Time for a milestone check on the Phils WAR so far. Please see my earlier fanpost.
(Apologies in advance, this is not as polished as the earlier post)
Generally, my expectations that the variance of Rollins, Ruiz and Byrd’s performance would drive whether or not the Phils were contending has to a large extent turned out not to be true. The Phils have played 54 games, exactly one third of the season. In gruntly mode, what I’ve done is to take the current fWAR of the Phils players and multiplied this by 3 to get an (unsophisticated to be sure) expected end-of-year fWAR value. I’ve placed the 2011 fWAR expectation per my earlier post next to this total.
Player/ 2014 expected fWAR value/2011-13 peak value standard (per earlier post)
(With comment below)
The good news:
Chase Utley 6.9 3.9
Swoon! (Although he won’t stay at this level all year)
Jimmy Rollins 5.1 4.7
Cliff Lee 5.1 6.5
Carlos Ruiz 3.9 5.2
I would argue that Chooch’s numbers could float up as part of the reason he does not meet his earlier peak is that his defense rating has dropped significantly, and those numbers are unstable in small sample sizes
Mike Adams 0.9 1.7
Not terrible, and on the upswing recently.
The "fair to middlin" news:
Marlon Byrd 1.8 4.0
Regressing as expected, but not to the levels we feared. In fact, if he indeed ends up at 1.8 WAR, his salary is nearly exactly right on a WAR/salary basis.
Jonathan Papelbon 1.5 3.2
Good traditional stats, and save opportunities have not been plentiful, but xFIP is 4.55
Kyle Kendrick 0.9 1.7
Kyle is Kyle
Roberto Hernandez 0.0 0.9
The definition of meh
Ryan Howard 0.0 1.5
I mentioned in the original piece that Ryan isn’t a big deal from a WAR perspective, but the problem is that Ruf is at 0.0 as well. I thought a "combined" Howard/Ruf figure would be close to 1.5, but that’s not the case.
The bad news
Cole Hamels 2.4 4.6.
Cole’s drop isn’t "horrible" but in my scenario his fWAR was most likely, along with Chase’s, to be stable. That is not the case.
A.J. Burnett 1.2 4.0
Not a total disaster, but not earning his contract either.
The horrible news:
Domonic Brown -2.4 1.6
Dom Brown alone would now project a negative 4 WAR swing.
Cody Asche -0.6 2.0 (peak value assigned in earlier post)
Lousy all around, and accumulating that negative WAR in fewer ABs
Ben Revere 0.6 3.0
Maybe he won’t even stay this high. L
Diekman/Rosenberg -0.9 1.0 (peak value assigned in earlier post)
Not good; Rosenberg also fills in here for other dreck like Garcia and Manship
Bastardo -0.3 0.9
Bench (for our purposes, Mayberry, Gwynn, Hernandez, Nieves, Brignac)
-1.2 2.0 (assigned)
Total 26.4 fWAR, or an fWAR projection of 26.4 plus 47.7 = 74.1 wins vs. 97 wins at peak fWAR value (see earlier post) (ugh)
Rollins, Ruiz and Byrd project to a combined 10.8 WAR, vs. their peak 2011-13 WAR of 13.9, and most of that decline is due to Byrd (not a surprise). Utley, Hamels and Lee projections vs. peak value nearly cancel each other out, and are within 1 WAR of their peak.
HOWEVER, Burnett and Revere project to a combined 5.2 WAR off their peak value, which is bad, but Brown and Asche are even worse, at 6.6 WAR off their peak or assigned value. And to add insult to injury, Diekman, Rosenberg and Bastardo are 3.2 WAR off their peak or assigned value, and the bench is 3.2 WAR off assigned value.
When I started this update, I expected that the bench and bullpen would be the main problem. But, while the bench and back-end bullpen are way off, with current trends expected to be a combined 6.4 WAR off peak or assigned value, the real problem is Asche, Brown and Revere and to some extent Burnett. Combined, if they continue their current trends, they will be 11.8 WAR (!) off their peak and/or assigned value. So even though we appropriately complain about the horrible bench and bullpen, I see nothing getting fixed unless 3 of those 4 players improve, and/or "reinforcements" like Franco are brought in.
So, in laymen’s terms, if the bench, bullpen, and those four players were playing anywhere near their potential, the Phils are in the wild card race, at the minimum, and if the NL East continues to be mediocre, they would be fighting for the lead. As it is, they project to exactly where they are, 4th or 5th place.
Thus, in general, the Phils have "earned" their status of mediocrity, despite the players I identified in the earlier post playing relatively well. It is also a major indictment of how RAJ has managed the development of players.