added 3/10/2008 by Scott Barzilla
Baseball Prospectus has their 2008 projections. I took each team's projected 25 man roster and totaled the value of replacement players for 2008. Here are the results. Obviously, many of these are going to be well off base, but this is the season for some old-fashioned predictive entertainment.
1. New York Mets-- 478.7
Raise your hand if you are surprised by this. Yup, me too. The folks at BP are either geniuses or really off the mark. Really, it comes down to a subtle preference for teams with pitching that we will see throughout the power poll. Obviously, they are banking on Pedro being healthier than normal.
2. New York Yankees-- 447.3
Okay, this is more like it. Newcomers like Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, and Phillip Hughes are the keys here. Plus, an offense that features four different hitters with 30+ VORPs. This ranking shows why Brian Cashman deserves an extension for not biting on the Johan Santana talks.
3. Chicago Cubs-- 412.1 What in the name of billy goats is going on here? The additions of Fukodome and Soto turn this from a decent lineup into a very good lineup. Plus, they are very optimistic about Felix Pie. The bigger surprise might be their affection for most of the pitchers in the bullepn. Bobby Howry? Come on.
4. LA Dodgers-- 411.5
Now they are pulling my leg. Joe Torre doesn't count guys. Well, this ranking did come out before we knew that Laroche was going to miss some time. If Jason Schmidt gives them anything they could be very dangerous.
5. Boston Red Sox-- 402.5
Losing Curt Schilling really hurts their rankings. This is a team that might have been smart to pull the trigger on Johan Santana. However, they do have hope of sticking with the Yanks. If they give the AL a heavy dose of Jed Lowry and Jacoby Ellsbury then they could be right up there.
6. Detroit Tigers-- 400.1
Here is where you see the second example of their preference for pitching. The Tigers pitching is average, so an otherwise brilliant lineup is held down. They believe the 2007 seasons for Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera were career years. Evidence suggests they should be right.
6. Milwaukee Brewers-- 400.1
Wait a second. The NL Central has two of the top seven teams? Wait a minute? Um, er, a....Tilt! The Brewers are the Tigers of the National League, so it is fitting they should be tied in the power rankings. Great hitting, so so pitching.
8. Arizona Dbacks-- 398.7
Everyone assumed the NL Wildcard would come from the East or West. It looks like the Dbacks, Brewers, and Braves will duke it out this year. Getting Haren was a coup and if the Unit can give them 25 starts it will be an exciting year again in Phoenix.
9. Atlanta Braves-- 387.8
John Schurholtz left this organization in great shape. They let Edgar Renteria and Andruw Jones get away (traded Renteria), but look good anyway. When your playoff hopes are pinned to oft-injured Mike Hampton and Mark Kotsay it doesn't inspire much confidence, but they will be better than most think.
10. Cleveland Indians-- 375.0
The Indians are a good team that really didn't do anything in the off-season. They have some good players, but were outflanked by the Tigers. Yet, any team with this bullpen can't be counted out.
11. San Diego Padres-- 370.0
Any team with this group of starting pitchers can't be counted out, but their offense is just not that productive. Sure, they added Jim Edmonds and Tadahito Iguchi, but does anyone really get excited about Edmonds anymore?
12. Philadelphia Phillies-- 365.9
Truth be told, they overachieved last year (particularly Rollins). They have a lot of top end talent, but they don't have the depth at other positions that the teams above them do.
12. Cincinnati Reds-- 365.9
This is another mild surprise. They won't be much of a factor in the Central for the whole season, but they could be in 2009 if they allow Jay Bruce to play and grow. This is a club in transition as they await Ken Griffey Jr. to clear his name off the books and payroll.
14. LA Angels-- 361.9
Welcome to the worst division in baseball. NL Central move over. When you are the 14th best team in baseball and you have no one else in the division in your neighborhood it's time we call the AL West the Pacific Coast League.
