Series Preview: @New York Mets

One thing I felt was lacking a bit in my coverage of actual games last season was previews of what is to come. I figured I would allow sites like FishStripes to deal with the day-to-day team coverage and live threads and let me handle to heavy analysis (not that FishStripes doesn’t afford its own opinions, Craig and GameFish are certainly opinionated). But it seems like Marlin Maniac would be missing out if it didn’t try to cover games, which is why I’ve thought about putting more emphasis on game coverage in things like our recap/Blogservations series.

I also figured the saber-slant I have at this site could also provide something in previewing series rather than just reviewing them. In that light, I wanted to start something that I hope I can keep up all season long: the first ever Marlin Maniac Series Preview (more creative name TBA, maybe)!

You can expect a few things here that you will see in other previews, along with some stuff you may not see in other places. Here’s what you’ll find:

- General series info (who we’re facing, home/road, current standings)

- Stadium info (Five-year regressed park factor from Patriot, dimensions if I can find them, individual event park factors would be really nice, but I won’t guarantee those)

- Projected pitching matchups, including current and projected FIP and and projected pitcher Pythagorean win%

- Projected lineups, including current and projected wOBA against lefties/righties based on projections done here.

- For projections, I’ll continue to use CHONE from start of season until ZiPS in-season projections go live on FanGraphs. From there, I will use those projections. For lefty/righty splits in the lineups, I’ll use the regressed splits I got in the lineup optimization article and apply those to the in-season wOBA projections.

- News and notes that I find interesting

Hopefully that intrigues you readers enough to entice you to check it out. With that in mind, here’s the first ever Marlin Maniac Series Preview, previewing the three-game set to open the year versus the New York Mets.

Florida Marlins @ New York Mets, April 5-8, Games 1-3

NL East Standings

Tm W L Win%
GB
ATL 0 0
FLA 0 0
NYM 0 0
PHI 0 0
WSN 0 0
Tm F W L GB
ATL F 0 0
FLA F 0 0
NYM F 0 0
PHI F 0 0
WSN F 0 0

Stadium: Citi Field
Five-year* Run PF: 0.98
Five-year* HR PF: 1.02
Stadium Dimensions:
Left Field: 335 ft.
Left-Center: 364
Deep Left-Center: 384
Center Field: 408
Deep Right-Center: 415
Right-Center: 378
Right Field: 330

*Citi Field has only been around for one season, so really those factors are just one-year regressed factors

Projected Pitching Matchups

April 5: Josh Johnson vs. Johan Santana
April 7: Ricky Nolasco vs. John Maine
April 8: Nate Robertson vs. Jon Niese

CHONE Projections

FIP Win% Marlins Date Mets Win% FIP
3.26 .605 Johnson April 5 Santana .540 3.79
3.68 .553 Nolasco April 7 Maine .468 4.43
4.81 .430 Robertson April 8 Niese .490 4.23

Projected Lineups

Vs. RHP/LHP

Lineup Player Proj. wOBA v. RHP Proj. wOBA v. LHP
1 Chris Coghlan .366 .336
2 Cameron Maybin .350 .371
3 Hanley Ramirez .407 .428
4 Jorge Cantu .333 .351
5 Dan Uggla .353 .362
6 Cody Ross .329 .362
7 John Baker/Ronny Paulino*
.331 .343
8 Gaby Sanchez .340 .370
Team Runs/Game** 4.66 5.23

*Baker and Paulino are platooning. Projected wOBA vs. RHP is for Baker, vs. LHP is for Paulino.

**Runs/Game totals using estimates of platoons component values and this lineup simulator. Totals are derived as runs/game against only lefties or righties

Notes

- There are no typos in the pitching matchups; the Marlins are expected to throw out Nate Robertson instead of Anibal Sanchez in Game 3 of the series. Presumably Sanchez will get his shot over the weekend against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It looks as if the Marlins were interested in getting some playing time for Robertson now to manipulate the rotation timing; John informs me that giving Robertson the third spot would get him into the first series versus the Philadelphia Phillies. It will be interesting to see how much movement the Marlins make in the rotation in order to fit Robertson into starts versus the Phillies’ and Braves’ lefty-heavy lineups.

- Cody Ross will be in the lineup on Opening Day despite major concerns over his calf injury. It looks like he played well enough in his last few Spring Training outings, particularly in the field, to get the spot. The team sent for Scott Cousins just in case, but it seems he’ll be heading back to Triple-A New Orleans.

- The Mets will be without three members of their ideal starting lineup, as Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Daniel Murphy will sit out this series. Replacing Murphy is a familiar face, lefty first baseman and replacement-level fodder Mike Jacobs. Jacobs is best known for having an OPS of over .800 and still being a replacement-level player in 2008.

- As part of the season/series preview, I did a little Q&A with fellow BBA member Joseph Fiorello of Disgruntled Mets Fan. You can check out my answers here.

