The 2014 Phillies Project to Win 70 Games – Phillies Nation

The 2014 Phillies Project to Win 70 Games

With players being tendered, non-tendered, traded, and everything in between, the Phillies sit idly with primarily the same roster they had in 2013, adding Marlon Byrd and Miguel Gonzalez and subtracting Roy Halladay. Eric Seidman will go into great depth tomorrow about the Phillies’ curious moves yesterday, but for now, let’s take a look at where the Steamer Projection system has them for 2014.

Line-Up fWAR Steamer Bench fWAR Steamer
C – Carlos Ruiz 3.1 C – Erik Kratz 0.9
1B – Ryan Howard 0.7 INF – Freddy Galvis -0.7
2B – Chase Utley 3.2 INF – Kevin Frandsen -0.3
3B – Cody Asche 1.4 4th OF – John Mayberry Jr. -0.3
SS – Jimmy Rollins 1.9 5th OF – Darin Ruf 0.5
LF – Domonic Brown 2
CF – Ben Revere 1.4
RF – Marlon Byrd 0.8
Rotation Bullpen
SP – Cole Hamels 3.3 RP – Justin De Fratus 0
SP – Cliff Lee 3.8 RP – Jake Diekman 0.1
SP – Kyle Kendrick 1.1 RP – Antonio Bastardo 0.1
SP – Jonathan Pettibone 0.2 RP – Mike Adams 0.3
SP – Miguel Gonzalez 0 RP – BJ Rosenberg -0.1
CP – Jonathan Papelbon 0.4

Add all of those numbers up and you get 23.8 wins above replacement. And what does a team of just replacement players expect to win? 46.74 games. 23.8 + 46.74 = uh oh, 70.24.

*Note: there is one wildcard here – Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. He may be an All-Star or he may not even be a starting pitcher for Philadelphia. I will update this once there is a more defined picture of his talents.

The Phillies will have among the top payrolls in the National League for 2014. Just how hard is it to screw something like this up with that much money?

Here’s a team of 25 players, all players who were non-tendered yesterday. They would be expected to win 9.6 games above replacement, or 56.34 games. All of these players should be available for between $500 K and $1.5 million. If everyone on this team signed for an average of $1 million, you’d have a $25 million payroll.

Line-Up fWAR Steamer Bench: fWAR Steamer
C – J.P. Arencibia 0.8 C – Lou Marson 0.4
1B – Garrett Jones 1.4 INF – Chris Getz 0.2
2B – Justin Turner 0.7 UTL – Jordanny Valdespin 0
3B – Mat Gamel 0.1 4th OF – Derrick Robinson 0
SS – Jayson Nix 0.2 5th OF/Pinch Runner – Francisco Peguero 0
LF – Chris Coghlan 0.6
CF – Ryan Kalish 0
RF – Sam Fuld 0.1
Rotation Bullpen
SP – Jerome Williams 1.9 RP – Ronald Belasario 0.1
SP – Tommy Hanson 1.8 RP – John Axford 0.1
SP – Tyler Cloyd 0.3 RP – Sandy Rosario 0
SP – Scott Atchison 0 RP – Cristhian Martinez 0
SP – Daniel Hudson 0 RP – Ryan Webb 0.2
CP – Andrew Bailey 0.7


With just a little tweaking, this team, spending about $60 million, could likely surpass the Phillies. For instance, if Stephen Drew (2 wins in 2014 for $9 million), Ubaldo Jiminez (2.1 wins for $12 million), Nate McLouth (1.2 wins for $6 million), and Josh Johnson (2.7 wins for his $8 million contract) were signed, said hypothetical team would be putting together a 64 win team. If this hypothetical team were to get a bit crazy and make a splash for Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo, they’d likely have a team capable of being as good as the Phillies, from scratch, for about $75 million.

Obviously, this could never happen and projections are, well, only projections. Also, there are obviously more than 25 players that play for a team in a given season. In this exercise, we’re assuming the replacement players are truly replacement-level and that they are a net zero. The projections don’t look very good for the Phillies. Their lack of creativity has boxed them in to a situation where this particular simulation, the Steamer Projections, have them only winning 70 games as currently constituted. And as demonstrated, that number is doubly impressive considering you can build a team just as good, from scratch, with players that were cut loose just yesterday and some free agents, for under half the cost.



  1. Cs

    December 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Guess i’ll have 70 good nights this coming summer!

  2. George

    December 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    And I thiought a Steamer was either an iron, an old car, or something to cook vegeatbles in! Now after decades of living, I find out that it’s actually a highly accurate means of predicting how many games will be won by players with huge unpredictables, like recent injuries and possibly eroding skills..

  3. Manny

    December 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Excellent but depressing article. Such an incompetent GM we have, eh?

  4. Brass Villanueva

    December 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Seems about right. With the expected progression of the Marlins’ young starting pitchers and OF (Ozuna-Yelich-Stanton), I think we’re looking at last place. I can’t wait for opening day.

    • Double Trouble Del

      December 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Expected progressions?? Check out the Steamer projections for the Marlins trio you just named except for Stanton.