15. Colorado Rockies-- 343.3
The good news is that they are still among the top half in baseball despite not making any major additions. The bad news is that three other teams from their division stand above them.
16. St. Louis Cardinals-- 329.3
Cardinal fans and fantasy owners are keeping their eye on Pujols' elbow. If it finally tears completely they will be in the tank. If it doesn't, he can hit .300/30/100/100 in his sleep. This is an organization rotting away. They did get a title though.
17. Toronto Blue Jays-- 323.0
Does finishing in third in the AL East get you anything special? It should with the Yankees and Red Sox. Maybe the winner of third place can get all you can eat coupons at the Sizzler.
18. Houston Astros-- 316.7
The folks at BP are overly harsh. The Astros elevated themselves to average in a division where average is typically good enough. Unfortunately, Wade made the right moves in the wrong season.
19. Pittsburgh Pirates-- 302.8
The only division in baseball with every team over 300 VORP? That's right the NL Central. In your face Dane Perry. This Bucs team is merely the best of the bad though.
20. Washington Nationals-- 299.1
This is a good young lineup with a very bad pitching staff. It will be fun to watch Lastings Milledge, Ryan Zimmerman, and Elijah Dukes play in a new stadium though.
21. Tampa Bay Rays-- 296.3
Their patience is rewarded by a trip out of the AL East Cellar. Next year they should be good enough to win the Sizzler coupons. If they stick with this youth movement it will be the best chance anyone has to challenge the Sox or Yankees.
22. Florida Marlins-- 280.6
Get this team a ballpark please. I'm tired of these owners running away with profits from revenue sharing and then dealing their stars every three years. Cameron Maybin was a nice addition via trade and Hanley Ramirez is the best young shortstop in baseball.
23. Chicago White Sox-- 273.8
When you need to make huge strides you do what the best always do: invest large money in the players that will make the least impact. On paper this looks like a competitive team. Adding Linebrink and Dotel was a lot like putting whipped cream on a cow patty.
24. Oakland Athletics-- 270.3
See the Florida Marlins. In all seriousness, it would be fun to see what Billy Beane could do with some money. At least then he could start delivering on his huge ego and not make excuses about market limitations.
25. Minnesota Twins-- 269.5
When you deal away your best player this is what you get. When you lose your second best player to free agency this is what you get. Time will tell whether they got a good enough return on Santana. Here is hoping they get a good draft for Hunter. They made the right call on letting both go.
26. San Francisco Giants-- 260.6
Brian Sabean, you are now exposed for what you are. This team rode the wave of Barroid and now that wave is done. Waking up to this lineup every morning is a lot like drinking the whole keg and waking up next to the hag you thought was Salma Hayek the night before. Say no to drugs I guess.
27. Seattle Mariners-- 242.7
This ranking is the most bizarre and unfair in my opinion. They have a very solid pitching staff all the way around. Even though it may be low, their offense is still a bit uninspiring. They should finish in front of Oakland, but that's about it.
28. Texas Rangers-- 235.4
This is what you get when you have a pitching staff in shambles. The whiz kid GM will have to accept that free agency is not the path to building a pitching staff in that banbox.
29. Baltimore Orioles-- 201.9
If they deal Brian Roberts this could get worse by opening day. Troy Patten going down for the season doesn't look good. Yet, I like both of their trades. They are doing what they should have done a long time ago. I just hope the Baltimore fans can put up with 100+ loss seasons for a couple of years.
30. Kansas City Royals-- 191.8
Who would have thought it was this bad? Well, the signing of Gil (Ga) Meche was a horrible decision even if he did have a good 2007. That will be reflected this year. Getting Jose Guillen and then having him suspended also wasn't good. They are just a team devoid of any good players. Mediocre players are fine when surrounded by good players. Mediocre players surrounded by mediocre begets a long season.
Wow, there are some interesting predictions here. Time will tell whether Baseball Prospectus is right or whether we'll look back on this list and laugh. Of course, the link is saved for posterity sake. Enjoy the season folks.