Picking up from looking yesterday at rough distributions of projected outcomes for the 2018 starting lineup as it stands, today we’ll look at the starting pitchers. I’ve split them into two charts as putting all five on the same chart is way too busy.
I’m not quite sure how the Stroman chart ended up with twin peaks, there’s no reason to think it should look that way. If the middle is smoothed into more of a normal distribution, I think it otherwise looks good - some inherent risk of injury/ineffectiveness, otherwise most outcomes between league average (2 WAR) and just shy of ace status (~5 WAR), with some tail where he does take the next step.
With both J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada, I think I may have been a little too optimistic in terms of the positive tail of options, though Happ’s peak should probably be shifted over a little after 2.5 seasons of above average pitching. One thing I think is well captured is the higher variance of Estrada given his fly ball tendencies.
The Aaron Sanchez distribution is shaped a lot like that of Devon Travis, which I think makes sense given the track record of performance on the mound and a big question mark about how often he’ll be on it. Consequently, a lot of distribution with modest production, but a very long tail reflecting the potential for another 2016 type season.
Lastly, I think Joe Biagini looks about right, not expecting a lot as a starter given last year and his minor league record, but a possibility of decent upside premised upon his solid peripherals.
My takeaway from this exercise, especially with pitchers where there is higher risk of catastrophic injury and variance, is that a 5x5 matrix of playing time and production outcomes really isn’t quite granular enough to construct individual distributions (it’s more than fine for my original purpose of high level team projection). 10x10 (100 outcomes) is probably overkill, but 7x7 (49 outcomes) is probably a good happy medium. I may revisit this towards the end of the offseason and build it out a little.