Braden Looper By The Numbers

There’s no question that the Brewers were low on pitching depth, and so Doug Melvin went out and brought in Braden Looper.  Let’s take a look at the potential impact this signing could have on the entire Brewers pitching staff.  Here’s a rough idea of what we’re looking at before Looper.

SP1 Gallardo, 180 IP, 3.60 FIP | 3.80 WAR
SP2 Parra, 170 IP, 4.10 FIP | 2.50 WAR
SP3 Bush, 190 IP, 4.30 FIP | 2.30 WAR
SP4 Suppan, 170 IP, 5.05 FIP | 0.65 WAR
SP5 McClung, 130 IP, 4.60 FIP | 1.15 WAR
SP6 Capuano, 65 IP, 4.50 FIP | 0.65 WAR

CL Hoffman, 60 IP 3.90 FIP, 1.8 LI | 0.80 WAR
RP Villanueva, 80 IP 3.40 FIP, 1.3 LI | 1.45 WAR
RP Stetter, 50 IP, 3.50* FIP, 1.1 LI | 0.70 WAR
RP Swindle, 40 IP, 3.90* FIP 0.9 LI | 0.30 WAR
RP Julio, 50 IP, 4.30 FIP 0.8 LI | 0.10 WAR
RP Riske, 50 IP, 4.30 FIP 0.7 LI | 0.10 WAR
RP Others, ~120 IP, 4.45 FIP 0.6 LI | 0.00 WAR

TOTAL WAR: 11.05 SP, 3.45 RP, 14.5 TOTAL

The lefty reliever FIPs are pretty low here, but I’m assuming decent management of them by Macha (they should face a VERY low amount of RHBs).  This should actually be quite encouraging.  Last year, the Brewers pitching staff compiled a total of 13.3 Wins Above Replacement from pitchers.  The big difference here is that the bullpen this year could contribute around 3 wins with the current configuration, while it contributed .16 wins in 2008.  That’s not a typo, the bullpen was basically replacement level, while the starting pitchers were around 2 wins better last year.  I think this makes sense, because right now we have Suppan projected to be about 1 win better than last year, Gallardo essentially replaces Sheets, and we have Parra projected to be slightly better as well, while losing Sabathia’s 4.7 wins.  I don’t think any of these are ridiculous assumptions.  Now let’s take a look at what we might have with Looper.

SP1 Gallardo, 180 IP, 3.60 FIP | 3.80 WAR
SP2 Parra, 170 IP, 4.10 FIP | 2.50 WAR
SP3 Bush, 190 IP, 4.30 FIP | 2.30 WAR
SP4 Looper, 190 IP, 4.60 FIP | 1.65 WAR
SP5 Suppan, 170 IP, 5.05 FIP | 0.65 WAR
SP6 Capuano, 65 IP, 4.50 FIP | 0.65 WAR

CL Hoffman, 60 IP 3.90 FIP, 1.8 LI | 0.80 WAR
RP Villanueva, 80 IP 3.40 FIP, 1.3 LI | 1.45 WAR
RP McClung, 80 IP, 3.60 FIP, 1.1 LI | 1.00 WAR
RP Stetter, 50 IP, 3.50* FIP, 1.0 LI | 0.70 WAR
RP Swindle, 40 IP, 3.90* FIP 0.9 LI | 0.30 WAR
RP Julio, 50 IP, 4.30 FIP 0.7 LI | 0.10 WAR
RP Riske, 50 IP, 4.30 FIP 0.7 LI | 0.10 WAR
RP Others, ~40 IP, 4.45 FIP 0.6 LI | 0.00 WAR

TOTAL WAR: 11.55 SP, 4.45 RP, 16.00 TOTAL

Admittedly, what we’re looking at here is probably a best case scenario, in which none of our SPs misses significant time (although, still none of them reach 200 IP, which gives us a little room for error).  Still, the Looper signing has a chance to add 1.5 wins over what we currently have, which given our position as a potential playoff team, could be quite important.  Not only do Looper’s innings give us a boost, they allow us to move McClung to the bullpen and improve our depth there while retaining depth in the rotation. Looper’s 1.65 WAR puts him at worth somewhere around 6.5-7.5 million on a one-year deal, so it’s possible that we get a little bit of a bargain as well.  Overall, I like the move for the Brewers.

2 Responses to “Braden Looper By The Numbers”

  1. Jared Says:

    So, you’re saying this year’s pitching staff should be 2.7 wins better than last years in terms of WAR (16 vs. 13.3)?

    And I’m assuming the offense should also project to be better (same young starters a year older, worse bench, but better AAA guys to fill in if needed)?

    So, should we expect more than 90 wins?

    I’m kind of playing devil’s advocate here. I know that last year’s team was pretty lucky (winning a lot of one run games, avoiding serious injuries aside from Gallardo, etc.), but it seems like the Brewers should be pretty good again this year and that the “sky is falling” crowd should get a grip.

  2. Jack Says:

    We did outplay our WAR-based record slightly, as well as our pythagorean (pretty much the same amount) so I’d say anything in the 82-92 win range is possible, really.

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