HLP or DQ may be planning a more comprehensive preview of the Bill James Astros' player projections for next year. But I will make a quick hit here on some Astros' pitcher projections. And let me preface this with my own personal reservation: I am skeptical of projection systems' forecasts for young players who have limited track records. This is a common sense observation based on the fact that all projection systems use some form of extrapolation from known major league stats and, for younger players, minor league stats. The more limited data on young players makes the projections less reliable for them. And the Astros are likely to rely on some young pitchers next year.
First, the following Astros' rotation looks like a disaster, if the James' projections are right:
Oswalt 205 IP 3.60 ERA
Wandy Rodriguez 212 IP 4.12 ERA
Bud Norris 107 IP 5.05 ERA
Paulino 130 IP 5.19 ERA
Moehler 163 IP 5.08 ERA
Oswalt's projection is a reasonably decent result. Wandy's ERA would increase by more than a full run per game over 09; apparently some of Wandy's past inconsistency still factors into the projection. The Norris and Paulino projections are significantly worse than their x-FIP results last year. But, since both are young pitchers, a high ERA like that isn't out of question. The Moehler projection is probably about right.
As for the bullpen, two young pitchers whom most of us are hoping can be late inning stalwarts don't project out very well.
Fulchino 93 IP 4.94 ERA
Arias 33 IP 4.65 ERA
Both results wiould represent a major disappointment. Again, I think the spotty track record for both pitchers is the reason that the good performances last year have been discounted by the projection. Arias has great stuff, but he hasn't pitched a lot in the majors prior to last sason. Fulchino has a good fastball and picked up a splitter this season, which seemed to make a big difference in his results. But Fulchino has been erratic in the big leagues in the past season. And, if we want to be honest, it's always possible that he could regress toward his past record.
For closer....Hawkins or Valverde?
Valverde 67 IP, 38 Saves, 3.22 ERA
Hawkins 63 IP, 3.29 ERA
I left out Hawkins' projection of zero saves, since it is based on an assumption that he is used as set up man.
The projections are kinder to another key bullpen arm, Chris Sampson. Again, I think this comes down to a better track record for Chris. Chris Sampson....35 IP, 3.86 ERA. Well, hold on there...only 35 innings pitched. That's like projecting an injury.
It will be interesting to see if we get some better outcomes on the ZIPS and CHONE projections for these players. Any thoughts?