21 April 2007

How good are they?

So now the Dodgers are 12-5, good for a 0.705 winning percentage. But how good are the Dodgers really? It’s too early to know, I guess.

Here is a chart showing the distribution of Dodger runs scored and allowed so far. The first column is runs, while the second and third columns are the freqency of the Dodgers scoring and allowing that many runs. The fourth and fifth columns are the percent chance of the Dodgers winning if they score or allow the number of runs in the first column, based on their run distribution to date. ( The ties created in matching up the distributions are counted as half a win, which is why they show a 3% chance of winning when scoring no runs. )

runs -- score freq -- allow freq -- score win% -- allow win%

0 0 1 3% 100%
1 1 6 23% 97%
2 4 1 44% 82%
3 3 1 50% 62%
4 1 4 65% 50%
5 2 0 76% 41%
6 1 1 79% 32%
7 0 3 91% 29%
8 1 0 100% 26%
9 2 0 100% 18%
10 2 0 100% 6%

The Dodgers expected record based on this pattern of run distribution is 11.5 wins and 5.5 losses, or about a 0.675 win percentage.

So if the Dodgers could maintain a runs scored and allowed distribution near this all year, they would be a very good team indeed.

Can they sustain it? On the runs allowed side, the strength is the bullpen. The Dodgers have two studs in Broxton and Saito, and the depth in the organization to replace any back of the pen pitcher who is ineffective, as long as Grady and Ned do the right thing. Their first test in this regard is Seanez.

The starters have been fine so far, rarely blowing up. But Tomko and Hendrikson are both in the rotation now, and while both pitchers can be effective at times, they can also be bad at times ( usually more times ), as we saw last year. I don’t think you can sustain a team ERA of 3 with both in the starting rotation. The Dodgers need Schmidt and Kuo to come back healthy to keep their run prevention at its current elite level.

I think the Dodgers will have more of a problem sustaining the runs scored distribution they have going. They don’t hit many home runs, so they need to follow last year’s model and have no holes in the lineup. That will be hard with Pierre, Gonzo and the question at third base. If they could get a 0.340 on base percentage from all three of these positions, then they should keep scoring at their current high level. LaRoche and Kemp could replace Betemit and Gonzo if they aren't up to the task, but I have less confidence in the Dodgers brain trust when it comes to replacing ineffective offensive players with youngsters. I think it's more likely Kemp bumps Eithier, if there is any movement. And I'm resigned to Pierre at this point, and just hope he can get his average up to at least 0.300, since he doesn't walk or hit home runs.

I think the Dodgers are good, good enough to win the NL West. I'm sure they're not as good as their current record or current runs scored and allowed distributions, but I'd love to be proven wrong. The coming months will tell us more ... and I'd like to see what the Dodgers do when they play the Braves and the Mets.

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