2009 PECOTA Projections – Pitching

Posted by Steve

I promised BP’s pitching projections, so here you go.  Pitching projections are a bit tricky, because with the high risk for injury, Innings Pitched projections are somewhat of a crapshoot.  Most pitchers will miss at least a start or two throughout the season, and many will miss a lot more than that.  For this reason, they project most starters for well under 200 innings.  Therefore, instead of strikeout and walk totals, I’ll use strikeout rate, walk rate and strikeout-to-walk ratios.

Yovani Gallardo

3.73 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 2.54  K/BB, 9.00 K/9, 3.54 BB/9

Personally, this seems to be a pretty conservative projection for Yo.  Not saying that I’d be unhappy with that line, but I wouldn’t put a better season past him.

You can look at this two ways.  If he gives this line over around 200 innings, you’d have to be very pleased.  Yet, if you were looking at him to replace the production of Ben Sheets, this projection would fall a bit short.  Expecting Sheets’ production out of Yo is asking a little too much in my opinion.

Dave Bush

4.27 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 2.56 K/BB, 5.89 K/9, 2.3 BB/9

That’s pretty much the line of a solid number three starter, which is what the Brewers need Bush to be.  BP expects more of the same from Bush, whose staple is a low walk rate.  Of all the Brewers’ starters, Bush is probably the easiest to project and the safest bet for a full, solid season.

Manny Parra

4.40 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 1.79 K/BB, 7.35 K/9, 4.1 BB/9

PECOTA anticipates the same problem for Parra as last season, which is walks.  He walked 4.1 per nine innings last year as well, so they aren’t even predicting a slight improvement in that department.  That would be disappointing, because Parra taking a step forward into a number 2-ish starter would be a huge boost, but it’s probably unlikely.

Braden Looper

4.62 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 2.06 K/BB, 5.01 K/9, 2.43 BB/9

This certainly isn’t anything exciting from Looper, but it’s also about what the Brewers are paying him for.  He doesn’t strike out many, but he doesn’t walk many either.

Jeff Suppan

4.91 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 1.6 K/BB, 5.00 K/9, 3.1 BB/9

Blah.  That’s the production from a fourth or fifth starter who’s making a couple million bucks, and Suppan is being paid like a top-of-the-rotation guy.  The strikeout/walk ratio is pretty poor.  BP actually has him for a slight improvement from last season, which was probably affected negatively by his injury.  Still, that contract is a killer the next two years.

Trevor Hoffman

3.41 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 3.6 K/BB, 7.5 K/9, 2.09 BB/9

These are comparable to Hoffman’s last few seasons, and it would likely make him the Brewers best reliever.  You just have to hope his abdoment strain doesn’t linger.

Carlos Villanueva

3.88 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 2.45 K/BB, 7.46 K/9, 3.05 BB/9

That’s an above average reliever, but that’s even more valuable if the Brewers continue to use Villy as a multi-inning reliever, or relief-ace a la Carlos Marmol.  BP projects him for 85 2/3 innings, which means they think he will be used that way.  Hoffman’s injury is bothersome not only because Hoffman is out, but because Villanueva will be taken out of that multi-inning role until Hoffman returns.

Mitch Stetter

3.86 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 1.92 K/BB, 9.06 K/9, 4.72 BB/9

As the Brewers’ lone lefty reliever, Stetter will play a large role this season.  He’s better against righties than his predecessor Brian Shouse, which theoretically should make him more valuable than a traditional LOOGY.  Stetter is plagued by walks at times, but he has a nasty slider that gets him a lot of strikeouts as well.

David Riske

4.76 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 1.44 K/BB, 6.56 K/9, 4.54 BB/9

Ouch.  BP obviously doesn’t expect Riske to rebound to his pre-2008 form after an injury-plagued season.  He had a rough spring, so hopefully he gets it going and can outdo this projection, which pretty much represents a mop-up reliever.  The Brewers paid him a sizable contract as well.

Seth McClung

4.51 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 1.58 K/BB, 7.83 K/9, 4.73 BB/9

As a starter, that’s a decent line.  As a reliever… Not so much.  That’s simply too many walks from a relief pitcher, which has always been McClung’s achilles heel.  He has outperformed this line each of the past two seasons, so it seems BP is being conservative with him as well.

Mark DiFelice

3.99 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 3.75 K/BB, 7.34 K/9, 1.96 BB/9

My man Mark!  How about that projection?  And the best part is they project that over 92 innings!  That would be extremely valuable.  If you don’t walk guys, you are generally effective, and 1.96 BB/9 is a great number.  I’ve been telling all the guys here to watch out for DiFelice, and most didn’t even know who he is.  Hopefully he backs me up this year.

Todd Coffey

4.21 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 1.88 K/BB, 6.86 K/9, 3.66 BB/9

Another unexciting line from the bullpen, but it’s not terrible.  Not much else to say, really.

Jorge Julio

4.25 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 1.75 K/BB, 9.45 K/9, 5.4 BB/9

Another high strikeout, high walk guy.  Not exactly an ideal reliever, but then again, he’s cheap this year.


I mentioned in my post on offensive PECOTA projections that I think the Brewers’ offense will score more runs this season.  That will be necessary, because the Crew simply doesn’t have the firepower in the starting rotation they did last season.  The encouraging thing, though, is that this rotation isn’t much different than the rotation that got the Brewers out to a great start in the first couple months last year (Gallardo instead of Sheets is the only real difference).  If they are competitive again, there will be plenty of teams selling off starters.  Halladay and Peavy are two big names, but it could even be someone of lesser status.

I have more concern about the bullpen.  Guys I like include Hoffman, Villanueva, Stetter and DiFelice, but I’m not as crazy about McClung, Riske, Coffey and Julio.  Middle relief will be shaky and could surrender many walks.  At this point I consider the bullpen the weakest point on the team.


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