      On another note, not to dismiss the Steamer Projections analysis but their hits can be right on but they can often miss just as badly. I’m curious about Ryan Howard’s number of PAs which seem quite low. Are they assuming injury limitations, a platoon program? I’ll wait and see what Marcel, ZiPS and Oliver have to project as well.

      On a positive note, the games still need to played on the field.

  5. Hogey's Role

    December 3, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Ummm big surprise same injury riddled team, makes sense

  6. G7

    December 3, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Hold the phone, we might be signing Wil Nieves..that should turn things around.. 🙂

    • hk

      December 4, 2013 at 7:03 am

      Funny. Actually, if you want to upgrade this analysis after yesterday, Steamer projects Nieves’s WAR at 0.2, so subtract another 0.7 wins for the downgrade from Kratz to Nieves, and Lincoln’s WAR at 0.1, so add another 0.2 wins for the upgrade from Rosenberg to Lincoln.

  7. onehollow

    December 3, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    get rid of laynce nix-delmon young-jimmy rollins

    • schmenkman

      December 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Two out of three already! At least one commenter should be happy. Although the Rollins part isn’t happening, thankfully.

    • c. schreiber

      December 4, 2013 at 4:40 pm


  8. Hogey's Role

    December 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    And saltalamacchia signs for 3 years and 21 million… Cheaper than chooch, surprised??

    • schmenkman

      December 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Considering that he hasn’t been as good as Chooch, and isn’t projected to be as good in 2014, there’s only so much that being young can make up for.

  9. Hogey's Role

    December 3, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Dexter fowler got dealt too and the return the Rockies got was less than impressive, I would bet fowler would have been an upgrade over Byrd for sure

    • G7

      December 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      How about Doug Fister..think he would of helped..someone’s sleeping at the wheel while the competition is getting better..

      • schmenkman

        December 3, 2013 at 8:31 pm

        To be fair, 28 teams were apparently asleep at the wheel.

      • G7

        December 4, 2013 at 8:34 am

        Well to be fair, i only have concerns about 1 team, which is a 3rd place team in the division at best right now.

      • schmenkman

        December 4, 2013 at 8:43 am

        Same here G7. I just don’t see how Amaro was any more “asleep at the wheel” than 20+ other supposedly competent GMs whose teams would also be helped by Fister.

  10. Pamikedc

    December 3, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    @Schmenkman touché.

  11. hk

    December 4, 2013 at 7:21 am

    I have a couple of problems with the Steamer projections. One is Galvis and the other is Marlon Byrd.

    1. Despite Galvis’s weak bat, his plus defense has enabled him to produce 0.7 WAR in 422 PA’s over the last 2 seasons. Steamer is projecting Galvis to produce the same sub par offense in 266 PA’s in 2014, but to be a negative defender to the extent that his projection is for -0.7 WAR. I see no reason why his defense would regress to that level. If Freddy gets 266 PA’s, I would expect to see him be above replacement level.

    2. Byrd has produced 4.9 WAR over 1,214 PA’s over the past 3 seasons. The numbers are even better if you include his 4.1 WAR season in 2010. Now, I get that his 4.1 WAR season last year was derived in part due to a high – and higher than his career average – BABIP, but I see no reason to expect < 2 WAR from Byrd if he gets 500 or so PA's.

    One other point is that there are a couple of players whose WAR figures could be improved if they are used optimally. For instance, if the Phils platoon Howard at 1B with Ruf and start Mayberry vs. all LHP's and no RHP's, all three of them would project to produce higher WAR figures than those that Steamer projects.

    To be clear, I understand that these small quibbles plus the 0 WAR projection for MAG don't make that much of a difference on a team that is projected to win 70 games – maybe 75 if I am right – but I just wanted to add my two cents.

    • Ian Riccaboni

      December 4, 2013 at 11:41 am

      HK – I noticed these as well. I also felt that Lee, Hamels, and Pettibone were a little low, maybe a wins worth combined over the three of them.

      If you pencil in MAG being a two-win pitcher (probably as good a guess as any), that probably raises the bar to 75 wins like you mentioned, which is horribly depressing for a team with a payroll north of $150 million.

      • hk

        December 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

        Such is life when you’d be happy to get 2.5 WAR for the $43.5M of AAV committed to your 1B plus two relief pitchers.

      • Ian Riccaboni

        December 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm

        Did some real quick math without a calculator at the ZiPS projections that just came out. Looks like they have the Phillies in the 75-77 win range.

      • schmenkman

        December 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        Ian, you may have taken this into account, but I believe the PAs and IPs assumed by ZiPS are far more in total than the Phillies will actually get. e.g. Hernandez’ 0.7 WAR is based on 594 PAs, so that would have to be prorated down.

      • Double Trouble Del

        December 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

        I indicated in a prior post that I was uncertain as to how the Steamer Projection arrived at PAs for Howard. I am equally puzzled by the PAs in the ZiPS projections. Any idea on the methodology?

    • Ian Riccaboni

      December 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Excellent point, Schmenkman – I tried to off the top of my head but there is definitely room for improvement. The Steamer projections, to their credit, were much more accurate with PA projections, IMO.

  12. Lefty

    December 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Fun article Ian. Yes, projections are only projections, but there’s not much else for Phillies fans to do in December, so why not.

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