On Pro Baseball Central on Wednesday night, we were debating which of the two teams had an advantage at each position. I decided to investigate a bit more, looking up projections from five different systems: MattS (from The Good Phight and Statistically Speaking), Bill James, CHONE, Marcel (all three can be found at FanGraphs), and ZiPS (from Baseball Think Factory).
I highlighted in olive green the pitchers’ best projections, and in yellow their worst.
Here are the starting pitchers. Apologies for the image quality, Microsoft Paint is the best I have at the moment.
If we go by each pitcher’s best projection, the Phillies’ top five is:
- Cole Hamels: 3.24 ERA
- Joe Blanton: 3.95
- Brett Myers: 4.06
- J.A. Happ: 4.11
- Jamie Moyer: 4.23
Chan Ho Park has a slightly higher projected ERA but I knocked him off because Moyer is guaranteed a spot in the rotation. The Mets’ five:
- Johan Santana: 2.76 ERA
- John Maine: 3.96
- Mike Pelfrey: 4.10
- Oliver Perez: 4.22
- Tim Redding: 4.61
I left Freddy Garcia off because I think pigs have a better chance of flying than he does in making the Mets’ starting rotation.
It looks like the Phillies have a slight advantage at every rotation spot except the #1 spot.
Here are the various projections for the relief pitchers.
I only have the projections for six relievers because the other two spots are up for grabs at the moment and there are too many competitors vying for them: Antonio Bastardo, Yorman Bazardo, Joe Bisenius, Dave Borkowski, Sergio Escalona, Mike Koplove, Justin Lehr, Gary Majewski, Drew Naylor, Blaine Neal, and Jake Woods.
With that said, the Phillies’ best six:
- Brad Lidge: 3.19 ERA
- Ryan Madson: 3.48
- J.C. Romero: 3.53
- Scott Eyre: 3.72
- Chad Durbin: 3.72
- Clay Condrey: 4.29
The Mets’ seven:
- Francisco Rodriguez: 2.34 ERA
- J.J. Putz: 2.59
- Pedro Feliciano: 3.36
- Brandon Knight: 3.44
- Duaner Sanchez: 3.70
- Brian Stokes: 3.86
- Carlos Muniz: 4.42
The Mets have a better back of the bullpen and a very slight edge elsewhere, mostly because of J.C. Romero’s 50-game suspension.
Here are the starters at the eight positions for each team:
The Phillies’ eight best projections:
- Carlos Ruiz: .734 OPS
- Ryan Howard: .963
- Chase Utley: .922
- Pedro Feliz: .744
- Jimmy Rollins: .815
- Raul Ibanez: .847
- Shane Victorino: .794
- Jayson Werth: .853
The Mets’ eight:
- Brian Schneider: .696 OPS
- Carlos Delgado: .863
- Luis Castillo: .707
- David Wright: .954
- Jose Reyes: .834
- Daniel Murphy: .849
- Carlos Beltran: .885
- Ryan Church: .825
The Phillies have huge offensive advantages at first and second base; the Mets have a huge advantage at third base and center field. The Phillies have a slight advantage at catcher and right field. It’s a wash at shortstop and left field although I think Ibanez is very likely to significantly out-produce Murphy.
Here are the team’s bench projections. I took the five players I thought were most likely to make the 25-man roster on Opening Day.
The Phillies’ five’s best:
- Matt Stairs: .808 OPS
- Greg Dobbs: .788
- Geoff Jenkins: .774
- Chris Coste: .760
- Eric Bruntlett .682
The Mets’ five’s best:
- Nick Evans: .829 OPS
- Fernando Tatis: .810
- Ramon Castro: .785
- Jeremy Reed: .724
- Alex Cora: .686
I very much disagree with the Bill James projection for Evans — I think it’s extremely optimistic.
The Mets’ bench appears to be slightly better but note that Tatis could be getting a decent amount of playing time as a starter, so the Mets’ bench is more likely on par with the Phillies’ if not slightly behind.
Keep in mind that with the projections I’ve listed, defense and base running are not factored in, both of which are advantages for the Phillies.
Overall, it’s very close. A recap:
- Phillies’ Huge Advantages: First base, second base, left field, defense.
- Phillies’ Slight Advantages: Catcher, back of starting rotation, bench, base running.
- Pushes: Shortstop, right field, non-CL and non-SU relievers.
- Mets’ Slight Advantages: Ace starter, CL and SU relievers.
- Mets’ Huge Advantages: Third base, center field.
The Mets have 5 players that garner them an advantage; seven players are pushes; the Phillies have 13 players that garner them an advantage (as well as defense and base running).
I’d say overall, the Phillies are the slightly better team. What do you think?