at the top, the rotation is a bit of a mixed bag. Ubaldo Jimenez and Derek Lowe are both on track to reach 15 wins, albeit in completely different ways; meanwhile, the team’s best pitcher, Justin Masterson, would end up losing 15 games thanks to poor run support. Jimenez’ 111 walks are of some concern, but they’re not as worrisome as the fact that he and Josh Tomlin are on pace to give up 50 home runs. Yikes.

The front of the staff clearly hasn’t done what it was supposed to do, but there’s some good stuff happening in the back. Even after his recent rough stretch Lowe is on pace to be an above-average player over nearly 200 innings. Better yet is what we see from Zach McAllister—give him 32 starts and he’d project to be worth over five wins above replacement. Also, is it sad or impressive that McAllister is on track to get more strikeouts in 13 outings than Lowe is in 32?

We start to run into trouble as we move to the bullpen. The Indians clearly aren’t getting much out of their long and middle relief corps, but anyone who’s been following the Tribe this year already knew that. Sample sizes are small for Scott Barnes and Esmil Rogers, but Jeremy Accardo and Tony Sipp (as well as the currently inactive Nick Hagadone and Rafael Perez) have really struggled. As an aside, Rogers is on pace to get 34 strikeouts against only two walks? That’s insane.

But the back end of the bullpen—that’s where things get good. Among the highlights: Joe Smith is on pace for 10 wins out of the bullpen, Vinnie Pestano is on track to surpass 80 strikeouts in under 70 innings, and Chris Perez‘ projected 46 saves would have been the second-most in baseball last year. Not to mention that accumulating almost two WAR is a tremendous accomplishment for a reliever.

All in all, the Indians are on pace to go 84-78 and finish over .500. But with the White Sox on pace for 90 wins, they’ll have to do better than that to win the AL Central.

Tags: Chris Perez Derek Lowe Esmil Rogers Jeremy Accardo Joe Smith Josh Tomlin Justin Masterson Scott Barnes Tony Sipp Ubaldo Jimenez Vinnie Pestano Zach McAllister

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