If you have been following PLC’s 2009 vs. 2010 series closely, you may have noticed some things that did not add up. The offense, defense and pitching is all projected to be close to average. That would seem to indicate a season around .500. However, when compared to the 2009 numbers, the team only projects to improve by about five wins, which would be a win total of 67. Something’s off.
There are a few different explanations, both positive and negative. Let’s start with the negative. When looking at the offense, we saw that the Bucs’ position players were projected to be about average as a whole. That’s great, but it ignores the impact that the team’s pitchers have on the offense. To have a league average overall offense in the National League, the position players have to be about +20 runs. So even with a league average group of position players, the Pirates would still be about two wins below average offensively. That drops the expected win total down to 79.
That still leaves a pretty big difference between 67 and 79 wins, which brings us to an encouraging fact. While the Pirates only won 62 games in 2009, they accumulated about 22 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Using 48.6 wins as replacement level (.300 winning percentage), that means the Pirates actually were about a 71 win team last season. Random variation, bad luck, etc led to the team winning just 62 games. That is a fairly large discrepancy, meaning the Bucs should expect to win more games in 2010 based on simple regression.
Add it all up, and the Pirates should expect a win total somewhere in the mid to upper 70’s. The Pirates should still be below average in 2010, but many predictions are overly pessimistic. Check back soon for a more precise projected win total.