Bold Prediction: Marlins win 2 of 3 games

Fellow Maniacs, tell me what else you’d like to see on these articles or any other critiques you may have, and I’ll see if I can try and implement them!

Topics: Cody Ross, Miami Marlins, Nate Robertson, New York Mets

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  • Moti

    Very upset right now. Not a good way to start the year. 4th place here we come, I am ready to jump bro. Error after error after error.

    • Michael Jong

      Moti,

      It was ugly, but let’s not lose all our optimism on one awful inning. It was very bad, but I’ll chalk it up to chance for the time being.

  • Anton

    Hi Michael,

    After today’s game I’ve become strangely curious as to whether/how pitcher defense is credited in FIP…

    Considering the generally negligible effect of a back of the staff arm like Hensley today was really quite incredible.

    • Michael Jong

      Anton,

      I can’t blame you, after the debacle of defense the pitchers threw out today. Let me explain.

      FIP does not credit pitchers for their defense. Of the major defensive systems out there, I know that Plus/Minus credits pitchers for their fielding. For errors like the ones you saw today, however, you can easily calculate a value if you knew the rates of throwaway errors per IP for the league. The run value attached to this is the run value of the extra bases added, between 0.2 and 0.4 runs (occasionally these errors cost two bases). I doubt they make a huge effect in the long run, but when they so starkly show up in one inning like that, it’s difficult not to get mad.

  • JoeA.

    Definitely an ugly way to start the season but I’d still rather have our team than the Mets! Is that the best lineup they can put together for 140 or so mil? As for Robertson, considering his splits, I think it’s a great idea to shuffle the rotation to match him up against the Phils and Braves.

    • Michael Jong

      JoeA,

      Indeed an ugly start, but I expect better on Wednesday versus their weaker pitchers. Note that we definitely hold the edge Wednesday, than we’re behind in the starting matchup with Robertson on Thur. We’ll see. Relax everyone, it’s JUST game 1. Let’s not hope it goes on for too long after this.

  • David C.

    I’m not quite so sure about Wednesday.

    While Ricky objectively is much better than John Maine and has pitched very well recently, he historically has struggled with the Mets while the opposite is the case with Maine and the Marlins. Granted, certain people who have hit him hard (Reyes, Beltran) are out of the line-up, but I wouldn’t say that we definitely hold the advantage here.

  • John Herold

    Although I don’t put much substance in those kind of things, it still amuses me thinking about Ricky’s 2006. ERA v.s. the Mets: 19.73. ERA v.s. every other team: 3.84. His GS against the Mets raised his ERA by nearly a full point.

    His FIP difference really wasn’t anything that year, came down to the fact he gave up 26 hits in less then 9 innings against them.

  • David C.

    I agree that game results usually rely more on whether a pitcher or the hitter is “on his game” or not, and that that horrible 2006 against the Mets greatly skews Ricky’s stats. I merely wanted to say that it’s probably a closer match-up than one would think.

    However, I would like to add that there is still something to be said about match-ups and such. For instance, one of the statistics that stands out the most about the Marlins is that they have been one of the best teams in the league (and, last year, WERE the best) at hitting ground ball pitchers. This, in part, explains why they can consistently stick it to guys like Mike Pelfrey. While it is possible for him to have a good start against us, it would require more “locked-in”-ness and effort on his part as opposed to a start against a team like the Reds, which was one of the worst.

    • Michael Jong

      David C,

      Somewhat agree with you here. Some splits have meaning/worth, but with ALL splits, you run into the issue of sample size problems. For example, we know that determining the true talent ability of a pitcher in under one season’s worth of PA/IP is difficult; in fact, it’s pretty much a shot in the dark. A lot of things can go right or wrong for a pitcher in such a small amount of time. Splitting seasons up even further would make those issues even worse.

      In order to read splits well, we need to regress appropriately. For a lot of the splits that are commonly thrown out, I would put little to no meaning on them, because the regression needed to get a good prediction would be really large (clutch/non-clutch splits are a good example). Others, like platoon splits, are not as bad.

      Having said all that, I checked out the numbers on GB pitchers via B-R, and they seem interesting. I’ll be digging around for a reason for this shortly.

  • Moti

    I am going to die at 20 of a heart attack if I watch more games like this. Wow. Nice to get win number 1.

    • Michael Jong

      Moti,

      Exciting, if not gut-wrenching. I hope tonight’s contest goes a little more smoothly.

  • David C.

    Suddenly, I’m completely thrown back to 2005: Great Offense, Terrific top of the rotation, Abysmal bullpen.

    • Michael Jong

      David C,

      I wouldn’t get bent out of shape about the pen too much YET, but that description does seem apt. When your “ace” reliever is a guy projected at around 4.4 R/9, you’re in bad shape.